Tuesday, 7 July 2015

When to go to the Doctor: A Mother's Guide

My husband's mother had a reputation of NOT taking her boys to the doctor for broken bones exactly 100% of the times they broke bones.  At least not at first.  Eventually yes, but she required convincing.  Inevitably they were given a hot bath and put to bed and told they'd be fine.

I've tried very hard not to follow in those particular footsteps.

There have been doctors who have doubted my mother's intuition, over the years.  For instance, Mr Busy's chest infections.  As a small babe his cold would turn from snotty to infection in mere hours, and I could tell the difference.  It happens with loads of experience, and he spent his first five winters going from one chest infection to the next.  I remember taking him to the doctor one day, the conversation going something like this:
Dr:  Why didn't you bring him in before now.  He's very sick.
Me:  Because yesterday it was just a cold, it changed overnight.  And now here I am.  Yesterday you would have sent me away and said he'll be fine.

Eventually this Dr trusted my instincts so well she was happy to give me prescriptions for antibiotics before we needed them.  If we were going away and he was on the cusp of another infection she would hand over the script and say "I know you'll know when to use it".

On the flip side I have taken Miss Mischief to the doctor because she stopped eating.  Actually I've done that with all of our kids, because these kids are Eaters.  It's genetic.  The whole of Dh's family are Eaters.  I know they're sick when they stop Eating.  And on this day Miss Mischief had no other symptoms except that she'd stopped eating.  The doctor (different to the one above) looked at me like I was neurotic.  I know he wanted to say "Lady, babies stop eating all the time for unexplained reasons".  But he checked her out and lo and behold she had an ear infection.
Dr:  Are you sure she has no other symptoms?  Pain?  Fever?
Me:  Nope.  She just stopped eating.  That's it.  My kids are very sick when they don't eat.

He was dumbfounded, because she should have had pain AND fever, and been very miserable.  And who ever heard of taking their kids to a doctor "because they stopped eating"?

Unlike my MIL I did manage to take Miss Sunshine to the doctor when she broke a toe.  I knew buddy-strapping was the only treatment, but I wasn't going to be reputed with the family "our mother's don't take us to the doctor for broken bones" line.  Yessireee, I put a stop to that one!

Which brings me to our most recent medical event.  This past week Miss Mischief (actually, last Monday) got herself into a spot of bother, due to walking on our gravel driveway, barefooted.  We won't go into the gravel driveway issues and the rubble that spreads everywhere....  She got a stone in her foot and had to dig a little to get it out.  Somehow she was adamant, after a great deal of digging about, that there was still something in there and I was less convinced.  She'd dug pretty deep and nothing could be felt.  I told her our bodies are designed to push foreign objects to the surface and we'd just see what happened.  On Wednesday, after having my mother (who is far more persistent with these things, and who has a magnifying glass lamp thing) dig about they got a bit more out.  While Mum and Miss Mischief were digging about I told her I would take her to a doctor when we got home, if it wasn't out by Sunday.  You know, give the thing a good week to come out on its own, and all that crunchy-mum kinda stuff.  And then on Saturday morning I got a text with the image above.  "In case you're wondering what it is..that's what came out of my foot..." she said.

Maybe I should have taken her before?

But at least it wasn't a broken bone.  And I was right...our bodies push foreign objects out.


Renee Wilson said...

This is something I struggle with too - when to take the kids to the doctor. Sometimes they can be so borderline and they can change within hours. Broken bones are definitely are a no brainer though :) #teamIBOT

EssentiallyJess said...

I used to struggle with knowing when to take them, but now I tend to not stress too much about it. Like you, I can usually gauge when something actually needs doctor's attention.
I'm glad you managed to avoid the visit in the end :)

Jayne M said...

It is tricky - there is a fine line between waiting too long or being known as the paranoid mum at the local hospital. I must admit I tend to not go.