When I "signed up" to be a parent, I'm pretty certain there were visions of star athletes, Nobel Peace Prize winning intellectual children and the ever-present "be yourself and do your best." I don't recall visions of defiant 2-year-olds, cleaning vomit, restless nights/waking in a panic, daycare bills or other illnesses.
I consider myself a pretty down-to-Earth parent, in all reality. Lots of people, when they saw me with my oldest, would ask how many kids I had because I did not act like a first-time parent. I guess that comes from being the oldest myself and having cared for kids. Let's ignore the fact that I often woke at night just to check whether or not my oldest daughter was breathing. However, scraped knees, bruises, etc., didn't phase me.
Then came today...
I can't remember missing a doctor's appointment in my children's lives, but I was absolutely swamped and sent my husband with the kids. My thought...it'll be a "good" experience for him.
"They're just going to tell us they can't do anything. He may have an ear infection and bad cold. Just keep using the humidifier and keep him hydrated."
Yep, that was me talking. I sent a list of symptoms with my husband and I went to work.
The diagnosis? RSV. The doc told my husband it was the worse case she'd seen all day and she almost hospitalized my son. I got the news secondhand from my husband...ever play that game called "Telephone"? Remember how the message could get jumbled and mixed up by the time it went around?
I may not have heard things correctly or he didn't state them correctly, but either way, it ended up sounding scarier than the actual message. The message I heard: "RSV is sometimes found as the cause of SIDS."
SIDS is scary enough without provoking extra fear. I'm pretty sure I'm going to sleep tonight, but I won't be rested because I'll wake and check on my child constantly.
However, I also live in a small town and the docs are readily available and willing to help. So I left a sarcastic message thanking her for the upcoming sleepless nights and then honestly asking for any advice. She called me back and explained that my child is a big, strong baby and has passed the "danger point" for infant RSV. She stated she did say SIDS could be a result (definitely a significant risk) for young babies and premature babies. She reminded me that we are responsible parents and she is certain we will take good care of our baby. Then she went through a checklist with me to see how my son was responding to treatments.
I'm thankful for the doctors we have in this town. We are neighbors, friends, family, co-workers...lives overlap in a small town. They do not treat "strangers"...they treat people they know, with whom they have to interact on a sometimes daily basis. I haven't always agreed with them (bless my wonderful doctor for putting up with my arguments!) but they make the best decisions they can based on the information (and the equipment) that they have. They refer when needed and provide quality close-to-home care when they are able.
Kudos to you, small town doctors. And kudos to open, honest and CLEAR communication skills!