My favorite blogs to read are those that I can really relate to. They offer up the kind of writing that makes me think, “I could have written this myself.” That’s what Mary’s blog is to me. A real glimpse into the mind of an everyday mommy. I love Mary’s stories. When I visit her blog, I feel like I’m sitting on her couch drinking coffee in her living room. I’m thrilled to introduce today’s featured blogger, Mary from A Teachable Mom.
I know you’ll just love her!
And That’s Why God Created Doctors
While I like to believe I know a little about many things, the truth is most days I’m running by the seat of my pants. Some days that feels fine, exhilarating even; I trust I’m parenting the best I can and getting support where necessary. Other days, I bury myself under the pressure of having to know the right answer before I take the next step. Apparently, in my own mind, I’m supposed to be omnipotent, able to leap tall buildings and discern when an ER visit is medically necessary.
Last week, in the middle of a Chicago-style snowstorm, our four year old, Rhys, started complaining of stomach pain. Her mild discomfort quickly escalated to wild moaning and writhing-on-the-floor pain. Relying on my extensive medical training (aka Google), I immediately recognized the symptoms of appendicitis and called her pediatrician to confirm.
After an interminably long time on hold listening to REO Speedwagon’s greatest hits, I spoke with a nurse who suggested watching Rhys for the next 30 minutes and taking her to the ER if her symptoms worsened.
Within moments of hanging up the phone, Rhys stopped screaming and said she felt better.
Relieved, I began my obligatory Google search for “appendicitis symptoms.” After quickly scanning 2,560,000 results, I convinced myself Rhys, now happily playing with paper dolls, was likely constipated and needed prunes. And oat bran.
Moments later, the nurse called, “If your daughter’s symptoms stop suddenly, take her to the ER immediately to rule out a ruptured appendix.”
Why didn’t I know that? I wondered, certain Google had failed me. When I explained that Rhys’s symptoms had indeed stopped suddenly, the nurse encouraged me to drive to the ER immediately.
As I bundled up our kids and cleared off the six inches of snow already accumulated on our car, self-doubt battered my brain …
Rhys seems fine. I’m making a mistake trudging all the way across town in a snowstorm. The ER docs are going to laugh or yell at me for taking up their time unnecessarily.
But suppose her appendix is about to rupture and waiting means she’ll be in danger?
Suddenly, I paused. What if, for once, I didn’t have to have all the answers? What if I stopped playing doctor and let those who have presumably completed medical school do their jobs?
Rhys looked pale and flushed, her eyes hot from crying, but otherwise subdued as we drove to the hospital. When we arrived to find children clinging to life on stretchers, I felt another pang of shame for using valuable resources for what was likely a case of gas.
When the triage nurse asked Rhys to point to a face that described how much pain she was feeling, she pointed to the first face indicating “no pain.”
“Are you sure?” I said. “Why don’t you look again.”
“I’m sure,” Rhys replied.
I’m screwed, I thought. Couldn’t she muster a moan or two now that we’re here?
The ER doc determined Rhys did not have appendicitis, nor was anything about to rupture. After a quick throat swab, the doctor informed me she had strep.
Not according to WebMd! I thought.
As we hustled to the pharmacy for the requisite pink penicillin, I questioned my discomfort: Are parents expected to have all the answers for their children?
I would never expect my friends to know how to handle every parenting issue perfectly. Yet, somewhere along the way, I determined that the parenting bar was higher for me. And just as I get close to that bar, I raise it up.
While I am my children’s best advocate, I’m still learning to put my baggage aside, trust my instincts and secure the best care possible for them. In the meantime, you’ll find me on Google, researching the latest … well, everything.
When not playing doctor, Mary Nelligan can be found blogging at atechablemom.com about the messy ups and downs of growing up with her two best teachers, daughters Ava (9) and Rhys (4). Make her day and follow her on Twitter at @ateachablemom and on Facebook at “A Teachable Mom.”