Monday, August 4, 2008

MommySense

I've been wanting to write about this for a while. It's a) a noteworthy episode in our family history and b) a life lesson for me and other parents.

Gabe had the totally sad experience of breaking his arm at his VERY FIRST gymnastics class. He came down off of the 3 ft bar, tried to catch himself, and snapped his elbow. It was horrible looking. He was up at Primary Children's Hospital (in Salt Lake City) in the ER and had pins put in his arm by Dr. H, one of the best Orthopedists there. Gabe was just barely 3 years old and seemed to recover just fine.

Gabe at 3, following his first broken arm and surgery


Fast forward 2 1/2 years. Gabe began to complain about a pain at his elbow. I am, to be honest, a very laid back parent, and figured it would just go away. I didn't pay much attention to the pain, during the first day or two. On the third day, because it was at the injury site, and seemed to be getting so much worse, we took him to my pediatrician, Dr. Feindt. She looked and decided that we should do some blood tests and x-rays, to make sure there were no infections or breaks. All the tests came back fine.

Gabe continued to be in a lot of pain, and so we took him to the emergency room. The doctor there, figuring it was a sprain, wrapped it and gave me a prescription for Codeine. He did better for a day, but within 24 hours, the codeine wasn't covering his pain.

At this point, I began praying that Heavenly Father would help me to know what was wrong. Specifically, I asked Him to help me feel peace if Gabe was just experiencing a sprain, but that He would help me know if it was a more serious problem.

We took him again to the emergency room, and this time, the doctor at PHMC seemed to figure out what the problem is. We were into our second week with this, Gabe was in increasingly more pain, and I was so so relieved that we might have a diagnosis. The ER doctor told me to go see Dr. H (the orthopedist who put the pins in 2 1/2 years ago) the next day.

We got a 9:00 a.m. appointment. Gabe was given Tylenol with Codeine at 5 a.m. and Advil at 8 a.m. We went into the doctor's office and I don't think I've EVER had such a horrible experience with a doctor in my life. He proceeded to tell me, that it was only a sprain, that Gabe was fine and he was sending him home. He then, seriously, yelled at Gabe and Jane because they were fighting. I tried to explain that Gabe's pain has been increasing exponentially for 8 days, and so I didn't think it could be a sprain and could we please order an MRI or a bone scan. He looked at Gabe, laughed and said, "You're telling me that he's in a lot of pain?!" HELLO! He was completely drugged up!!

He left the room, and this was where Heavenly Father answered my prayer. I began to feel panic rising inside me; I felt sick and began to cry and I KNEW that something was wrong and I needed to find someone to help Gabe. I called my pediatrician, on my cell phone, and talked to her assistant, bawling, saying something like: "They won't listen to me here, they are sending me home and there is something wrong with my son." My pediatrician called me back immediately and said, "Go over to Primary's right now, I'm ordering a bone scan and MRI for you immediately." I later heard from the nurse that the pediatrician said to her, "If Jessica Romney is crying, there is something wrong. She is one of the most laid-back parents I have."

(Gabe at 5, after being admitted to Primary Children's Hospital for I/V antibiotics and surgery)

We got the bone scan. Gabe had a bone infection, caused by bacteria on the pin that Dr. H had inserted. They admitted him immediately to the hospital and began I/V antibiotics. They scheduled him for surgery to scrape out the infection. The orthopedist--NOT DR. H--said he literally could push the bone away with his finger; it was that rotted. He was in the hospital for 4 days and sent home with a pic line and 6 weeks of I/V antibiotics, that I administered every 6 hours.



(Gabe with his pic line getting some award at school)

Dr. H wanted to send him home with a splint and have me come back in 10 DAYS! The infection would have been much worse by then.

No one could see the infection because the bone formed a mass over it, so the blood work was coming up negative. The Ped. Orthopedist who worked on Gabe said he had never seen an infection that stayed hidden for longer than 1 year; he was shocked that Gabe's had remained unseen for 2.5 years. X-rays were unable to see the mass, because it wasn't bone. The only way I knew that there was something worse than a sprain was because of the Spirit and my MommySense. I am forever grateful that I listened to both of those things.

I remember walking out of Dr. H's office, where he treated me with such disdain thinking: "I know you have years of training as an orthopedist, but I have years of training as this kid's mom. I know, AS WELL AS YOU DO, what I'm talking about, when I tell you there's something wrong with my kid."

I will never forget that lesson and I share it with you: Trust your gut, especially when it comes to your kids. I know Heavenly Father has blessed us with special insights into our children that only we can have.

I am grateful for that blessing of motherhood.

And I am grateful for an almost 8 year old boy with a completely fine arm, even though, while he's grounded, he's right now jumping on the trampoline yelling to his best friend, 2 backyards away: "Yeah, I can see the top of the bow and arrow, can you hold it up higher??"

46 comments:

Stacy said...

