When NOT to call the Doctor

My kids have been hospitalized with bronchiolitis. We have taken an ambulance in the middle of the night with croup. They have had their head stitched up, multiple x-rays, and come close to choking on watermelon. But my most traumatic parenting experience by far happened on a warm, sunny day at the playground when my 1st kid, then around 1, decided to put a dirty, used band-aid from the sandbox in his mouth. Look – I was already apprehensive about the sandbox, the playground for that matter. Every snotty-nosed child touching the swings sent me digging through the diaper bag for the Xanax. Every squirrel, every bird had surely left diseased droppings in the sandbox. But I let my son play so he would not someday end up on the couch in a therapist’s office blaming me for his inevitable neuroses. But when my son opened his mouth to reveal that band-aid, securing a future of mental fitness for him no longer mattered. Who cares about potential head-shrinking when you face the certainty of HIV, hepatitis, or God (and Google) knows what else one might contract by eating a used band-aid. The nurse at our pediatrician – who I’m proud to say recognizes my voice – told me no, they couldn’t squeeze my son in for a rapid HIV test and gave me the same load of crap about building a healthy immune system that everyone insists on explaining to me when I ask them to use the Purell we keep by the front door. My son is now 6. The sandbox still gives me anxiety and I am not yet convinced that rapid blood test was not in order…

There are so many food-related rules to follow when you’re pregnant, and I was very careful. So when I accidentally sipped some O.J. that seemed fizzy and saw that it was not only unpasteurized but also past its expiration date, I immediately called my O.B. (then on speed dial) to repent my sin. When she didn’t return the call within the hour, I called again. When she FINALLY got back to me SHE seemed annoyed. The nerve! She explained that I should only contact the on-call doctor if I was having an emergency. Whatever happened to do no harm? If the life of my unborn fetus and spoiled orange juice doesn’t constitute an emergency, I’m not sure what does.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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