Friday, January 22, 2010

The pediatrician thinks I am awful

About a year ago Teena was sick. I don't really remember the signs or symptoms she showed, just that it was enough to make us think we should take her in to see the doctor. It was a Saturday, flu season, and so we saw a woman who was new to us, another pediatrician.

To start with, I am one of those awful people who doesn't care if her kids get sick. I don't sanitize. I'm not anti- bacteria. I just don't worry about it. I am more of a parent who says, go ahead and lick the floor. It will taste nasty and you won't do it again, instead of me screaming at you for the next 5 years as you try to sneak licking the floor whenever I turn my head. I think it is important to clean the floor at least once a year, so it is fine. Reasonably clean. Anyhow, immunities. Every time a child gets sick they build up immunities that will protect them throughout their lives. So I don't try very hard to prevent them getting sick. Now, I am not courting cancer god forbid. I don't let them smoke cigarettes for example, or suck cans of roach killer. We don't drink water out of our faucets or toilet. But they get little colds and viruses once in a while and I don't sweat it. Eh. Here's your tissue. Don't leave it on the floor.

So I took Teena to the Unknown Doctor that day. I'm remembering now it was a wave of swine flu that prompted me to take her in. She was lethargic. Tired. Quiet. For the kid who won't even slow down to drain her bladder, it's notable. She can't stop talking because our house is boring, in her humble opinion. So when she does shut up, it is notable.

Our regular pediatrician, Dr. Cindy, is great. She and I see eye to eye on things. I don't have a lot of things, but I have a few. I expect to talk about whatever the problem is and I expect to be informed. I then expect us to make a decision based on our discussion. I expect that my opinion will be respected. That's all. She is used to me. But Unknown Doctor was not. So when she asked me if I had given Teena any medication for her symptoms I said no. I told Unknown Doctor that Teena rarely slows down unless she is sick. When she is sick, it is my opinion that she needs to relax and recoup. Rest her body, take in liquids and let nature do its thing.

Unknown Doctor was clearly horrified with me. She gave me The Stink Eye right then and there and authoritatively informed me that I could and should be treating Teena's symptoms with over the counter cold medicine, pain reliever and fever reducer. I don't know, maybe its a good thing that I am a parent now as opposed to 15 years ago. Because back then I would have told off the doctor, pitched me a righteous fit, and left. Probably would have been formally invited never to return too.

That day, I fake- smiled, nodded, and assured Unknown Doctor in my best nicey- nice voice that I would immediately take action. Yep.

See, my opinion is that the fever serves a purpose. Lethargy is the body forcing itself to rest and heal. A headache, congestion things like that, are discomforts. They make life unpleasant but they don't hurt. They don't cause lasting damage. Ultimately the person will be stronger. Cold medicine though, that is questionable. There are massive amounts of dye in that stuff. Side effects are unpleasant. A minor fever won't burn the brain, but aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach. Chemicals marinating in preservatives.

Having said all of the above, I crossed a personal line earlier this week and started Genea on her 4th psychiatric medication. I had, for some reason, the number 3 in my head as the limit to the amount of medications I would allow her to be prescribed. Pretty random, that number. I will write much more about that in the next week or so. We are taking one other med down slowly but still, four. It is a lot.

So, I am interested in what other people do when your kids are sick. Do you let them suffer through it? Or give 'em a whopping dose of something and send them back out to play? Do you hate to see them so miserable that you do everything you can? Or set them up with a TV and some clear soda to carry them through?


  1. I subscribe to the same school of thought as you.

    My son is 18 and is healthy as can be.

  2. It depends. I'm not a fan of antibiotics. And, I'm on the fence about immunizations.

    We're BIG on homeopathic remedies. They don't seem to work for her the way they do for me, though.

    But, I will give her a fever reducer. I'll also (sparingly) use OTC meds for cough and runny nose. That is just spreading germs--and they'll find ME. Besides, she just looks so pitiful. And, single mom here--she's in school unless there's fever or vomitting. I want her as comfortable there as possible.

    Since we're co-sleeping, if she sleeps, I sleep--so I tried a nighttime decongestant for her. Didn't work out great. Nose spray, however, has let us both rest. And, it kept my pillow phlegm-free (her phlegm, not mine.).

    I think a little juice (cold) or seven-up (tummy issues) on the couch is a great solution. And, she thinks the couch is a magic healing place. Even if we're out in the park and she falls and gets hurt, she'll tell me she needs the couch. ;> That's our no-school remedy.

