Take Two Of These And Never Call Me Again


I have a complicated relationship with doctors when it comes to my kids.

It’s complicated in the sense that my instincts about my children’s health tend to be the opposite of “correct.” There are visits to the doctor when nothing is wrong, and visits are delayed when they are horribly ill. This is not intentional. No, this is all the result of thoughtful decision-making on my part, which makes the question of when to call the doctor all the more stressful for me.

Image via SXC

Image via SXC

Here’s what it looks like inside my head:

“Gosh! They seem really sick. Should I call the doctor?”

“No, you idiot. They’re just sick. Give them some Tylenol and turn on My Little Pony. They’ll be fine.”

“But I’m always wrong about this stuff. What if this is the time they have pneumonia and I am the asshole parent who says, ‘Oh, I just thought it was a regular cold! Aaaaaaaaaand now my kid is hospitalized.'”

“Ok. Instead you’ll be the parent who says, ‘Doctor, I am so worried about my little pumpkin. She’s been sneezing and coughing! HELP HER!'”

That’s what it’s like. Every time.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

  •  Fevers

When the kids were two, they would develop these ridiculous night time fevers — I’m talking 104, 106 degrees. I would bundle them up and drive to the ER, where their temperature would be a toasty 99. Fuckers.

  • $300 for a band aid and Neosporin

We went to the garden store last summer and bought a small metal watering can for the kids to use in the garden. We let Ben hold it on the drive home, because, well, what’s the worst that could happen? He could stick his finger down the narrow spout and pull out a bloody mess? Oh yeah…that.

I saw blood and heard screaming, and the emergency flares in my head were lit. I made Mike pull over so I could ride in the backseat with Ben who I swore had cut his finger down to the bone. When the doctor saw us in the ER an hour or so later, she took one look and said, “Oh, okay. Yup. That’s a cut.” We were sent home with a band-aid and some Neosporin and a bill for $300.

I’m a jackass.

  • I’m sure it’s nothing serious…
Mommy told me to "shake it off."

Mommy told me to “shake it off.” Image via SXC.

We were over at my in-laws last summer when Ben started playing around on their elliptical machine. I asked him to get down, and he obediently did — by stepping off the elliptical and onto an exercise ball. He came crashing down into their stack of hand weights and screamed for an uncommonly long time. We said, “He’s just scared. It was a big fall.” After all, he could still move his arm! Isn’t that THE sign that it isn’t broken? It must just be a really bad bruise!

Or, maybe he broke it.

That’s right. Five hours later when we were back at home eating dinner, I noticed that Ben had stopped using his left arm. Off to the ER we went, where we discovered that he had broken his arm near the shoulder.

“Hey, son. Sooooooooo…sorry about that time we didn’t know you had a broken bone for half the day, and couldn’t understand why you screamed whenever we picked you up. Bet that hurt like a sonofabitch, huh? Tell you what — you can have ‘the rough nurse’ put in my catheter when I’m at the nursing home. We’re square now, right?”

  • And just last week…

Remember how I said that Megan had a double eye and ear infection? Yeah. I might have forgotten to mention that I totally sent her to school that morning. You’re welcome, fellow pre-school parents!

The day before she said she wasn’t feeling well, so I let her stay home. She then spent the whole day behaving completely normally and not the least bit sick. Feeling like a sucker, I told her she was going to school the next day. And she did. Till 11:00, when her teacher called me and said that Megan seemed very ill.


I picked her up, and noticed that her color looked a little off. She looked like a panda, but only around the eyes. And only if their eyes were pink. Luckily, one of my sisters is a physician who I can (and do) harass for free medical advice. I called her up and told her what I was seeing. She said, “I’d go to the doctor.”

This was excellent news, because now I had someone to blame in case the doctor came back and said, “Yeah…it’s called a ‘cold.’ What kind of doctor did you say your sister is?”

