Monday, March 16, 2009

A few key questions for your doctor...

If you have a sick child who needs to see a new doctor for the first time, there are a few questions you might want to ask before making your appointment. Or if you are in the ER, make sure they can handle a child and know what do to with a little person.

This seems obvious but I am guilty of assuming that a Dr is a Dr is a Dr. If a Dr works at a clinic, I just assume they are a family practice clinic and that they can deal with any age of patient that walks in. That's how almost every doctor I've ever had has been. General family practice that can do it all.

This is not true.

Last weekend, my daughter was out of town while we were whooping it up for St. Patrick's Day here in the city. When she got to Grandma's house, we realized she had a fever and needed to see a Doctor in a different town, on a Saturday. My mom recommended a clinic she knows of that was open --thereby avoiding the expense of the local ER. I called ahead to make sure they knew she was coming, that she was with her grandparents, that I'd be available via phone for any questions, and that I authorized her grandparents to treat her as needed. Here I thought I was being the good, thorough mom. Boy did I think wrong.

What I should have asked was:
Do you have a pediatrician on staff who is available to see her?
Do you treat kids her age?
Is there another clinic that is better suited to see her?

And I should have caught the red flags when I was on the phone with the Dr. and when my mother-in-law was describing their visit on Sunday. When I mentioned that Ada was on Albuterol in the past for Bronchiolitis she said "What?" and I repeated, "Bronchiolitis" assuming my cell phone connection was bad and she just didn't hear me. Turns out, I don't think she knows what that is and it is one of the most common things kids get when they are little. During the visit, they didn't have an infant/toddler scale so they asked my father-in-law to step on the scale, then get on with her and figure out the difference. 28 lbs. She's just shy of that but it's pretty accurate so I didn't think much of it. Any Dr's office that can handle kids, should have a kid's scale.

Then, I took her in to our Doctoress for a checkup today since we scheduled it Saturday before we knew she had a fever. Thank goodness we did. What the clinic Dr diagnosed Ada with was an ear infection. She gave her 3.5 ml of amoxicillan 3 times a day. When I told that to my Doctoress today, she immediately checked Ada's ear. No infection. None what-so-ever. She asked if Ada had a fever when she went to the clinic. Yes. It was about 102. Ah ha! When a baby has a fever, it can make their ears red and therefore make it appear that she has an ear infection. Part one of the mystery solved.

When I heard the original diagnosis an hour after Ada was at the clinic, I looked at my husband like the Dr was crazy. It didn't make any sense to me that she would have an ear infection but Ada was on antibiotics so either way, I figured she was getting something to fight the infection and she was improving so that was good. Another red flag was that my gut told me things didn't add up. How does the ear infection deal with the coughing and throwing up? Rick's justifying it by saying that Ada was pulling on her ears a lot lately and I debunked that by saying that studies have recently shown that is just baloney and it doesn't correlate. Kids play with their ears either way. (Which my Doctoress confirmed again today.)

When Ada got home on Sunday, she was a mess. Tylenol and Motrin alternating for the pain. Ear drops to numb her ear. And when I went to give her the last dose of Amoxicillian of the day another red flag went up. This dose was way less than she's ever had before and she's been on Amoxicillian 5 times since she was born so I should know the dosing. Again, I convinced myself that maybe this was a more concentrated mixture since it was from a different pharmacy or maybe ear infections take a smaller dose.

HELLO! I read Blink. I know I'm supposed to listen to my gut. What the hell happened here?

As it turns out, I should have taken more responsibility in the first place. I woke up telling Rick I wanted to take Ada in and he said he didn't think she needed to see the Doctor. ALWAYS LISTEN TO A MOTHER'S INTUITION. Secondly, I wasn't going to take her in today but I ended up needing to see the Dr anyway so we got a two-for-one special. Luckily, the Doctoress instisted on checking Ada over and asked the right questions to get to the bottom of it all and now it makes sense. It's a good idea to get her in to see the regular Doctor just in case. Thirdly, I should have been the go-to person the whole time instead of having Rick talk to this Doctoress, me talk to the other, in-laws talk to the nurse and Dr at the clinic, without anyone really knowing the whole picture but me. My bad.

On top of all this, when Ada went to Sycamore, she had heat rash. When she went in today, it had turned into eczema -- we had to get a new prescription for that. Now she is on Amoxicillian for her brochiolitis, a cream for her eczema, an inhaler to open up her lungs and help her breath, and Motrin for the pain since she is teething during all of this too. If that's not enough, I don't know what is but I could sure use some more sleep. :)

Moral of the story: Listen to your inner thoughts. If something doesn't seem right, speak up. Question it. Get another opinion. Check into it more. And go with your gut. This is your kid we're talking about.

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