  3. I'm with you all the way. I haven't given either of them cold meds or antibiotics. Granted J hardly ever gets sick but when she does it's take to the bed, rest, fluids, chicken soup, recuperate. I'll do homeopathic stuff, C, echinachea, etc. but no meds. So far so good......

  4. I'm in your camp, but I will pour some fever reducer down their throat if it get over 102 and is bedtime, but it's more for reducing my fear than their fever. I have once radlet who will throw up and just roll ever in it and go back to sleep.

    My doctor and I see eye to eye, but I don't understand this drive to make parents happy even if it's not best for the child. Peanut had a 104 fever for a week, so I took her in and Dr. said, "well, I could've given her Tamaflu if you had brought her in in the first 48 hours." I said, "is that what you would've recommended? I figured it was best to let her body fight it if she wasn't dehydrated?" and Dr. said, "no, I'd do what you're doing."

    So why give out Tamaflu then?

  5. I thought all the recommendations now were to NOT give kids cold medication? Well, either way, I don't. I do tend to give fever reducers (Tylenol or Motrin).

  6. Well, as you know, I'm a doctor (but not a pediatrician) so we've got a nice little pharmaceutical stash of supplies in a cupboard. BUT...most of my kids hate to take medicine, plus in general are pretty healthy anyway, so it rarely gets used. I do make them take tylenol or advil if they have a high fever.

    My kids pediatrician is very old school (but I love him because he's very thorough and I know if he's not worried about it, I shouldn't be.) But, I've definitely been known to do what you do (smile and nod with no intention of following the directions) but then doctors are well known for being terrible patients, so I'm not necessarily advocating you following my lead. Do as I say, not as I do. ;)

  7. And, P.S. sorry (well, sorry is probably not the right word, but you know...) about Genea and the 4th med. Hope you've hit on a magic cocktail and whatever set-back got her there will heal.

  8. I don't do OTC's and really try to let the body do what it knows to do. I may do fever reducer if my mom is around as she will over medicate if I don't do something, but I tend to think even fevers have a purpose. BTW, my kids (who were very snotty, coughy when I got them) are pretty healthy and rarely ever sick now.

  9. we do little medecine over here unless we need to take them somewhere and they snuffly and miserable and then they get a decongestant but that is more for my sanity and mostly just for Fudge who has ashtma and rends to get pretty wheexey when he can't breathe, I have been told that breathing is essential so i do. Other than that and allergy meds. there is nothing here except a little tylenol if your fever is over 100 and popsicle or two.

  10. This should be a TTT - I'm so writing an entire post. :)

    I think you probably know my opinion. I'm a lick the floor, I don't care, kind of mom. I don't use hand sanitizer because I heard about kids who used it, then sucked their thumbs and got horribly sick and since I have thumb suckers I stick with soap and water (when I remember).

    I have the perfect Ped. He is an old guy from Poland. Horrible bedside manner, but has a quick office turnaround. He says things to me like "finally, a 5th grader who isn't fat" and "no matter what I do, there are only two outcomes, either your kid gets better or dies."

    If you get sick in my house expect to be confined to quarters. Especially during the school year, don't want anyone to feel nurtured and loved and get "sick" more often. Also, I have little to no compassion. I do have an adult child who lived through all of it, washes her hands with soap and water and rarely gets sick. Same with the 16 year old who is in adult in every way but age.

    You don't get otc pain relievers unless you can take them without whining, if you aren't so sick that you can't take the relief without whining, you aren't that sick.

    And for those of you who are thinking I should be parent of the year, I was runner up in 2005 in the state of Texas, (although I'm not sure they were privy to this info).

  11. Well, it depends on my kids. I don't give Andrew anything. He has such a high pain tolerance it's extremely hard to tell if he is sick. His ears have to be draining before I know he has an ear infection. My 19 yr old wouldn't take meds of any kind and he is quite healthy. DQ is well, a drama queen so if she had a hangnail she'd want a cast. I rarely gave her anything because I didn't want to reinforce that. That leave Bug. She gets migraines so I give her motrin. She has asthma so we have to catch her first signs of upper resperatory gunk quickly so I will give her decongestants or sudafed. I would let my kids lick the floor-it would get clean then. But they won't even with all my prodding. The dog licks them all over and I don't care. They wear the same clothes a couple, sometimes 3 days in a row and I don't care. As long as they don't crackle from crusty icky things.
    I love what Annie's dr said about 2 outcomes-you get better or die. ha ha ha

  12. My general philosophy is "Life is too short for tight clothes and bad books". Take the Tylenol. And the Ibuprohen. And the cough drops. Why be sick AND uncomfortable????

