1. Never deny your motherly intuition regarding your child’s health.
If you don’t think the doctor was thorough, get another opinion, if you think they were blasé, tell them you aren’t messin’ around and they need to take you seriously. My daughter was acting up for a full month and I, being the supermom that I am, must have gone to the doctor 5 times. Each time it was “viral.” Just so you know [viral = who knows, cause I don’t, but hopefully it’ll pass] and is a supermom’s worst nightmare. She eventually landed herself with a 105 degree fever (41 C) while we were in the hospital 24 hours after I delivered baby number 2. She spent the next few days in the childrens ward’s on a drip and antibiotics to fight her infection.
2. Do not be a supermom at the doctor’s office. Playing dumb is safer.
If you are like me (and life will be easier for you if you aren’t) then you can name the time of day and outfit your child was wearing when they fell ill. You can say exactly what they’d eaten for the preceding 5 meals and how their bowel movements had morphed which is what had you worried in the first place. Armed with all this information and skin rash google search images etched into your brain you go to the doctors office. “What seems to be the issue?” is followed by a supermom’s 5 minute explanation – chronologically – of all the symptoms, oddities and conclusions you have come to in your amateur research.
The problem with this is that the doctor then does not feel the need to do their job and, even if they wanted to, you probably confused them with your over-information. Time and time again they look at me like they can’t believe a mom so overprotective and hovering like me exists (nor would I have believed so 14 months ago) and they say…”well, it looks viral, it’ll pass.” or “Well, looks like you’ve got it figured out. Give her tylenol [nurofen, panadol, paracetemol] and come back in a week or two if it hasn’t passed.”
In this fashion doctors have missed a nasty infection and a dairy allergy. Learn from my mistakes.
3. Try to have both parents present at the hospital as much as possible.
I had a 3 day old infant and we weren’t allowed in the children’s ward if there was anyone with a contagious infection around so I was only able to visit my daughter for an hour or two at the time sporadically. My husband had to be there when the invasive tests were done, when the needle was inserted into her hand and when the continual new rounds of doctors came around. He felt horrible seeing her cry so much and I felt horrible wondering if she thought I abandoned her. If you have multiple children, I recommend you send them to family and have both parents in the hospital with the child, even temporarily.
For the next month after that she was very tender and sensitive to my comings and goings. It was an infection easily treated by antibiotics and we got our baby back in good health very soon but it was difficult for us both.
PS – Click here to read other “What I Learned” posts