Monday, June 28, 2010

The Pediatrician

Eden had a sore throat last week, which meant we were up all night for a couple of nights, until -- alleluia -- I remembered benadryl existed. As I left the pediatrician's with a diagnosis of "a non-contagious virus that needs to run its course," I was struck by how quickly I want to fix sick.

It used to be that if a child was sick, she was sick. She stayed in bed. Soup arrived on a tray. She took lukewarm baths and held cool wash clothes on her forehead. She felt sick. Generally, when my kids are sick, I give them tylenol and usher them out the door. Or schlep them to the pediatrician for antibiotics. I like to say I use antibiotics sparingly, but in truth, we more often than not end up with them, and they always seem to work...

Today, Silas is complaining of a sore throat. (the non-contagious sore throat??? that we just invited friends over to play with???) My impulse, immediately, is to take him to the doctor. In fact I already called and scheduled an appointment. Watching myself, I am amazed by how hesitant I am to sit with the sick, even a viral sore throat that I *know* will run its course because Eden's just did. But the questions: what if it was strep? What if Eden's sore throat disappeared only to lodge in her ear as an underground infection? What if --

I think as well as not wanting a sleepless, whiny, sad sick child (and tired parent), I may also have an addiction to the pediatrician, which, after thinking about it, is rooted in answers. In parenting, I constantly swim through uncertainty -- have I damaged him forever because ___? Was ____the right way to respond to tantrum #6 of the morning? Should I let her decide ____? How can I be more patient??? So settling in next to a pediatrician who can peek into the depths, even the physical ones, of my children and give me a definitive answer feels like a gift. And a relief. A quick bright flash in the dark as I feel my way along.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds entirely logical to me, Bronwen! Especially in this day and age when we can so easily search the internet and call someone up to ask questions, it's hard to live WITHOUT getting answers quickly!

I hope the lil' ones are well and that you're able to get your sleep - because the only thing worse than worrying is to be worrying on little sleep ;)