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.

4 comments:

deleise said...

Oh yeah, I love a good positive strep test! Do you want me to stop cheering when you bring one in?:) I think it is because I know that my child is only going to be miserable for 24 more hours, instead of watching them face one of those dreaded 2 week mystery viruses.

I know they will make it through fine, but it is normal to want them to feel better asap, isn't it?

Also, in defense of my love of the "sure thing diagnosis," you know we are hardly ever sick, so the overuse of antibiotics isn't usually a concern for me. If we used more, I may have a different stance on it.

911DOC said...

doc,
thanks for stopping by our blog. your post here reminded me of this one that i put up a while back...
cheers

http://docsontheweb.blogspot.com/2006/04/what-do-you-mean-my-child-is-not-sick.html

Dean said...

We had a similar problem with our (then 1 year old) daughter last summer. She was getting recurring 104+ fevers that would last for three or four days, disappear for a few days, then come back.

Overall, she had these fevers for 4months total... a very scary time. Luckily they were controllable with tylenol and ibuprofen.

We eventually decided it must be a virus, but after reading some of the things that could cause a fever like that, I was thrilled not to have a solid diagnosis.

Christie said...

Sometimes I think you must have our charts sitting open when you blog!

Deleise is right...we like to know our estimated time of recovery. Can we claim it as a mother's right??? :)

And yes, lets talk about those antibiotics. :) We may actually be in for one later this week...Avery is saying her ears hurt. :(