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?