Thursday, February 23, 2012


Pg 197 Xray of Adult hand
Pg 197 Xray of Adult hand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last night I took my son to the emergency room.  You know the one, the juggler.  Two weeks ago he was running, fell, and then landed on his hand.  Nothing was poking out and he was able to move it so we applied ice, gave him Ibuprofen, and went about life.  A week later he left the same hand in a door jam while he closed the door.  Still, after ice and TLC he seemed fine.  Fast forward to last night and he can't practice guitar because applying pressure on the frets hurts too much....

You can imagine the string of bad names I called myself.  What kind of mother lets her child's injury go untended for two weeks?  How many doctors are going to give me the stink eye when I take him to the emergency room (I called his pediatrician and he agreed that x-rays were the only way to tell what was going on)?  So we trotted off to the ER, just in time for the evening rush.  This is not about ER drama or frustration though.  The staff were all great and we were even offered free sandwiches by a Pastoral Care intern!

This is about self-doubt.  My first instinct was to trust my gut and say that he needed time to rest and heal.  It turns out I was right.  The x-rays came back and showed healthy and whole digits.  They did stabilize his fingers with a nicer splint than what I had in the first aid kit and referred us to a Pediatric Bone Doctor/Surgeon!  That's right, they told me he was ok and then referred me to a specialist.  Here's how the conversation went,

Doctor: "So x-ray doesn't show any breaks.  We're going to put it in a splint and have you follow up with a specialist in a week.  Sometimes in young kids their bones are still growing  (something about a growth plate) so everything doesn't show up on a regular x-ray."
Mom: "So what will the specialist recommend for treatment if there is some trauma to the growth plate?"
Doctor:  "They'll put it in a splint and have him rest it more."
Mom:  "So he'll go to a specialist and have a fancy x-ray and then be told to do the same thing that you just did?"
Doctor: "Right."

How can we ever be expected to trust our guts when it comes to our own kids?  The conversation above is not made up and the entire message was given with a straight face, on the doctor's part, at least.  I don't know what I'm really trying to say here except this - do your best.  Sometimes we make the wrong call but even when we're right, there will be someone dropping little bits of doubt in you. 

I don't plan on taking him to the Pediatric Bone doctor (unless someone gives me some good reasons) but I'm sure I'll be wondering the rest of the month if I made the right decision.
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. You hit on one of my biggest parenting struggles...the alure and eventual paralysis of expertise. When Charity was first learning to write I remember hesitating to help her because what if I taught her wrong. Do you start your 'B' at the top or the bottom? Does it matter? Will I "ruin" her if I teach her the wrong way.

    We have gotten more and more experts on raising, healing, and teaching children that sometimes it shuts out or paralyzes the lived expertise of parents. I have to constantly remind myself that I know my kids best and while I don't have an MD, JD, Phd, or EdD I am the expert on my kids.

    1. That's exactly right! You are the expert on your own kids. That doesn't mean others can't teach us really good things. We just shouldn't set our own opinions to the side and defer to others all the time.