What a good reminder for all of us mommies...especially me, the most non-confrontational, do-whatever-anyone-tells-me-to-do-so-as-not-to-make-waves kind of person out there. We DO know our children best...and we DO have the Spirit to guide us. Thank goodness for that. (I never knew Gabe's "arm thing" was so serious...I'm very sorry.)

Pa Pa Jim said...

You're a good mother Jessica. We had that same spiritual feeling when Jenna was sick. She needed life saving surgery. Don't let those Dr.s push you around.

Mahina said...

there's lots to be said about mommysense! thanks for the reminder!

i cannot believe that dr. h! he had to have known he was in trouble and that is why he was sending you away so abruptly! i can't believe he yelled at your kids! such bad manners!

glad everything turned out all right!

Laurie said...

I'm so glad I had a pediatrician that referred me to a pediatric ophthalmologist when I asked about Gabe's slightly cloudy cornea (Dan couldn't even see it). I really wanted to hear it was normal, but mommy sense kept getting in the way. Saved his sight.

And I HATE jerk doctors and nurses. I've gotten a bit pushy on some things through all the surgeries. And I like to think it helps every once in a while to remind them that my son's mommy is a lawyer.

Lauren in GA said...

Thank you so much for posting this. You are so right...MommySense is not to be pushed aside. I can relate to what Stacy said, and I shouldn't be afraid to let a doctor know that I KNOW my children. Thank you for being such a great example of listening to the Spirit.

I think your pediatrician gave you a great compliment...because you are laid back he knew you were serious when the time came. He knew it wasn't a "crying wolf" situation.

wenderful said...

Thanks for that inspiring story. It is SO important to be an advocate for your children. That's our job because nobody else has that Mommysense to do it.
If I had not listened to the Spirit and my Mommysense, I would not have my two youngest boys who had both stopped moving in utero and who were born in the nick of time.
And way to go praying for something specific. So important.

kiley said...

Thank you Jessica! This is totally something I needed to hear right now!

gab said...

I loved this. I have had similar (though not as dramatic) experiences with doctors...which makes it scary to trust the medical profession sometimes. Thank goodness for some spiritual "secret weapons", huh?

Lauren in GA said...

I don't like all of my comment. I think that mothers rarely, "cry wolf" I just think the doctor gave you a great compliment.

Okay, now I am going to fret about my comment...

rubberbandgrl said...

You have me in tears. Thank you for sharing this.
I'm glad Gabe is OK too.

Kristin said...

There is nothing as powerful as a mommy sense. Glas to hear it all worked out.

Christie said...

That is amazing. I can't stand arrogant doctors like that who won't listen to your instincts as a mom. I'm so glad you found somebody to listen and caught it in enough time. That is scary!

Brooke said...

Thanks for sharing that lesson, I need to trust my instincts more. Hopefully I'll remember this next time i feel the need to waver.

Erika said...

I hope you did the Christian thing and went back to yell at that dr. seriously. You're such a good mom. Come to Calgary.

shauna said...

Powerful story Jessica, thanks for sharing it. You are such a good mother. Did Dr. H ever apologize to you? ...I feel like writing him, he deserves a little chastisement of his own- the nerve.

Pineapple Princess said...

It is hard to stand up to someone you feel should know everything.

Thank goodness for Mommysense and the spirit. I am so glad you did this post.

Annemarie said...

Way to go on trusting your instinct! That is such a great reminder to not second guess when it comes to our gut & our sweet kids. I'm so glad everything worked out. You are such a good mom!

Jessica said...

I never spoke to Dr. H again. The Ped Orthopedist who did the surgery told us that they had made Dr. H aware of the situation. One of the nurses tried to explain his behavior by saying that he was used to "Humpty Dumpty" cases (people who needed to get put back together) and so he maybe he didn't take Gabe's situation very seriously.

Whatever.

Goldie said...

Thanks for the story, good reminder, you are a totally awesome mom! Avaa also broke her arm on her first and last gymnastics class, luckily she had no complications.
BTW...You guys should come to Utah to visit.

Ilene said...

Very wise words. As a mom, we definitely receive inspiration for our children despite what others say.

Jackson had a cyst on his thyroid and it appeared like a adam's apple on his throat. Dan wanted to ignore it but I took him into urgent care and Jackson was scheduled for surgery within two weeks.

RBS said...

I very much appreciated that story. You are extraordinary.
Roxanne

Erin said...

AMEN!!!!!

We had a terrible, terrible, terrible life-threatening experience in the recovery room after Milo's big surgery last year. Awful. Long story but it all boils down to the same point you've made: trust your mommysense and the promptings that push you to speak up. After that experience I have never doubted myself again. Ever.

G and G Nut said...

