Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
Let me tell you a story about an angry mother and an outdated pediatrician.
Last week, Hallie came down with a sudden fever. I saw all the signs early of something that just didn’t look good, so I took her in to the doctor. We will call this person Dr. #1. Hallie was lethargic, high temp, and wasn’t eating. Ears were clear, or so I was told, and the strep test was negative. Better take her home to rest, because it’s probably something viral. Could be hand, foot, and mouth, even. I raised my eyebrows at this, because no where did Hallie have blisters, sores, or spots of any kind. Oh, you can still get it without those symptoms. She will be fine in a few days.
Mmmkay. Sure. I was reluctant, but I’m not a doctor, right? Better at least try to see if what this person has said is true. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
By that evening, Hallie’s temperature had only gotten higher, and medicine wasn’t touching it. She coasted with a high fever all night long, and Louis and I were very concerned. Hallie did nothing but lay on the bed, and she didn’t even want to be next to us. She wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t watching tv, and she wasn’t crying. She literally just laid her head down and quietly stared at nothing. This was not my child, even sick. Hallie was still not eating, and was barely drinking. Benefits of nursing a toddler, she at least wanted to breastfeed, but that was it.
I called the office in the morning and my conversation went along the lines of how I knew I could be coming off as overbearing, but I was sure that something was wrong with Hallie. She was getting worse, not better, and I really did not want to give it another day “to see how it goes”. She was throwing up, and it was a battle to keep her hydrated. They agreed to see her again, but a different doctor was in office today. We will call her Dr. #2. Dr. #2 agreed that Hallie’s throat looked terrible, and told me all about how the strep test at the office only tests for one kind, but there are several others. You have to ship a culture to the hospital for further testing. Guess what? That wasn’t done, and with the help of Dr. Google, I discovered that Hallie had every symptom of strep. Every. Single. One. Now, I know Dr. Google isn’t the most reliable, but the Mayo Clinic knows its stuff, and it’s shocking to me that the previous doctor hadn’t even considered the possibility of another strep strain.
Also, I discovered that Hallie’s ears were in fact irritated, but Dr. #1 didn’t take the time to move the wax so that she could see. I know this, because Dr. #1 told me she couldn’t see into her left ear. Uhm, what? WHY WAS SHE SO LAZY? Also, it takes 24 hours for a strep culture test with the hospital, and given Hallie’s fever and lethargy, Dr. #2 went ahead and offered antibiotics. We would only know if it was strep if the medicine worked, because Dr. #1 didn’t take the time to take care of my child. Dr. #2 is familiar with Hallie, who screams with a bit of eye contact, and Hallie didn’t have the energy to object to any of Dr. #2’s exam. That alone probably gave Dr. #2 a heads up into how Hallie was feeling.
That evening, I saw a small glimpse of my normal girl. It took several days for her to recover, and I’m only angry because she suffered an extra day for no reason. I know doctors can make mistakes, but I can’t forgive inaction. Hallie literally was throwing up at Dr. #1’s feet, despite not having eaten in more than 24 hours, with a fever that medicine wasn’t helping. Don’t ever hesitate to advocate for your child, especially if you feel in your gut something isn’t right. A second opinion is always worth the time, even if it’s just to verify everything is ok.
I’m not going to claim that I’m smarter than a pediatrician. I think the office that we use overall is great, and I love that they are usually receptive to my concerns and will see Hallie anytime I feel like she has sneezed oddly. I do try to limit my visits, and I never beg for antibiotics. If it’s just a cold, Hallie will get through it without a doctor’s visit. However. I know when my child is sick enough to need medical intervention. I will never be seeing Dr. #1 again, because I was at my office within 24 hours with two different pediatricians and two very different diagnoses. I live with Hallie. I know her. Don’t be lazy with my child’s life. You may be a doctor, but I’m her mother. As the old saying goes, mother knows best.