Mother's instincts to the rescue

DONNELLE BELANGER-TAYLOR
Last updated 08:33 17/05/2011

I recently wrote about a day through Vieve's eyes.  Here's what a morning in the last week or so might look like through Finn's eyes.

Happy sick Finn1am:  I hurt.  Why doesn't Mummy understand?
3am: I still hurt.  And my nappy is dirty.  Mummy is tired and I think she's grumpy at me.
6am:  Still hurting...
7am:  No, Mummy, I don't want food.  I hurt!  And I'm dirty again!  Fix me!
8am:  THE WORLD IS HORRIBLE.  WAHHHHHHHHHH.

My poor little man has had diarrhoea for 14 days now, and had fevers for 11.  I took him to the doctors after he'd been ill for a week.  She took his temperature, felt his stomach, told me it was probably a virus and he looked a bit dehydrated.  I should get fluids ino him, and come back if he still had diarrhoea in a week.

I fretted on the way home; a week is a long time for a wee boy to be sick like that, and he just wasn't himself. My instincts said something else was wrong, but I squelched the niggles with the thought that the doctor said it was just a virus. I decided I was probably worrying too much.

Over the next few days his fevers got a little more frequent and worse; not alarmingly high, but it was noticeable that he was washed out and miserable. He was exceedingly clingy and burst into tears if I even went to the bathroom. His appetite was gone, and it was hard to get fluids into him, even via his favourite transferral mechanism. I could see in his face that he was losing weight, and the birthmark under his nose was visible, something that only happens when he is pale.  Two days later I decided my mummy intuition was not happy with waiting a week, and booked him in to see a different doctor.

It turns out that ear infections can cause diarrhoea.  If I'd known that, I would have insisted that the first doctor check his ears.  In fact, I think I will make it a standard request in future.

Sleeping sick FinnPoor Finn had a severely infected ear, with a blister on the eardrum, quite possibly a holdover from the horrible holiday's cold. Ow. I'm not one to automatically use antibiotics, but this one is obviously contributing to or causing his misery. So amoxicillin it is.

I also had to obtain a stool sample. Of the many glamorous things I have done as a mother, scraping poop into a pottle rates quite high on the I-never-expected-to-do-that-ometer.  Thankfully, it seems that the nether region issue was just a side-effect of the ear infection (and now the antibiotics, though it has improved). I sure do it hope it resolves quickly once his prescription is finished; a packet of nappies per day * 14 days = a lot of my grocery budget.  I'd use our cloth nappies but I'm terribly behind on laundry as it is.

It's a good lesson not to second-guess myself, and to trust my parental instincts.   Have those instincts ever kicked in for you?

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63 comments
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MJ   #1   08:37 am May 17 2011

Oh Donnelle he is so cute!!!

I don't have kids (yet) but do have my own experience. Went to the doctor about two previously uncoloured moles on my chin that were becoming darker - she said they were nothing but I hounded her for a referral to a specialist.

Turns out they were precancerous and were removed.

Very glad I didn't just take her word for that one!!!

bella   #2   08:44 am May 17 2011

Poor little chap. Well done for finding the source of the problem. It wouldn't surprise me if teething causes ear infections because of all the movement and inflammation around the jaw / sinus area. I hope he is recovering quickly now.

Kerry   #3   08:55 am May 17 2011

Good on you Donelle. I say that a mothers instincts are always right, after all, who knows their child best? Had a similar incident with our son, he had chronic ear infections and was on antibiotics a lot(he was 11 months at the time). I asked our doctor about grommets and he said that he hadn't yet had enough infections to qualify and was too young. hmmm. I got a second opinion from a private specialist (a two hour drive away) who was absolutely horrified with the state of Sam's ears, and within 48 hours Sam had grommets inserted. I think it's important to realise that doctors have a bit of knowledge in all areas of medicine, but if anything chronic is happening it always pays to see a specialist, or at the very least, another doctor so you get a second opinion.

