Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Mom Who Cried Wolf

Here's your scenario:

You're 40 minutes from Co-op Preschool starting AT YOUR HOUSE. You are all ready, except the house needs to be cleaned. Big kids are off to school and little kids are dressed.



Oh wait, big kids aren't off to school. Gabe has just shown up at your door, bawling, with two stranger-moms, who found him after his big bike accident. (Apparently, it's not a good idea to have your lunch bag swinging from your front handle bars, as it can get wedged between the tire and the bike and cause your tire to completely stop and throw you over the front of the bike). He is bleeding from a big scrape on his chin and seems to be in a lot of pain. You thank the nice moms who walked him home and carried his bike and you bring him inside.



You give him Tylenol and clean the cut and hug him and then you tell him to lay down and try and relax. But he keeps crying. Well, yelling, actually. Gabe howls really annoyingly loud when he's in pain. You, frankly, get kind of annoyed (it's just a chin scrape after all) and tell him to settle down. Besides you have preschool and you'll just see how he feels in 2 hours when it's done.

When you head back upstairs, to your room to do your hair, you watch him (on your bed) continue, 30 minutes after the accident, writhe in pain, holding his jaw and saying he can't open his mouth. It kind of makes you start to cry.

But you pride yourself on not overreacting to illness or accidents--your kids are tough and, after all, you know when they're really in need of medical help. You don't want to be the kind of mom who Cancels Preschool For No Reason And Makes The Doctor Get An X-Ray When There's Nothing Wrong! Right?

So what do you do? Seriously. What would you do?



This is what I did:

I called a Preschool Mom, told her we'd reschedule for Friday morning and asked her, through tears, to call the other moms.

I then called the doctor and they had me come in.



When I get there, the doctor doesn't seem to think anything's wrong (and I start to feel annoyed/stupid that I brought him in when, logically, there couldn't be anything REALLY wrong from a chin scrape), but then she felt something at the point of pain and decides to send him to X-ray.

We went and got the X-ray. Gabe is, of course, at this point, not crying at all but still can't open his mouth. (He swears he's lost a tooth, but when asked to count with his tongue the teeth on the opposing side, he realizes there are the same number of teeth on BOTH sides. Phew.)

We got home and he asks if he can go to school. I say "Um, no, we should wait and find out if your jaw is broken"--which OF COURSE I don't really want, except the little part of me that wants this to be a big medical deal, so I don't feel dumb for the uproar I caused all morning.

They call. The jaw is fine.

Fine. Totally fine.

Now I'm officially Mom Who Cancels Preschool For No Reason And Makes The Doctor Get An X-Ray When There's Nothing Wrong!

Here's Gabe and Chin-in-Question, who really was/is in a lot of pain and can only eat yogurt and soup for dinner, because he really can't open his mouth.

Seriously, I hate this dilemma. How much of a "deal" do you make of injuries, illnesses, owies, complaints? When are you overreacting? When are you neglectful? Ryan's always telling me to take them in, or call someone, when I think they're fine. Which then makes me feel neglectful and selfish, but really I just think I have a lot of experience with doctors, what they can and can't do to help and with my kids and how each one reacts to pain, etc.




So anyway, today I really hurt my reputation as Mom Who Only Reacts To True Medical Emergencies. I'll have to ignore a few ear infections and stitch-needing cuts to bring my average back up.

30 comments:

AnnEE said...

If it continues to really hurt him, you should take him to a chiropractor or something- because he could have knocked something out of alignment, and that hurts!!

andrea said...

i am laughing so hard at you getting annoyed over his howling. i can totally relate to that. my sympathy will rage strong until your crying starts to become overly dramatic and irritating. then... here's the bandaid kid. take care of it.

this post was great.

kthom said...

