By Heather O.
Ok, last post about sickness for a while, I promise.
So last I wrote, I talked about my child recovering nicely from his illness. Well, what I should have said was, “Recovering nicely except for a cough and tonsils the size of basketballs.” After DH was diagnosed with strep, I decided those tonsils and his very red soft palate might be indicative of strep, so I took him in. It took me two days to get an appointment because I just wasn’t hysterical enough, I guess.
Anyway, we went into the office. I had prepped Jacob all day, so he dutifully jumped up on that leather-type examining table and opened his mouth wide for the doc. Our doctor, who was recommended to me by the advice nurse when we first moved here, was unimpressed.
“Well, the throat looks normal.”
“Normal?” I asked. “You’re telling me those tonsils are normal?”
The doctor shrugged. “Some kids just have big tonsils. I’m not concerned at all. His sypmtoms are probably just a result of allergies.”
Ok, I actually thought I could buy that, as I have allergies, and the cherry blossoms are finally in bloom here (hooray!).
But I just couldn’t let that normal statement go by.
“Well, allergies is a good thought, but I’m really shocked that you consider that throat normal.”
The doctor kept his cool, and said, “Hey, I’ve seen strep in kids with throats that look a lot better. You just can’t always make a diagnosis based on how tonsils look. I mean, we have to rule out strep, because dad has it, but I really don’t think that the test will come back positive.”
I wasn’t sure if it would be positive or not, but I was shaking my head in disbelief that those melon-sized organs in my kid’s mouth belonged there.
And here’s where I made my fatal all-too-common Mommy error. I didn’t challenge the doctor even more. What I should have said is, “Hey, I’ve seen what my kid’s tonsils normally look like, and that’s not it. Those are looking very different than normal for him.” I was tempted to say “And by the way, I’m a Speech Language Pathologist, I look into people’s mouths for a living, and I ain’t never seen anything like that on a ‘normal’ patient!”
But I didn’t. I just nodded after he told me that kids can have big ‘ol tonsils, and went along my way with my diseased child, who did, by the way, test POSITIVE for strep. HA! Take that, Mr. “It’s all normal” Doctor.
So why didn’t I stick up for my kid harder in the face of this doctor? I mean, the doctor is competent enough–he did, after all, actually do the strep test, even against his better clinical judgement. The end result is the same–Jacob gets his dose of bubble-gum pink medicene twice a day for 10 fun-filled days.
But I’m his MOTHER. I know him better than anyone. I know what his breathing sounds like when he’s finally fallen asleep. I know when he’s going to crash from a full day if he doesn’t take a nap, and what time he’ll stay up bouncing off the walls if he does. I know what kind of remark from another kid will hurt his feelings, and I know he’ll go off in a corner to sulk when that happens. I know that when he starts throwing things violently, he’s either tired or bored. And I know a few things about tonsils, especially HIS tonsils. So why was I so ready to except this doctor’s pronoucement of normal on my sick kid, a man who has interacted with my child a total of a half an hour of Jacob’s life, when I knew, AS HIS MOTHER, that something was wrong?
I guess I’m just a wuss when it comes to argueing with a medical degree. But you can bet the next time I go there, I’m going to try to be a better advocate for my son, especially if his tonsils are bigger than watermelons and sprouting small trees. And if my doctor says that’s normal, I’m going to go find a botanist.
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