Tuesday, April 03, 2007

To Doctor or Not to Doctor??

Fortunately, my kids have avoided chronic recurring minor illnesses, so we never made that monthly trip to the doctor to have ear aches attended to, or trips to the ER to rehydrate after the latest stomach bug. Since by nature I'm more hands off and non-worrying, and also because I have heeded the pediatrician's counseling that they often don't know if the illness is viral or bacterial and thus it's a guess if antibiotics will even benefit them, so I keep them home and treat them with Advil and Triaminic. But as the little illness crawls into day three or four, I inevitably second guess myself and take them to the doctor, who generally says, "Yes it looks like the cold that is going around."

Saturday Kyle started running a fever, and has continued through Monday. He is completely fine with no symptoms as long as the Advil is working, and when it wears off, he acts like he feels sick. Today, I thought he was well, but the cold symptoms set in and the fever came back. There's one other odd symptom that I'm worried about, so I called the doctor and we got in first thing in the morning.

How do you decide whether to make that call or not? I would love to hear your experiences and advice.


Susanne said...

I always took my kids in as soon as any fever hit higher than 101 and didn't go away after a couple doses of tylenol or if it came back after tylenol was discontinued. If they were lethargic I too them in right away. If they complained of earache we for sure went in.

You're right sometimes it is very hard to tell. But I always went with my gut. I was their mother after all, and knew them better than anyone. And I always thought better safe than sorry. One time I didn't go in even though my gut told me too, because I was worried what the nurses would think me being there again, and then my daughter's ears blew from ear infection. I never made that mistake again!

Rachelle said...

I'm like you -- I've tried to avoid the doctor as much as possible, and both of my kids got to age 7 without ever having antibiotics, despite several nasty ear infections. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful naturopath who helped me treat the kids naturally, and an understanding pediatrician who knew and approved of what I was doing.

However, my husband is an EMT and since he sees so much illness -- and really wants to avoid it himself! -- he's more likely to get to the doctor ASAP "just to check" if it's bacterial and if antibiotics are warranted. His instinct paid off recently when my daughter was sick. I thought it was a cold and kept her home from school. My husband was home, too, so I went out to do some errands. When I got back, hubby and daughter were gone! Soon they returned with a report from the doctor -- Strep Throat! -- and a prescription.

This isn't helpful, I know! I'm just saying, I try to avoid the doctor unless my instinct or my husband's says otherwise.

Beck said...

Like Susanne, I take my kids to the doctor if they have a persistent or a high fever. Other things - a certain chesty cough that doesn't clear up, lethargy, a child who is obviously unhappy - are signs to me that something may have gone beyond being treatable at home.

Katrina said...

I try to stay away from the doctor's too -- because there are more GERMS there! But I will make the trip for any lingering symptom (high fever for 3+ days, nasty cough that won't go away) or a tell-tale symptom. Camden always slept through the night as a baby/toddler...unless he had an ear infection. So anytime he woke up crying in the middle of the night, I called the doctor first thing in the morning. And it was always an ear infection. Stomach bugs stress me out - watching for that dehydration. Again I try to hold off, because I don't want to end up in the ER (more germs! plus the wait and the misery for the poor kid), but I don't want to wait too long. So I'm continually second-guessing myself with those, at least until they get older. I hope the doctor offers you some useful information/advice tomorrow.

Gina said...

I agree with Katrina. You often catch something from the Dr.s office!

Grace (4) came down with a slight fever and stomach ache last week, but I heard it was going around. I never checked her fever because it didn't feel hot enough, eventually after four days she was back to normal, though at one point I almost called the nurse line, then realized our new insurance didn't have one.

I usually call a nurse line if I'm unsure and then make my decision based on their recommendations. Though the last time my 12 year old had an ear ache, we just waited it out, dosed up on vitamin C, and it cleared up on his own. We're trying to cut down on the antibiotics as well.

kardel said...

I posted a response to this. Click here to view. It was just too lengthy.

org junkie said...

Hi Jennifer, I try to stay away from Doctors as well. We have had our share of them in the past with my middle child's severe analphylactic food allergies and asthma so it seems we were always at the Dr. Now we don't have to go as often thank goodness.

Definitely if they had a high persistent fever I would take them in but thankfully my MIL and best friend are nurses so I always call them first.

Hope your son is feeling better real soon. I'll say a prayer for him. Let us know what the Dr. has to say.


angeleyes Blue said...

Simple---Go with your gut. I never cared if I seemed like I was an overprotective mama.

I once had the dentist tell me that he would rather work with an overzealous mom than one who was very laid back and didn't want to make trouble.

He said Pam that is why docters are here. Let us do our job.

Appliejuice said...

That is a tough question. I am one who is a laid back mom and let the illness take it course. I guess I got tired of hearing the doctors' say, "If it lasts another three days, bring them back in." Me, "it has already been three days." Doctors', "Well, if it last another three days bring them back in."

I only took mine in if they were grabing their ears in pain. My kids are pretty healthy and I didn't have to make that call too often. I did have to make that call when my second child got the chicken pox. I just wanted to make sure that's what it was, since my son just got over the same thing.

Lisa writes... said...

Another laid back mom who never, hardly ever takes her kids to the doctor--especially now that they are older. Here's my advice from one's who's most definitely been there: trust your instincts. No one on earth knows your kid as well as you do and you will most definitely sense it if something is "off." My gut feeling is generally if fever is the only symptom, it will probably be viral, which you can only treat symptomatically anyway, which is what you're doing.

Hang in there, go to the doctor if it will give you peace of mind, and remember, this too shall pass!

Blessings, Lisa

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I hate paying my high copay to be told "it is a virus, nothing you can do, give them tylenol for pain"...

So I avoid as much as possible. But since one of my kiddos (Marcy) is immuno-suppresed and has problems with seizures and fevers, we end up taking her most of the time. The other two have been relatively healthy, other than allergies.

I am with you, it is a quandry sometimes!

Hope your little man feels well soon.