Sunday, April 26, 2015

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News and Answer All These Questions Also

Colette's nine-month check up isn't until next month (nine months! what?!), but April is World Health Month and the American Recall Center (a resource for drug and medical device recalls) contacted me because they noticed my "passion for a healthy lifestyle."

I'm pretty sure that my passion for a healthy lifestyle must be reflected in my post about how I ought to make myself do a 10 minute core workout every now and again and also maybe walk outside sometimes came up on some kind of google search. I don't know how algorithms work.

But yes, of course, health is important to me. And the health of my kids is hugely important to me, and certainly not something you take for granted after losing a baby. I'm getting better at taking coughs and colds in stride, but I have huge anxiety about fevers. So I decided to see what you guys think about their recommended questions-for-your-doctor.

We've been enormously lucky that our girls have been healthy so far. This has been a huge relief for me because each of my girls started daycare part-time at about 5 months old and I worried about all the germs that live anywhere where little kids hang out. (Side note: If someone can tell me how to get Zuzu to seriously stop putting her finger in her nose and then LICKING IT, I will be eternally grateful because that is so freaking disgusting I can hardly even handle my life when she does it.) I attribute their good health mostly to luck because the other things I do to try to keep them healthy--breastfeeding, serving reasonably nutritious meals, putting DoTerra On Guard essential oil on their feet at night during cold and flu season, singing the ABC's while washing hands--these are things that MANY people do, and the fact is that it doesn't always keep your kid from getting sick.

Zuzu has had only one stomach bug that lasted more than a day, and so far Coco's experience with illness has been limited to two ear infections. Both of her ear infections required antibiotics and she was really great about taking her medicine the first few days and less enthusiastic the last few days. (No idea why! Shouldn't it taste the same?).

Anyway, medicine and little ones is never a fun combination, but before I try to wrestle them into taking medication, there are a few important questions we should be asking:

(1) Exactly how much and how often?

Zuzu was a spitter when it came to medicine, so after we discovered this charming response to our healing efforts, I wanted to know if I had to absolutely make sure she got .5 ml in her belly, or if I should administer .5 ml and not stress out if some dribbled out down her chin or got spit back at me in a demonic fury. If it says "once a day" can I go ahead and give a dose that evening and then start giving it to her each morning? I like to be very specific. For the medications my kids have taken, the timing hasn't been too big of a deal (every 12 hours is pretty easy since that's basically breakfast and bedtime for Coco), but I still have to set a timer on my phone because my brain is useless.

(2) How long does she have to take this?

Until the whole bottle is gone? Or a week and then dispose of what's leftover? I know it's important not to shortchange it even when baby is obviously feeling better. It took about 48 hours on antibiotic for Coco to be totally back to 100% normal, but we kept slogging away with the syringe full of medicine because the doctor instructed us to finish the full regiment of medicine in order to make sure the whole infection was taken care of and wouldn't come back as some kind of raging antibiotic-resistant monster ear infection (obviously a scenario we want to avoid).

(3) What are the side effects?

This is a question that I think is easy to skip because we assume the doctor would just tell you without being asked. When I went in for strep throat I did not want to talk at all, let alone have an extended conversation about potential side effects. But of course I needed to tell them I was breast feeding and make sure there weren't any side effects that could interfere with that. Plus I tend to get queasy if I take medicine on any empty stomach, so I always want to ask about taking it with food and whether a glass of wine is off limits... Inquiring minds want to know.

(4) Have their been any FDA warnings or recalls on this medication?

I confess I haven't actually ever thought to ask this question, which is why I agreed to post these recommended questions here. Because wouldn't you assume if a medicine got recalled, it would not be prescribed? But I guess that's sometimes not the case? So obviously a better-safe-than-sorry situation, right?

I think the real lesson with all of these questions is that even though you should have a solid and trusting relationship with your physician, you always have to be an advocate for yourself and your child.

I still feel terrible for not speaking up when Coco was given the wrong blood test as a teeny baby. People make errors and it's better to come off as high maintenance and full of questions than to not say anything and regret it later. Being polite is important, but if you're uncertain about anything, you should say something. No health care provider should be too busy to walk you through every step in layman's terms. And if a doctor doesn't automatically know the answer to this question, that's a red flag worth investigating!

Other advice? Questions you wished you'd asked? Questions you always ask? Advice for curing nose-picking in contrary two-year-olds?


  1. G is 5 years old and straight up eats her boogers. I can attest threatening to throw up right all over her does not have one bit of an affect on that.

  2. A trick that works to get most of the liquid medicine in, as soon as you stick it in their mouth, blow out quickly in their face and it typically triggers a swallow reflex so it goes down before they can spit it out.

  3. Davis has been picking his nose for years. Let me know if you figure out how to stop it!!

  4. I'll take booger anyday after V picked up a used condom on Tuesday, thinking it was a balloon of course. We saw one at this park last year. Three blocks from my house there is clearly a teenaged sexual rendezvous point, because 1. it's an elementary school and I can't go there and 2. any adult with half a brain would hopefully envision their own child picking up their STD infested filth. I feel dirty. ~M