Thursday, February 21, 2008

Parents... go with your gut

I am a mother , grandmother, and pediatric nurse and I still go with my gut when it comes to my children and grandchildren and illness. What I mean by that is I use my knowledge base and assessment skills but I still rely on my inner instincts as my guide to find the appropriate care.

Most parents know that a virus can last 1-4 days. They know a child with a fever not relieved by Tylenol or Motrin and higher than 103 degrees needs to be seen by the family doctor. Parents today understand that you give clear liquids when a child has been vomiting and avoid solid foods for several hours. But in my experience, parents are uncomfortable with questioning a physcian when they don't agree with the diagnosis, and sometimes they don't have the confidence to follow their gut when seeking care for their children.

This especially comes into play when children are in pain. If pain is severe enough for a child to be crying for hours, unable to play or be distracted, or if the pain in not relieved by over the counter pain medications, parents should have the pain evaluated. Pain is the sign of something not right, a warning if you will. And behavior can be a warning also, an important warning if a child in not verbal.

Working in a critical care pediatric unit, I do see the worse case senerios, however, I want parents to be advocates for their children. You know when something is just not right. Recently we had a child who was having balance issues while she walked. Mom took her in to see the doctor at the free clinic several times and was told there was nothing wrong. Finally, she took the bus to our emergency room to have the child evaluated because she just felt something was wrong, and a cat scan showed a brain tumor. This case is extreme, but what I want parents to understand is this.... you are your child's voice when no one else will listen. Be confident in that responsibility and follow your gut. A second opinion is always available if your child does not apear to be getting better from a normal childhood illness.

Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics has a parenting magazine called Healthy Children.
This magazine focuses on all aspects of preventive health and the well being of
children. You can find this magazine at the local library or on the American
Academy of Pediatrics web site. You can also ask you family doctor for more
resources for parents. Parents please speak up!

American Academy of Pediatrics

1 comment:

WriteWordsToInspire said...

I was my husband's voice for fifteen years as he could not advocate for himself. What you said about going with your gut is so true. It is also many times difficult as you are just a lowly, loving relative who can be given an inferiority complex about those feelings by those with medical degrees. It takes a strong, loving person to persist with what he knows in his heart is true.