Sunday, July 20, 2008
But I need to know!
Very often, in the course of a day, a mom will bring a baby who is fussy. Or who has a fever, or isn't sleeping. It's amazing how happy they are when I find something wrong! Or rather, how disappointed they are when I don't. It's better for the child to have an ear infection to explain the problems than it is to have some viral thing without a specific name causing all the trouble. Regardless of the fact that the virus will pass without treatment and the ear infection will likely require antibiotics (for more on this, see future blogs about antibiotic use). Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, my favorite daily devotional, said on July 18 "We command what we are able to explain, consequently it is natural to seek to explain". In this instance, I think his words ring true. An ear infection is a known entity. Viruses are not. Some people will say "it's just a virus" and be happy or disgusted that their child was lucky enough not to get some infection that had a name or a treatment. The truly paranoid, of which there are a growing number, think of all the viruses that strike fear into the hearts of parents, like West Nile virus, or measles or mumps, or HIV, to name a few. A balance between disgust and fear is a reasonable position. It just is interesting that parents, especially closer to the weekend, are happy that their child has a "known" problem, rather than a nebulous one that is not as predictable or treatable, even though their child will live through it and be fine after.