Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dr. Mom

Yesterday Boy#4 had his college physical. I didn't go with him--there's something about being 18 years old and 6'3" that just screams "Oh, yes, Mom! Please go to my doctor's appointment with me!"

I lost track of the number of doctor appointments I'd go to with my children when the first one was still in utero. They've been treated for the normal things (colds, sprains, mysterious rashes) and for some pretty darned scary things (one broken femur, one congenital heart issue, two hospital-worthy asthmas).

I was the Dr. Mom of our house, and it was my job to keep track of symptoms.

"He started being short of breath yesterday and has had three breathing treatments, but didn't start retracting until midnight and that's when we decided to come in. If we could avoid FancyMed that would be great because it gives him insomnia."

Of course, I wasn't infallible. (You notice there are only three pink immunization records in the photo. Darned if I know where the fourth crucial set of documentation is.) But one of the highest compliments I ever received as a parent came from our beloved pediatrician.

Boy#3 had a rough start in life and the result was multiple hospitalizations. It makes a parent jumpy. One day, when I had taken him to the doctor because he, I apologized to Dr. H as he was charting the (non)symptoms.

"I hate to waste your time but I just have the feeling something's wrong."

Dr. H stopped writing and put down his pen to look me straight in the face.

"Don't ever apologize for asking me to check something out. You have good instincts."

Yesterday, just a few hours after my non-appearance at the college physical, I was in another doctor's office with my 88-year-old mother-in-law. She's recovering from a broken femur, and not recovering from the non-recoverable symptoms of having lived nearly nine decades. I didn't really think she needed to go to the doctor, so in spite of my love and admiration for the mother of my husband, I was mentally tapping my foot in irritation and thinking of the report I needed to be editing at work.

It's a whole new, and humbling, role for me. I can advise, and give opinions, and heaven knows I do plenty of both those things. I can be the remember-er of medical instructions and the communicator of diagnoses with other family members. But I cannot be Dr. Mom, because that's not what Mother-in-Law wants, even if it's what I think she needs.

Boy#4 got home from his physical with Band-Aids on each arm after booster shots, and told me, lip quivering melodramatically, "...and you weren't there to hold my hand and tell me it would only hurt for a moment."

Dr. Mom is retired.

1 comment:

  1. Wrong Sara, doctor mom never gets to retire and it seems worse with grand-babies. You'll have to let me know if is the nursing experience or just the mom one. I have learned to play dumb, "I don't know that is what that is what your doctor is for."