Parents Know Stuff: Trust Your Gut
today at 8:31 pm
Last week I was listening to a new friend describe a frustrating situation occurring in her life. With emotion and tears, she told me about visiting many doctors (a pediatrician, a rheumatologist, and a dermatologist, just to name a few) trying to figure out what was going on with her daughter (13 years old) who was having unusual symptoms.
Rather than getting any information from her, she felt like the doctors treated her as JUST a mom. The following are some brief examples of symptoms her daughter was experiencing: purple toes, swollen hands, ongoing menstruation, etc.
The first doctor she sought help from shook his head at her and asked if she had considered putting socks on her daughter. So, my friend prepared herself for another doctor. She described to me how she made sure to have symptoms written down and to act unemotional, in hopes that one of the specialists would take her seriously. She has not found one yet.
What a bunch of bulls***, I thought, as she described the doctor’s questions and comments. I thoroughly related and remember the condescending comments I endured from doctors when I sought help with some ailments my daughter was experiencing, many years ago. This blog is my attempt to encourage other parents to speak up and continue seeking solutions when their intuition tells them to be concerned.
My husband and I have the wonderful gift of a daughter we adopted from China. We traveled to China to bring her home, in a delegation with 5 other families also fortunate enough to be adopting. She was a beautiful, happy, and engaging 13-month-old girl (and I am not biased). When I gave her a bath, I noticed a dry rash (huge red blotches) all over her legs. Since one of the dads was a pediatrician, I sought his advice. He waved his hand at me to dismiss my concern and assured me it was nothing to worry about.
After a few weeks at home, this rash still did not look right, and she rubbed her legs. So, I took her to the new pediatrician I sought out just for her. He was recommended by many as one of the best in the area and had experience with children adopted from China.
I will never forget the look he gave me (the look someone gives an idiot). He said something that went like this: Mom, that is a common rash many children have when they first arrive. Go home. FYI, I was always called Mom and never by name, I am not sure if he knew my name.
I was not convinced.
So, I made an appointment with a recommended dermatologist. He told me that this was serious business and left untreated it could lead to kidney damage or even be fatal; I needed to take quick action. He let me know that the condition was severe, and she was probably in a lot of pain. The dermatologist explained that the three of us (my husband, daughter, and I) needed to cover ourselves with a prescription medication (an intense medicine that had a burning sensation) to rid the infection. All her toys needed to be treated also. Following this treatment, the rash quickly disappeared.
Parents, please trust your instincts. What is the worse that can happen if we get a second or third opinion? Unfortunately, I know firsthand what might happen if we do not. Soon, I will post a follow-up on this topic, which shows an example of what might have happened if I accepted the first opinion.