"Trust your gut" is such a significant part of parenting. Here it involved Gabe's health and wellbeing, but it will extend into the friends they bring home, the things they ask to go do, the things they tell you when they really aren't telling you (if you catch my drift). My biggest lesson as a mom was that the worst choices I made with my kids was when I forgot that my gut knew best. Way to go, Jessica!
xoxo

G and G Nut said...

I did catch the grammar error in the last comment after I pushed publish!

Untypically Jia said...

Jessica I have no idea how you dealt with that because I nearly had a panic attack just reading what you went through.

Good for you for standing your ground! It shocks me that doctors are so easy to toss aside a parents gut instinct sometimes.

Melinda said...

Yeah for mommy sense! Boo to mean doctors!

kthom said...

Crazy to read your blog as I'm a mother of a 4 year old whose elbow was broken on the trampoline 3 weeks ago. I'm still a fan of trampolines, just not with big uncles jumping small children too high. Surgery,pins, the whole deal. As I sat all nervous and sweaty filling out paperwork and holding my son whose wailing in pain, the receptionist at the ER said, "I would just try popping it back in if I were you!" Really lady...just pop it back in...ya think?! I knew it was worse than a popping session would do. Fast forward to yesterday where the cast came off and the pins came out. Not the most pleasant thing to watch but it looks like all is healing how it should. I never have heard of such a thing. Did he all of a sudden start complaining of pain where the pins were? Yikes! My little guy has been a champ through this whole elbow saga. Should I be concerned that said child is next door going down a water slide with gimpy arm held high?

Hollyween said...

The horror. I'm so glad he's okay. Check out my latest post. I so wish I would have listened to the tiny whisperings of the spirit that told me I should hurry and load my kids in the car and do my errands. Then the incident that happened two seconds after that tiny thought came in my mind wouldn't have happened.

Audry said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Mommy always knows best.

Anisa said...

I feel the same way a lot of the time. Sometimes doctors just don't know what mommies know.

Brigitta said...

Looking at Gabe's face when he was 3yrs old lying in the hospital bed made me want to cry. Thanks for sharing the story and reminding us to use the spirit and our mommysense.

The Hansen Clan said...

What a great post and wonderful reminder that we do have extra help as Moms and to remember that, not question it, and stick to our guns so to speak to get our kids properly taken care of. We also refer to "Madar" (mom radar) at our house... thank goodness we have the Spirit and mommysense/madar or our kids would be in trouble.

What a scary experience, it looks like Gabe was such a trooper through the whole thing - I'd like to smack Dr. H upside the head :)

calibosmom said...

WOW! THanks for sharing your story! I realize there are a lot of overprotective paranoid parents out there but when we know, we know and doctors should listen. Good job for going with your gut and listening to the Spirit! I hope the Ortho heard about what happened and learned a valuable lesson!

Denae (aka D-dawg) said...

Awesome post Jessica. Only about 3 years ago did I start trusting myself more than the DR. and thank heavens I did- our medical care is much better now. This is a great lesson to learn- especially for young moms just starting out.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

what a trooper, both you and your son :)

Meg said...

Thanks for sharing that! It means a LOT!!!

crystal said...

What a great reminder for me! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. If you were here in person, I'd hug you. I needed this tonight.

And perfectly ended, too. Kids--sheesh.

Tammy said...

So glad he is ok! very scary!

Carie said...

Great post.

brooke romney said...

Jessica, I love that story. I'm glad you kept on with your gut to figure out what was wrong, and I'm glad he is okay.

Rochelleht said...

So awesome!!! I have had a few experiences like that, myself, with little Ethan. Thanks for your awesome story. That really is such a good lesson to learn and remember. You constantly inspire me with your amazing motherhood.

Abbie said...

Amen. Love this story. I was so worried I wouldn't have the MommySense or that I wouldn't know what to do with my kids in scary situations. Turns out Heavenly Father DID send that gift to me. Thank Heavens!

Heidi Ashworth said...

So, too many comments to read them all and make sure that I am not a repeat (heaven forbid I should be boring) but it simply amazes, AMAZES me how often doctors treat mothers like dumb bimbos. Are all the other moms who come into the doctor's office stupid? Is that why I am treated as if I am stupid? A worry-wort? A psycho case? Even doctors I have worked with for years who should really know better have put me through a battle of wills with regards to something that I knew my child needed. I hear the same thing over and over again from other doctors. My advice? Doctors are not God. Even if they think they are. (and they do)

Meghann said...

I had no idea you went through so much of the same ordeal, that I went through with Owen.

Aren't pick lines the biggest pain in the world?!?

Gabe is the sweetest boy in the world.

Rachel said...

Way to go. Listening to both the Spirit and our "mommy instincts" is so so important. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.
...and I'm glad your boy is all better!!

Kristy said...

Thanks for posting this. We should always trust that gut/instinctive feeling. I'm glad you did not listen to that jerk of a doctor, although I think you should send him a letter or something re-counting the visit & his lack of professionalism & concern.