Thursday, January 3, 2013

In Need of Clarity

For three weeks now, my 11yo has had some sort of respiratory ailment, accompanied by a little bit of upset stomach (which I personally attributed to the phlegm pooling in his stomach, but then again I am no doctor…and really don’t care to be; it takes a much stronger stomach for that than I know I have), low grade fever (which only happened 2-3 days and not sequential days either), runny nose (which has led to a dry and cracked nose due to the inordinate amount of nose blowing and wiping), stuffy head, headaches, and a horrible hacking smoker-like cough.

His brother has taken to telling him that he needs to “quit that smoking”; I MAY have contributed to that by saying it once or twice. Now I don’t need to say it at all.

None of these symptoms have occurred simultaneously and for a while we even had a reprieve, albeit a brief one, from the symptoms altogether.

At first, three weeks ago, I thought it was a cold. It had all those “cold characteristics”. After 2 weeks it seemed to go away, or at least be considerably improved. And then less than 2 days later, it returned with a vengeance. 

It’s possible that he simply caught another cold but being as how the rest of us haven’t shown symptoms of anything additional, I assumed otherwise.

Last night, as he lay on the sofa, alternately hacking away and blowing his nose, I decided he should probably go to the doctor. During the course of the evening, he used almost an entire box of Kleenex…and I’m not talking about a little travel-size box like the ones my grandparents used to always have in the back window of their car. Why did they keep it there, btw? No one could reach it unless someone was riding with them. And I know that it’s not just the two of them who did that…I have seen many a Senior Saint, recently, in fact, driving around with a travel size box of Kleenex in the back window of his or her sedan.

But I digress…

To make a long story short (ok, it is still me writing…so not “short” but “shorter”), I called the doctor first thing this morning; unfortunately, the earliest appointment they had was 4:15 today. At least it was today…it could have been worse and nothing available until tomorrow, at which point we would have headed to the not-always-competent-but-more-available Minute Clinic today.

I wasn’t thrilled with this option, but I knew he needed to be seen. After I took the appointment, the nurse offered to call me if they had a cancellation for an earlier appointment.

I agreed that would be great, but didn’t expect much; just to disprove me, apparently, within five minutes (yes, that’s no typo…FIVE minutes), they called me back to see if we could be there within 10 minutes. I jumped at it; I threw the PBA in the car and off we went.

Minimal wait time (thank you very much!), and the appointment was quick. We walked out of the office within 20 minutes, prescription for a z-pack in hand. I was so thankful that he knew how to swallow a pill…I didn’t want to have to deal with that potential trauma as well.

I do have a confession to make right here for all of you: I’m a bit of a fence-sitter when it comes to going to the doctor. And yet it’s almost always the right decision. I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but don’t want make my child suffer unnecessarily.  Sometimes it’s a difficult decision to make, especially because I know that the way I react will affect how my children view illness/injury and the like.

I am very much a “Suck it up, Buttercup” kind of mom when it comes to colds. Take some medicine and keep on moving.  I don’t get to slow down or stop and I don’t think they should either.

For the flu or something like that, I do have a little more patience. But I personally have to be S.I.C.K. in order to stop the treadmill of life.

As previously stated, I am not a nurse, nor do I pretend to be. My bedside manner leaves much to be desired. Mr. Always Random can attest to this.  If he has so much as a sniffle, I will put medicine out on the counter for him and that’s about all I’ll do.

However, that being said, very rarely do I leave a doctor’s appointment (for myself or the PBA) and think, “Well, that was a colossal waste of time!”

And this time was no exception, though even this morning (despite the rough evening my child had just had), I was waffling about calling the doctor; he seemed so much better and I hated to go if it was not needed.

But as you can see above, I did take him to the doctor, and though the doctor didn’t give an exact diagnosis, we did get a script which should knock out anything lurking in there, assuming it’s bacterial. If it’s viral, we’ll have to continue to ride it out. This should tell you something: I was happy to pay the $10 for a script which MAY clear it up.

I don't tell you this to disparage my child, but my 11yo sometimes complains about things repeatedly and it has a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” vibe to it; it’s not at all that he is intentionally trying to deceive or anything like that, but he tells me about every single ache or pain or sniffle, so much so that it sometimes makes it difficult for me to have a good gauge on his health. 

I should have learned my lesson last spring when I sent him to soccer practice with a broken toe. Sure there was crying when he stubbed his toe, but I gave him some ibuprofen and put a band-aid on the scraped-up toe and sent him off to practice, like any good mama would.

And even still today, I wasn’t entirely sure how terrible he felt until we were leaving the doctor’s office; it was then that he thanked me for taking him to the doctor.

Insert cringe here. Oops.

For the record, he also thanked me when I took him to be seen regarding for his broken toe...and I didn't wait 3 weeks on it; I only waited about 15 hours. The bruising and swelling were kind of a dead giveaway that something was going wrong, though; this respiratory thing has been slightly more nebulous. 

Clearly, I need clarity.

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