Bits & pieces of my crazy world…

The doctor is in, may I help you?

Posted by MeTymeMN on March 20, 2008

I must be getting old and losing my memory because I honestly don’t recall going to 10 years of school and getting my PhD.  However I think it’s an un-written requirement for the job description ‘Mom.’  So why do I feel the need then to take my kids to a doctor’s office when the doctor just repeats everything I already predicted?  Oh yeah, he can write prescriptions and I can’t!

My son has had a cough for about a week now, and on the one hand this is the child that’s been sick maybe 6 times in his 17 years; on the other hand, that should have been my first clue because when he does get sick it’s usually a doozy (the last time he was sick it was with Scarlet Fever…I haven’t even heard that term since *I* was a kid).   This wonderful, handsome, funny, helpful, caring young man is also extremely intelligent (he’s tested consistently over the years in the high-superior range) but displays a scary lack of common sense.  Keep this in mind as this little story plays out.

A couple days into his cough I mention it to him; of course it’s “nothing,” it’s just a cough.  Since the un-finished basement is where all the “good” electronics are (big-screen TV, computer, game systems), along with 4 couches, table/chairs, etc., that’s where the kids spend the majority of their time and where/why our basement typically has 4-8 kids down there at any given time.  I expressed to him my thoughts that if he didn’t want this cough to turn into “something” that he needs to rest and not spend a lot of time in the basement since (even though it’s only a few years old and is a walk-out) it is cool and damp and dank down there, which wouldn’t be helping his cough.  Did I mention it’s Spring Break this week? You’d think I had just asked him to cut a limb off. “What do you mean?? There’s like 6 people coming over here in half an hour!” Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr… So I try to balance being Dr. Mom with remembering what it was like to be on break when I was in high school. Okay, fine, but tomorrow is a day of rest.

And the following day was a day of rest. And he went to bed at around 11:00p.m. that night. The next day and day after his cough seemed a lot better.

My husband and I were both awakened at 4:00a.m. yesterday morning to the sounds of him in the kitchen making something to eat. Grrrrrrrrrrrr…I went downstairs and had the “what do you think you’re doing?” conversation in as much as I could standing there in my jammies while he’s standing there next to one of his friends. So I went back to bed.

Later in the morning after his friend left we had another chat about things like “your friends are always welcome here, you know that, but you need to show us enough respect by letting us know that someone’s going to be here over night;” “your health still isn’t 100% and just because you rested one day and went to bed early one night doesn’t mean you get to stay up all night for the remainder of your break;” those kinds of things. I need to take you back a couple paragraphs ago where I mentioned that he rarely gets sick. He was actually diagnosed as a-symptomatic back in grade school, so he’ll carry the germs of something but not develop symptoms or illnesses himself…he’ll just pass them along! So he SEEMS like he’s okay except for the cough, he SAYS he feels fine except for the cough, but yesterday it just sounded different.

So I made a doctor appointment.  He was not happy.  Why?  Because he had plans last night and if I took him to the doctor and the doctor even said the word “sick” then I wouldn’t let him partake in his plans.  My response:  “pull your head out of your arse, this is your health”…that was in my HEAD; what came out of my mouth was “your health is more important than going out with your friends right now.”  He said, “No it’s not – this is Spring Break!  I don’t care if I get sicker and miss school later as long as I have fun during my break!”  Remember that lack of common sense?  So lastly I said, “I’m still the mom and I still get to boss you around for a few more months, and you’re going to the doctor.  (voice getting a little louder)  And when the doctor prescribes an Albuturol inhaler, Prednizone sterroid and an antibiotic because you probably have pneumonia, then maybe you’ll actually care that you’re sick or at the very least care that you may be infecting your friends!!!”

As God as my witness, the doctor said, “You’re a very sick young man; you’re a day away from being in the hospital with your pneumonia.  You need to rest… you need to stay out of the basement because it’s dank and moldy (he really did use the word dank, too) and you need to start taking your health more seriously; you’re almost 18.  And here are prescriptions for Albuturol, Prednizone and xyz which is an antibiotic.”  My son thought he was kidding because he told him ALL of the things that I’d been telling him for a couple days.  When he finally figured out that he wasn’t, he just stared at me, said okay to the doctor, and was mad at me all the way home.

I was even a little shocked myself and kinda felt like I was wearing the “Worst Mom” badge in the doctor’s office because I hadn’t brought him in earlier.  And as I reminded him last night, being a-symptomatic can be his blessing as well as his curse:  he doesn’t look sick, he doesn’t act sick because he doesn’t FEEL sick – all he’s physically experiencing is an annoying cough; not even a painful cough.  So I can understand why he’d be really upset about being quarantined in his room now for the last few days of his spring break when he physically feels fine, and he agreed after a while that it’s not rational or fair to be mad at ME because I took him to the doctor. 

Looking forward though, especially as he’s about to set out on his own in a few months, it’s scary to think about what may have happened had I not been as…attentive maybe in hearing the change in how his cough sounded?  This is an extreme comparison, but it brought to mind children that are inflicted with whatever the condition is where they don’t feel pain and are then at extremely high risk of severe injury without even knowing it.  There’s a little bit of that here with my son…if he doesn’t feel sick, because he doesn’t develop all or some of the symptoms, and just has a cough, how long – how bad – would things have had to get before realizing that something was seriously wrong?  He’s going to need to learn to be very conscious of this HIMSELF because neither one of us wants me living with him in his dorm room! 🙂

Now I realize that I’m only the Mom, but hopefully this little episode will make him have a little more faith in my thoughts and experiences and suggestions in the future.

That’ll be $250, please!


5 Responses to “The doctor is in, may I help you?”

  1. Miss T said

    Amazing they ever survive to adulthood, isn’t it?

  2. Kim said

    You should be wearing the “Good Mom” badge. I still remember what it’s like to be 17 and the idea that he should enjoy spring break and then he can be sick for school, made a weird kind of sense to me. Hope son is resting and healing!

  3. Barbara said

    Sounds a lot like my HS senior last year. Well, except she was willing to admit she felt sick, but was still really busy with the school play stuff. “I’ll rest during Thanksgiving.” Gah. At least she was sick enough to never want to get pneumonia again. Of course I was headed out of town for two weeks right after Thanksgiving…. Now she is in school on the west coast and who knows what happens. Oh, wait, she sent me an email this past fall when she stubbed her toe while running across campus, barefoot in the dark. She had ripped up her toenail from the bed and didn’t have first-aid supplies. Kids.

  4. Knitgirl63 said

    I’ve been witness many times with you and the darling offspring – and if you were a bad mom you wouldn’t care enough to do what you do (even mad, both of them know that). What I wish I could have seen though was his expression in the dr’s office, which really shouldn’t have been shock as he should know by now, duh, Mom is always right! But I also know how much he loves you and he’ll get over his little fit soon enough.

  5. Jeanice said

    I am so glad that he is on the mend-don’t you wish that you could take the wisdom that we have gained over the years and put it into a capsule. Then we could administer it to the “nothing can hurt me” young ones that we love so much! You are a terrific mom! It won’t be that long before it dawns on him how lucky he is to have had you for his mother and he will let you know how much he appreciates you. I speak from experience!

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