LD   #4   09:00 am May 17 2011

When my 16yr old looked hollowed eyed and losing weight, collapsed at school, urinating frequently, I took him to the doctor only to get a lecture on eating properly. I asked if any blood tests were going to be ordered but was told no so I asked for a blood sugar to be done at the surgery thinking that if this doctor didn't take us seriously I was just going to have to find another. He did the test and my son was admitted within an hour to hospital with type 1 diabetes. I have since found out from other parents of such young people that usually a diagnosis takes weeks after going backwards and forwards with a really sick teenager.

Michelle   #5   09:04 am May 17 2011

What a wee sweetie you have there Donnelle.

I have to say when my son was small I was incredibly lucky to have a doctor that believed in a mothers intuition. I remember one time taking my son to the doctor and having him checked out and the doctor saying to me I'm sure it's just a virus. Two days later it turned out it wasn't. We had many trips like that. It got to the point that he said to me one day, I can't see anything but I know that you wouldn't have brought him unless something was wrong. He said your mothers intuition is always right. He never fobbed me off.

Always trust your instincts.

...Louise...   #6   09:06 am May 17 2011

Devil's Advocate here. I suppose it is quite hard for doctors, esp when so many symptoms are shared by many different illnesses, plus neurotic mothers who want their child checked up if they have a running nose (that's me! I'm not criticising anyone). Plus there is greater pressure on them due to fewer young doctors staying in the country. It can't be easy.

After saying that - we had our child checked out last year for swollen puffy eyes, here take some antihistamines. One week later I don't think it's an allergy. Go back to doctor, was sent for tests and boom we were in hospital with nephrotic syndrome.

Also when he was born, I told this rather horrible hospital midwife (who incidentally but off point very rudely asked me why are you still here 2 days after he was born when he's attached to a drip. Because I enjoy the wonderful facilities that's why!) that he had jaundice - no he doesn't. This is my second child, yes he does. I've been a midwife x years, no he doesn't. Finally Dr takes my side, but still discharges us, and then hello hospital again - your baby has jaundice and should be admitted. Stupid midwife, stupid hospital. Okay will stop the rant now. Hope Finn is feeling better Donelle

mumof4   #7   09:17 am May 17 2011

Donelle I am glad that Finn is on the mend, and good on you for doing what you felt was right..poor wee man!

I am actually horrified that the Dr did not give him the full once over when you went the first time! Our Dr always checks ears etc if a temp is involved. I would expect they would take the time to rule out any possiblity especially given Finns age and how quickly young children can detoriate.

LC   #8   09:19 am May 17 2011

Thankfully when my teen was diagnosed as Type 1 two years ago the GP we saw was switched on. It was Sunday so we were at an after hours clinic and a blood glucose test was the second thing they did after checking his temp. He too was admitted to hospital within the hour with a blood glucose level of 48.5.

Siiri   #9   09:21 am May 17 2011

This has certainly happened to us as well. Our son, 9 months at the time, had been sick on and off for 2 months running. Nothing major, just a neverending stream of colds and temperature. Repeated trips to the doctor resulted in: "You are overanxious, it's just a virus, give it time". Despite feeling that there was something wrong, being blown off so consistently made me feel like I was overprotective, maybe everyting was fine? Finally, after 3 months of "colds", we found out that he had pneumonia. He ended up in Starship.

Andrea Janes   #10   09:24 am May 17 2011

Hey there, Yes you are correct, about 2 and a half years ago my then 14 year old son was vomitting constantly so off to the dr we go, he said "Food poisoning" should be ok in a few days a few days went bye and still vomitting non stop I took him to a after hours surgery! Same thing wait a couple more days, I did. After 2 more days I took him back the Dr said you are being anxious and just be patient he will come right in a couple of days,get him some energy drips and make him have small frequent sips. Now its Friday and I'm thinking man food poisoning don't last this long..I rung the dr no we can't get him in go to the after hours dr or the A&E, so I went with my gut instinct and went to A&E he was seen straight away (by this time he had lost 21kgs) and 1 blood test told us he was in total Renal (kidney)Failure, and because of the energy drinks we had made him drink, his sodium content was so high we had given him a heart murmer, by 9am the next morning we were at Starship hospital. I will never sit back and not ask questions again. I would never want a parent to ever go through this ever. I think stories like this must be told to gain more awareness, as we as mothers can tell the difference between slightly sick and really sick.....Take care and I hope your little boy is better soon...


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