A few months ago I was asked to teach a cooking class for our RS ladies. The build up was big for weeks. It was even deemed the "Gourmet Corner"-yea, no need for that and no pressure. Wouldn't ya know that my Cole was sick the entire week prior. Debateable dr. visit sick. The whining and moaning continued for days. On the eve of the much anticipated cooking class, I sat with a moaning boy who "didn't know exactly why he was crying" and rocked him. What to do?? I felt like the biggest schmo but decided to call and cancel or shall I say "re-schedule" the class. I left a sticky pad note on the door apologizing and took him into the dr. the next day. All be darn, he was fit as a fiddle. It happens, you reschedule, and all is right with the world. I would have done the same thing!

kthom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

I think did the best thing. You followed your mommy gut feeling. And, so maybe his chin is fine but don't you feel better knowing? A child writhing in pain and not opening his mouth would worry me too and I would have done the exact same thing.

When Parker fell of the trampoline there was no bump, he cried and got sleepy. Then he threw up and became partially unresponsive. That's when we knew something was up. When we took him to ER, I thought they'd say he had a concussion and wake him up and send us on our way. I was shocked to find out it was more serious. It ended up being a subdural hematoma and needed an emergency craniotomy. He is fine now but whenever my kids get really bumped up I check them over really well and sometimes I cry wolf. But that's ok.

Mahina said...

oh, that is such a hard one! i never want to over-react, but at the same time i would feel worse if i didn't get something checked out and it really was bad!! how does a mother ever know!!

Sally said...

Better safe than sorry. Right? I mean, imagine the guilt if he had a broken jaw and you made him wait for preschool. Baaaaaad guilt.

Besides, I am sure you hang with the moms who can handle a last-minute switcharoo.

Nancy said...

I figure the over-reacting is understandable sometimes. My mom never thought I was telling the truth. I hurt my knee hiking when I was 15... after lots of doctor visits and therapy, and suggestions to have it scoped by my doctor, mom said it was nothing and we went about our merry business. That is to say, my knee hurt for the next 6 years until she realized something might actually be wrong. They finally scoped it and found a bunch of debris in my knee, and the kneecap wasn't sitting right. Mom felt really bad for a long time. I don't hold it against her though. I got my bad knees from her. Sorry about the uber-long comment! :)

Liz said...

I am a frequent lurker (can't remember if I've commented before.) I once ignored my (then) 10 year old boy crying/complaining about a stomach ache. (I thought he just didn't want to do his homeschool work) When the whining/crying became too much to ignore I relented and took him to the doc. He had his appendix removed the next day. I'm still cynical about some of my kids complaints, but I listen to my 'mom sense' and it usually pays off. You did good. You're a great mom, and I love lurking here! Hope you don't mind!

Annie said...

I know exactly what you mean. I pride myself with having the reputation at the doctor's that if I think something's wrong, it must be. It takes a long time to build that rep!

Having said that, you did exactly right in following your intuition. And it got you out of hosting preschool---> silver lining!

Kenny and Linsey said...

You always have to go with your gut. I've got some fairly heinous scars all the way up my leg because my parents deemed stitches were an overreaction. They have been apologizing for 2 decades for being the parents that prided themselves on unnecessary doctor's visits.

Anisa said...

It always makes my kids feel better (emotionally) when I take them to the doctor, so I usually do. However, when my Brenner broke his arm, my husband didn't want to take him in... I did... I won. He did have a broken arm and the prescription for tylenol with codein made us all have a very nice night's sleep. I say you did the right thing.

Last year on my first day of preschool coop, Joren fell and split his head open and had to get stitches. I think we're cursed.

wenderful said...

You did the right thing. I've been on both side. I err on the side of caution. Sometimes it's nothing and sometimes it's been a broken bone. The doctors always like to see you. That's how they make their big bucks.

Hollyween said...

Here's the thing:
At least you're not still wondering whether or not his jaw is broken or if there's some problem that you overlooked. Every time Levi gets a an hour long headache from Hell, I tell myself that we had an MRI and there's no brain tumor. It really helps me feel better even though I don't know what the heck is causing them.

My mom once refused to take me to the doctor when I broke my finger. I still had my CTR ring on said finger. The rest of my finger swelled around the CTR ring. And turned purple. And it still took her two days to bring me in.

AZ Karen said...

We all do the debating...

