April 26, 2012

Parenting... Against Medical Advice

In our house, we're big into caution and doctor's orders. We vaccinate our kids against anything that could cause serious illness to them or other children, we wash our hands like it's going out of style, and we do our best to discourage incidents like the recent dirt-eating escapade. Before I was a parent, I wouldn't have dreamed of going against a doctor's orders or common sense because GOD FORBID that we eat the three-day old Cheerio that's been hiding in the kitchen corner. It's probably spontaneously grown SARS in the 72 hours it's spent getting intimate with my laminate flooring.

On that note, we sat down to dinner last night and had just begun to attempt an actual adult conversation above the screaming of a toddler who wanted berries instead of pesto when the unthinkable happened. Evelyn had begun her meal with the typical appetizer of Cheerios, followed by a baby food entree of broccoli/carrots/cauliflower and plain noodles when she suddenly sprouted a spot on her right cheek.

It looked exactly like a mosquito bite and even though I grew up in the backwoods of Minnesota where the mosquitoes were as big as birds which would occasionally eat you alive, I don't do bugs. Especially mosquitoes. So naturally, I was immediately on high-alert for anything buzzing around our heads at dinner.

Five minutes later, I looked at Evie's cheek once again and realized that what I thought was a mark from Attack of the Killer Bugs was something completely different. The mark had spread; her entire cheek was red, swollen, and full of hives. A quick overview of the situation brought about the obvious: she was having an allergic reaction, whether it was the cauliflower in her baby food (something she'd never had before) or just a fluke thing, but the answer was clear and the baby food was done.

We cleaned her up and laid her down in the living room to play while I spent the next forty minutes on the phone with two local nurse lines waiting to reach a live person so the mother in me could have the reassurance not to rush to the local Emergency Room. Once I finally spoke to a nurse, I was advised that any baby having a reaction should be seen at Urgent Care.

Forty minutes prior, we had stopped feeding her the suspect food. Her swelling was going down and not once did she have even the slightest indication of a serious reaction or any trouble breathing. I hemmed. I hawed. I talked to the hubs. I called in the expertise of our sweet elderly neighbor who spent thirty years working in a day care. I phoned my mother. And finally, I went with my gut instinct.

And we did not go to Urgent Care.

Knowing that I'm the kind of parent that obeys the orders of the medical community as though the fate of my very soul is in their hands, this was a huge departure for me. I love my kids more than life itself, but my spidey sense was tingling; by that time, we were an hour into the post-food episode and there was no longer any sign of a reaction from Evelyn. Her cheek was back to normal and she was acting like her perky little self. My gut said she would be fine and being that my gut had recently been filled with yummy pesto and was feeling generally reliable, I decided that my daughter would be fine to be supervised at home for awhile... just to be safe.

So while I'm not throwing Urgent Care caution to the wind completely (after all, we were just there a couple weeks ago for an ear infection and OH MY GOSH was that ever fun), we can chalk this one up as a lesson learned. Urgent Care and the nurse line have their place, but I know my baby better than anyone else and sometimes it's true... mom does know best.

P.S. I'm not a doctor and this post is not meant as medical advice. For more good times and reasons why I won't be getting sued for writing this, you can read my disclosure policy here.

7 comments:

  1. I agree completely. And sometimes those nurses have no idea what's going on. When I called about my newborn son's snoring (I had a WebMD scare), the nurse kept assuring me that babies breathe through their MOUTHS.
    I said, nicely, "I thought babies breathe out of their nose first—that's how they can breastfeed."

    She got super huffy and more-medical-than-thou and eventually we just agreed to disagree.

    There was another doctor, he-who-shall-not-be-named, who freaked me out saying my baby was 1) anemic and 2) that he was GOING TO GET CANCER AND NEVER BE ABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN unless I took him to a urologist. Excuse me, sir, but maybe you shouldn't give my son a physical in a freezing cold room. Shouldn't you know a thing or two about boy parts, given that you are, indeed, male?

    Moms know best. Doctors are book smart, but usually only in their area of expertise. I only trust open-minded doctors who actually raised their own children. Everybody else? I listen to what they have to say, and then I go with my gut (or with Dr. Sears).

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    1. I too feel much better about a doctor if they've had their own kids. Learning things out of a textbook is one thing but actually doing them on your own children is another!

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  2. Oh boy, I can relate to what happened there! With Sophia's peanut allergy, the reaction started out slow and mild, but got progressively worse. Because we didn't know it was peanut and they thought it was an antibiotic, Sophia was re-introduced to the allergen and the reaction was more severe. The third time, a complete accident, I probably should of taken her in, but I had given her Zyretec and by the time the nurse called back, she was running around the house. I was told that if the reaction went down quickly on its own that we didn't need to go in. Now however, the allergy is so bad that if she has peanuts, I believe her airway would close.

    Every once in a while, she does get a hive or two (she got one today at a friend's house) and I just monitor her.

    If you feel good about your decision, it was a good decision. :D

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  3. I would have done the same thing.

    With all of Liam's hospitalizations (cancer) we avoided going in any way we could. 3am cold baths anyone?

    Anyway just be caution that like the previous posts experience allergies usually begin mild with the reactions getting worse.

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  4. I would have done the same thing.

    With all of Liam's hospitalizations (cancer) we avoided going in any way we could. 3am cold baths anyone?

    Anyway just be caution that like the previous posts experience allergies usually begin mild with the reactions getting worse.

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    1. Thanks Dawn. Sorry to hear about Liam's hospital experiences- I would definitely be avoiding going in too! And we'll definitely use caution if we experience this again... but for now, we're avoiding cauliflower like the plague ;)

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