09 Jul 10 Things your kid’s doctor wants you to know!
There are always going to be times that the internet can’t cut it with a sensible answer. Or even the times where the internet comes up with 23 different answers, some of which involve mixing up a brew under the light of a waning moon. Those are the times that are going to keep you awake at night (especially if you are waiting for just the right moon to appear). For those times, you’re going to need to read this post.
Kids get sick. It’s inevitable. I had no idea that a living organism could produce nearly as much snot as my kids have over the past 4 years. Add in childcare, a cat, siblings and a tendency for eating food from the bin (yeah, my childproofing is still a work in progress) and one or the other will have some form of disease. I’m pretty certain that most of you have the same things going on in your house (possibly not the bin issue, that could just be my kids).
The next step when faced with a germ invasion is often to take them to your family doctor for advice. This is where this post kicks in to help you get the most out of your visits with 10 things we wish you knew.
1. If you are worried, get your child seen
This is not negotiable. Just do it. Doctor’s advice! We would rather see 100 mildly sick kids and not miss the one child with a severe illness. Get an appointment. If your clinic can’t fit you in, ask others nearby or get seen in Emergency. Services like Health Direct (Australia – 1800 022 222) http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/ can point you in the right direction or provide after hours health advice
2. We believe you
We totally know that the kid running around the waiting room and swinging from the curtains was a different child at home with heaps of signs they will never demonstrate on command. Often it is just the distraction of the change in environment or the fact that the paracetamol has kicked in. We trust that you aren’t just hanging out in the waiting room as an alternative to a playground so tell us how they were at home.
3. If your whole family is sick, tell us
Often germs are pretty nifty at sharing themselves around. Much better than your average 2yo is at sharing their favorite toy anyway. If you think others in your family might be coming down with the same thing, let us know in advance – we can have your files ready and waiting and we can block off extra time.
4. If you want a longer appointment, let us know
Sometimes it’s unavoidable. The problem you thought was small ends up being a complex issue. We understand completely. If you have heaps of forms to fill in, or have a few issues to discuss, make a longer appointment. Some clinics only have 6 minute appointments unless you book otherwise. Mine isn’t one of them, I have far too much of a tendency to talk to keep to 6 mins or less! Ask your clinic how long their standard appointments actually are. We hate running late nearly as much as you hate waiting for us to call you in.
5. Don’t forget your own health
Family doctors are exactly what they say they are – for families. That includes looking after the people who keep the whole show running (that’s you I’m talking about). Haven’t had a check-up? Overdue for a pap? Get on to it ASAP.
6. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you’ve tried
I’m in the business of not judging. The internet is well known for coming up with solutions and if none of them work, we know people turn to friends, family, the checkout operator at the supermarket and really, anyone with a pulse for advice, because apart from spreading germs, people are also really good at spreading unsolicited advice that has worked for them. Some things work, some are harmless, some aren’t and some can make any treatments we are planning dangerous so let us know. If you have already seen another doctor, let us know as well so we don’t double up on anything.
7. Tell us what you are worried about
Worried the rash might end up being meningitis? That the lump might be cancer? Let us know what has really worried you about what is going on so that we can either reassure you that it is something else that we’ve already ruled out or make sure that it isn’t what is actually going on. We see lots of kids, but we don’t see your kid lots, so you may pick up on subtle changes that we can’t see in a once off consult. Telling us will always help.
8. When you google, do it right
I like to google diseases sometimes to open my eyes up to all the crappy websites that are out there promising to take all your money and give you chemically processed hot air in return. It’s pretty scary. Talk to your doctor about patient info sites that are worthwhile, accurate and NOT run by giant drug companies. Contrary to popular belief, we are not in the business of selling drugs and we want you to be making decisions based on the right information.
9. Trust me, I’m a doctor
Worried after reading this that this is not the way you’ve been treated by your doctor or that you haven’t felt listened to? You need to have trust in the person you are trusting with your kids, so ask friends in the area for family doctors with a special interest in children’s health.
10. Your kids keep me up at night too and I’m not even annoyed about it.
When kids are really sick, as doctors, we worry too. We worry about the same things as you do and work towards making sure that the worst case scenario is something you never have to face, even if that keeps me awake long beyond my usual nocturnal child induced wakeup calls. The one thing I want you to know is that I care about your children and I really hope that when my kids see a doctor, that their doctor feels the same way.
About the Author
Kate from mymOtherlife is a traveller, doctor, mum and up for nomination in the world’s worst housekeeper award. and is claiming it as immunity building. mymOtherlife is relocating from Australia to Spain in 2015 in order to try and childproof life in the opposite hemisphere.