A few years ago,my daughter broke her arm at school...it wasn't a super obvious break and she was the 3rd kid in the neighborhood to break her arm in a month, so I thought she just wanted all the attention the other 2 kids had gotten. She didn't stop crying, either, and as it turns out, taking her in was the right thing to do. You just never know.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Feel better Gabe

Lauren in GA said...

You did the right thing. I don't think you have tarnished your reputation in any way. I have heard that mouth injuries are really painful...the way he vaulted over his handlebars, I wouldn't be surprised if it hurts for quite a while. If nothing else, Gabe will appreciate that you took the time to take him in and make sure everything was okay.

I do know what you mean though. When my kids are sick I hesitate to take them in for fear that I will be told AGAIN that it is a virus and it has to run its course.

Bekah said...

Poor Gabe! He still is so cute even with a nasty scrape on his chin.

And I love how Jane is in the background eating her dinner with her fingers. So silly, so Jane!

AMY said...

Your kids are tough! Way to go!

I also pride myself in not overreacting, with a little education on the matter - I SHOULD KNOW. But, sometimes crying wolf just can't be helped. We have to base our decisions on how a CHILD is acting/telling us how it feels.

jessica said...

You follow your mom instincts. That's all you can do. I would've done the same thing. I HATE paying a 30 dollar co-pay just for the doctor to tell me it's a cold....

Poor Gabe. I hope he can open his mouth soon.

Laurie said...

Could he open his mouth if you offered cookies?

I think you made the right call taking him in, just to make sure it wasn't broken. Bike accidents can be rough.

Bridget said...

Don't feel bad. I am a nurse and I STILL have a hard time sometimes telling whether something is truly bad enough to call he doctor about. To ilustrate, let me share with you a truly embarrassing story. When Maren was a toddler she pulled some what I thought was hot soup off of the table all over herself. So what do I do? I call 911. Surely she is going to have 3rd degree burns. Do I bother to check the temperature of the soup first to see if it really is THAT hot? No. My baby is screaming and I don't think about that. Yeah, try having a fire truck and police car show up at your house for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Now that is how to feel like an idiot. You're welcome for making you feel better about yourself.

Kara Jayne said...

I'm just like you. "your fine...you'll be okay...lay down and rest." I avoid going to the Dr. at all costs!!

I'm so glad he doesn't have a broken jaw. My hubby deals with that all the time. It could have given his TMJ a good jolt though. He'll be fine. (see)

Rachel said...

I cannot even tell you how much I relate to these feelings. Great post topic.

Several times in my years of Mommyhood I have done this. And you know what, listening to your mommy instincts is always the right thing to do - "err on the side of caution", my mom always counseled.

My daughter had a broken arm once. We didn't take her in right away thinking she was overreacting.

My other daughter had a high fever and neck pain - I think meningitis. She was fine which we found out AFTER an ER visit and a spinal tap.

You do what's best for your kids and listen to your gut. Good job, Mom. Glad he's okay!

rubberbandgirl said...

I have annoying howling children too. They really do over-do it at times so I totally empathize.
The moms in your co-op don't care. I promise.
Pat yourself on the back because you listened to your child (not your gut) and helped him feel loved.

rubberbandgirl said...

Oh and Anisa's comment about Joren splitting his head open and needing stitches...that happened on my watch and that SUCKS!

Ilene said...

Jackson is ridiculous when he gets hurt. If his screaming persists for an extended period of time I take him into the doctor. I would have done the same thing with Gabe that you did.

Now that you know he is okay, never let him live this down.

Adrianne said...

Mario always wants me to call the doctor for everything and I prefer to suffer in preparation for the day when we move to the real America and doctors aren't so accessible like here...

Meghann said...

Poor Gabe. I'm so glad it wasn't more serious. He's had quite the season for tooth/jaw injury.

Jenibelle said...

I am a notorious underreactor. There are horrible stories about my children and untreated -for- days broken bones. Every one of them have their own special story that they pull out at an opportune time to humiliate the crud out of me.

Kate Benson said...

Jessica,
I am the same way you are. I try not to over react to injuries or illness with my kiddies, and just when I think MAYBE I really should have them checked out, they're on the tail end of whatever it is and I didn't have to take them in after all... For the love! This happens almost EVERY TIME.