As much as we don’t want to be the parents that take our kids to the doctor every time they have a runny nose (aka: all the time), we also don’t want to assume our suddenly sicky-poo kiddo is A-OK if they really aren’t. Hence starts the Illness Conundrum. When do you break down and take your little one to the Doc?
Step 1: Kid wakes up with a temperature. Runny nose, maybe a slight cough. You break out the Children’s Tylenol and cross your fingers it will be a 24-hour-type-thing.
Step 2: Fever and runny nose continue for the next few days, but no other symptoms. You dread heading into the doctor for them to tell you it’s just a virus…so you decide to wait it out another couple days.
Step 3: 4 or 5 days go by and your little one still has the symptoms of a “common cold”, but then again it has been 4 or 5 days with a slight temperature and you’re starting to wonder if pumping them full of Tylenol is doing much to help.
Step 4: Spend hours on the computer on WebMD or Google terrifying yourself with the worst case scenario. Find one account of a runny noise leading to paralysis and start seriously judging your parenting decisions.
Step 5: Call the doctor first thing in the morning to set up an appointment. Even though the nurse on the phone tells you that there is a cold going around and pushing fluids and fever reducers is probably the only thing you can do to treat the symptoms and keep them comfortable.
Step 6: Take time off work to go to the Doc. Spend 30 minutes in the waiting room, then another 30 in the tiny exam room waiting for the Doc to actually see you. Try to keep your child occupied in said tiny room, which is also 40 degrees and has nothing but ripped books and medical equipment as entertainment.
Step 7: Somewhere between calling the Doc to make the appointment and arriving at the Doctor’s office, your previously feverish kiddo has suddenly rallied. They are acting perfectly normal and now has so much energy you wonder if they have a secret stash of espresso in their room.
Step 8: Doc attempts to do an exam, whilst your child screams and kicks away the stethoscope or anything else the Doc tries to use on them. You attempt to secure your kids arms and legs so the Doc can see into their mouth and ears, only to lead to louder screaming. And you’re pretty sure you’ve now scarred your kid for life about ever going to the Doctor.
Step 9: Doc finally gets a good enough look at all the pieces and parts and, surprise surprise, decides that your kid has a virus. And guess what? There’s a whole lotta nothing you can do about it. “Let it run its course”, “Keep them comfortable with Tylenol for the fever”, and “if any other symptoms present, bring them back in.”
Step 10: Pay your $30 copay and cross your fingers that this trip to the Doctor has scared the “sick” out of your kiddo…only to arrive home where you discover your little munchkin’s fever has miraculously reappeared as if upon returning home The Sickness has reattached itself to its host child.
Finally you resolve to leave the computer off, continue pushing fluids and increase the cuddles. Maybe you can use pure snuggle power to force The Sickness away.