Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Doctor Mom

I enjoyed working as a doctor.  And I think I was pretty good – at least a lot of people said they missed me when I was gone.  When I was working, I tried very hard not to diagnose and treat my own kids.  This actually wasn’t too hard when they were little because they were hardly ever sick. 

But, there was the time that Rosie Girl had Salmonella that didn’t get diagnosed until it had been going on for 5 days and I took her to the ER on a Sunday night because she was dehydrated!  Wild Man, being so wild, had the bottom of his chin glued together once by the ER doctor and once by me (on a Friday afternoon).  He has been less sick, but more injury prone.  When he broke his collarbone, I had him see the Nurse-Practitioner with whom I shared an office and hallway (while I tried to finish seeing my last few patients and not hyperventilate!).

Things are more complicated now that I’m not part of a medical practice and have let my licensure lapse.  My biggest frustration is trying to sort out when to take them in to the clinic and when to just treat at home.  About 2 years ago, Rosie Girl had a sore throat that ended up becoming severe exudative tonsillitis by the time I finally took her to the clinic.  I’m so sure that most things are caused by viruses and so determined not to contribute to antibiotic resistance that I treat them at home as much as possible.  But, I’m still paying for that bit of “maternal malpractice” in not-so-funny jokes and remarks from Rosie Girl!

And we had to deal with the same issue again this week.  Wild Man has been sick until Tuesday.  It looked like just a virus until yesterday (Thanksgiving!) when it was clear he had tonsillitis and bacterial conjunctivitis.  Ugh!  Well, it was easy enough to diagnose without any special equipment and we had some leftover antibiotics (yeah, I know, you should throw away unused antibiotics) so I started him on Zithromax.  Wild Man is improved today, but still thinks I should have taken him to the doctor today and that I’m once again guilty of maternal malpractice!

What’s the lesson here?  I have no idea.  There is a balance between running to clinic for every sniffle (I’ve seen these families) and not taking them to see the doctor until they are very ill (and I’ve seen these families, too).  And I think we all end up on both sides of the line at various times.  I guess I’ll use the information and skills I have (which are more than moms who aren’t doctors) and take them to the clinic when they need something I don’t have (otoscope, XRay machine, prescribing ability!).

Nonetheless, we had a lovely Thanksgiving day – more about that later!  So, how do you handle sick kids?  Is one parent or the other “responsible” for dealing with the illness?  Are you able to call your doctor’s office for advice?


1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I think you're a wonderful mother and doctor! :) You care for your kids like no other and have their best health at heart. So, you hold off sometimes b/c you don't want to run them to the doc for everything. I'm the same way. Why do you think you get so many phone calls from us? LOL We are able to call a nurse line 24 hours a day to determine if our child needs to be seen immediately or if it can wait until the office opens. We've used that a handful of times (i.e. when we can't get a hold of you).