Published Friday, September 21, 2012
A friend of mine said she took her young daughter to the doctor because she was concerned about her cough. Turns out it was just a cold. She was relieved, of course, but there was a hint of frustration in her voice.
“It’s so hard to know when to bring them in,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” I said, ever the helpful friend. “After spending three hours in the doctor’s office, she’s sure to have caught something more serious.”
(Just teasing – sort of.)
I understood where she was coming from. It’s a fine line between being an overprotective, hypochondriac mom who rushes one’s child to the doctor for a nosebleed or a handful of splinters to the mom who brings her kid in for his well visit only to discover that he has dual ear infections and a bad case of bronchitis.
I have been (and done) both.
When my first child was born, pre-Internet, I used my well-worn copy of “Your Child’s Health” to attempt to diagnose what was going on with her. The online photos may gross me out now, but I can tell you rashes were particularly difficult to interpret based on descriptions alone back then.
My older daughter was somewhere between the age of 4 and 6 when I took her to see longtime Newnan pediatrician Dr. Boyce Thomas.
“I keep calling her name and telling her to do things, but she doesn’t acknowledge me,” I said. “I think there is something wrong with her ears!”
A sly grin crossed Dr. Thomas’ face, but he went ahead and performed a hearing test. To my surprise, it was perfectly normal.
That’s when it dawned on me -- something the doctor had already determined but was respectful enough not to dismiss. She wasn’t hard of hearing. She was just ignoring me.
Dr. Thomas had been there earlier when I brought my daughter in for the first time at the age of 15 months. She had what I thought was a tear duct infection since she was 3 months old. I went to various doctors and tried all types of prescription drops and answered endless questions from strangers such as “Why are her eyes watering? Has she been crying?”
It turns out her tear ducts were clogged, and she, my baby, my first baby, needed surgery. Who knew? Thankfully, Dr. Thomas did.
I’d like to think now that I’m on my third child, I have a better idea of what requires a doctor’s visit, and maybe I do.
I once brought my son in and told the nurse, “He doesn’t have a fever. He’s not complaining, but every once in a while, he coughs.”
And sure enough, sinus infection.
Of course, I also remember asking the doctor when my son was just 3 months old, “What are those white things on his gums? I’m concerned about those.”
“Those are his teeth.”
(Wishing you and your family the best of health during this upcoming flu season and beyond.)