  13. I grew up with NO medication - NOOOOOO medication. I don't think I had an aspirin until I was in my 20's. And, our pediatrician was ahead of his time; he was big on building up those immunities and that suited my mom's style. Once I dropped my Popsicle on the floor of my dad's '53 Chevy, and when I picked it up to continue eating, my mother started to react, then decided it would be good for me. Probably was; I am almost never sick.

    I cannot for the life of me IMAGINE a doctor saying that! But I'm wondering if the subtext was something like, "If you'd given her OTC meds, she'd have perked up and you wouldn't be taking up my time!"

    I was always in trouble with the pediatrician due to my intuitive ways...i.e. "What is his temperature?" Me: "Oh, seems pretty warm to me." I would never dream of actually TAKING a temperature. If I GOT a number, I wouldn't remember it.

  14. I am pretty much with you, but I will give my son medicine at night if he is up all night coughing or really congested and can't sleep, etc. I figure that it is better for him to actually get rest at night than to have him up all night miserable!

    I agree that kids are going to get sick. You can't keep 'em in a bubble!

  15. I rarely give OTC meds to anyone in the house. I do, however, give tylenol/motrin for fevers.. With that said 4 of my 6kids have asthma so they do get their treatment plan implemented if they start to get sick.. If they don't get better, off to the dr we go with hopes of a nice shot in the butt to kickstart recovery but w/o a nice high fever (or looney bioparent who insists on seeing the kid for visit unless you have a dr note regardless of the fever ect) we don't go to the dr right away.

  16. I let fevers go to 102 before dosing kids. I stay on top of asthma, but colds need to run their course. I only go whole hog on sanitizing to protect other kids from my little viral vectors, but I allow my kids to experience the world, germs and all. I love natural remedies, immune boosting citrus, echinacea and the such. And I have been known to use ice cream as a cure!

  17. I totally agree with you! I will sometimes give Elizabeth Tylenol before bed if she has a cold and feels warm. but that's more for me than for her :)

  18. IF our insurance would pay for it, I'd go the homeopathic route.

  19. Glad to know there are other moms out there who think like I do. My kids are healthier than most of my friends who are fanatic about germs and immunizations. We went five years with out medications for our son, but our trusted psychologist gave us a good reason to consider meds. (We ignored the counselors and psychiatrists who had the authority to prescribe it.)

  20. I guess I'm mostly like you. We let our kids get exposed to the world and therefore its germs, and we don't really sweat the periodic illness that comes with that. That said, we are pretty serious about using nutrition, physical activity, and sleep to keep our immune systems high (everyone in the family), so we don't deal with illness in our kids all that often. But when we do, we're "let it run its course" kind of folks. I agree that the body is signalling what it needs in order to recover/heal. However, if someone's coughing so much at night that they're complaining that they can't sleep, we will dose them with whatever seems to help -- sometimes its homeopathic, other times it gets all the way to OTC cold meds (which I am loathe to use).

  21. I should say, I do use otc's for the kids if they cannot sleep. There is a balance there, the sleep is so important to getting well.

    Of course we have the odd element of Genea getting excited about a medicine and trying all kinds of strange stuff to get more. Teena too, she hates to slow down to be sick but she loves to take her some grape flavored syrup. Gross. So I try to avoid reinforcing them too.

  22. I don't think cold medicines work. In fact, our pediatrician even told us none of the otc cough syrups even WORK so don't waste your money. My daughter has had very few "colds" or "flus" and I've never been a germaphobe. However, she does have asthma and is on meds for that. Oh and as for the food coloring, a friend of mine's daughter is allergic to it, and can only take plain white tylenol. There is evidence that food coloring causes hyperactivity in some children, so why not avoid it if you can?

  23. I rarely take my son to the doctor, and I rarely go myself. Our bodies are designed to heal most issues....with no intervention on our part.
    We do take dayquil/nyquil when we have a really bad cold that just won't go away and if were miserable. But for the most part, my philosophy is: Sleep it off. Drink lots of water. And then sleep some more.

  24. No kids (yet) but I'm not one to take more than I need to. Treating the symptoms does not help the illness go away. I will use saline to keep a cold from becoming a sinus infection, I would use tylenol to reduce a high fever but I would agree that fever has it's role in healing. If I do take a cough syrup, it's the expectorant kind to help me get that crap out rather than just supress it.

    I don't care about the gender of my doctors, but I NEED one that will listen to me and explain what is wrong and why they recommend the treatment. I'm done with people who pat me on the head and fill out a prescription.


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