Well, off we went to the pediatrician. Needless to say, he took one look in her ears and delivered the infecto doble verdict. Then he said, “And you see all this goop in her eyes?”

"I am judging you. Hard."

“I am judging you. Hard.” Image via SXC.

Huh? This “what” in her “who?” No, I didn’t notice, because apparently I try not to look my children straight in the eyes if I can help it. It’s bad luck.


So now I don’t trust myself AT ALL to diagnose illness in my children. They’ll pretty much have to lay down and start singing “Tears in Heaven” before I’ll take them to the ER again. Or, maybe I’ll go the other way and we’ll be at the doctor a few times a week and everyone will think I have Munchausen By Proxy. Either way, it should continue to be a source of much confusion and many Google searches for years to come.

Author: admin

Meredith likes to write the funny at her blog, Pile of Babies (http://www.pileofbabies.com).


  1. Agreed. I never seem to make the right call. I tried to self-treat a wound on one of my kids last summer, because I didn’t want to be the dummy who took “just a cut” into the doctor’s office. Didn’t get better… didn’t get better… finally took him in. Antibiotic-resistant staph infection — resulting in my asking the doctor, “IS IT GOING TO EAT HIS LEG OFF??”
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  2. When I was about 9 or 10 years old my thumb got stuck when I closed the car door (back when car doors were very heavy). It hurt so much I yanked it out while the door was closed on it. I screamed, a lot. It was a bloody mess. My parents spent three days telling me to stop crying about it before they finally took me to the ER, where they discovered a very nasty break in my thumb. They got a huge lecture from the doctor, in front of me, which was something I’d never expect to hear at that age.

    So don’t feel badly. Three days of bones completely separated from each other is now the bar you have to beat before you can get told off in the ER.

  3. I fell in my aunts driveway on Memorial day when I was 7.. I screamed and cried and screamed some more. My aunt (a nurse) looked at my arm and said it was fine, her husband (A DOCTOR) said it was fine… THE NEXT DAY, my parents finally decided maybe they were wrong… ER, wrist was broken, I STILL hold it over their heads. 🙂

    As for my kid… it’s ALWAYS pneumonia… Always. Only hospitalized for it three times though, I can now catch it before he needs a hospital lol.

  4. It’s like you live inside my head! I crowd sourced Facebook today to try to decide whether to take Sausage to the doctor. He might or might not be getting an ear infection. It might just be teething and getting over a cold. The consensus is that I should take him in, just in case. But I anticipate the doctor telling me that it’s just teething, and he’s moody because he’s a toddler, and giving me that look that says, “You really don’t know anything about children, do you?”

  5. “She looked like a panda, but only around the eyes” takes the cake! I can’t read any of this without laughing and I feel a little bad because it’s at the expense of your kids. I think the funniest part about it though is that I can totally see these scenarios playing out in my future.

    I think it’s always going to be a question of ‘do I take them, or don’t I?’ for me. Maybe the issue has become more to avoid unnecessary medical costs we wait it out…or else it might be reasonable to err on the side of caution.
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  6. Oh, please… I WORK in medicine and I’m the same way. Twice my son (who is a bit over-dramatic to be honest) has broken something only to be told by me, “if it still hurts in the morning, I’ll take you to the doctor, now go to bed!”.

    Both times? Broken something-or-other.

    Now, if it hurts, we go. And guess what? It’s NEVER anything. A bruise, if that.

    You can’t win for losing with kids and doctors.
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  7. I can so relate to this post!! I hate it when my kids get sick, mainly because I never know if I should take them to the doctor or not. Oh and, when I was 6, I fell off a dresser and broke my wrist. TWO days later, I was still crying that it hurt, so when my mom took my baby brother in for his well-child checkup, she asked the doctor to take a peek at my wrist. I came home with a bright pink cast.
    And then there was the time when I TOLD my mom I didn’t feel good before church, but she made me go anyways. I threw up in the hymnal. She was mortified and we got a free hymnal to take home.
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