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Is it strange that I care what Bear’s doctor thinks of me?

I have internalized this fear, since childhood most likely, that unless I have an illness with a tangible symptom that leaves no doubt to the observer that something is amiss, that doctors will think that I am making up my problems.  It doesn’t help that the primary issues that I have been afflicted with have few tangible signs:  migraines (oh, you have a headache, people will ask?), polycystic ovarian syndrome (for me, a diagnosis based on the exclusion of other causes), and during pregnancy, unexplained bleeding (that was, well, unexplained).

Poor Bear is now bearing the ill effects of my insecurity.  I have no doubt that the response I received from her pediatrician when I called last week about my concerns regarding her digestive issues would have irked anyone.  But, a small part of me wonders if I am dwelling unnecessarily on issues that are not that big of a deal – that other parents wouldn’t think twice about – and therefore, the doctor’s annoyance with me was justified.  This said, Bear is clearly uncomfortable.  She beat on her belly the other night, right before we found floaters in the tub and after refusing dinner.  She wakes up from deep sleep to pull her little legs up to her belly.  She has bowel movements all day long.  And, of course, she reacted quite spectacularly and frighteningly to soy milk.  My mothering instincts, fledgling though they may be, tell me that something is not right, even if the problem is something minor, like consuming too much  milk at one time.

I took Bear to a new pediatrician today.  This doctor actually saw her in the hospital after she was born.  He is famously laid-back and also famously personable, and he was very nice to Bear today.  He did not seem overly concerned about Bear’s trouble with milk, and despite my continual back-pedaling and apologizes, he ordered a blood test so we can uncover any food allergies that she might have.

Although, this test is not exact and will not answer the question of whether Bear is intolerant to certain foods, it is a starting point.  And, I appreciate that, even if I am completely wrong about the cause of Bear’s symptoms, at least the doctor was willing to suggest something constructive.  Now, if I can just let go of my concern that he thinks that I am going to be a problem parent so that my idiosyncracies don’t make me one.

 

I will apologize upfront if this post turns into a gory discussion of poopy.  That is not my intention.  But for about three weeks, Bear has been having strange and frequent bowel movements.  I will spare you the details, but this change coincided with the culmination of her transition to whole cow’s milk.  Once we had stopped nursing and stopped giving her bottles with formula (which was also cow’s milk-based, by the way) and started giving her bottles of only cow’s milk, her trouble started.  And, nearly every time I change her diaper, I see trouble staring back at me.

Last week, I called her pediatrician’s office about my suspicions that Bear may not be tolerating milk well, and after describing Bear’s symptoms to the nurse, who later described them to the doctor, their consensus was that Bear had a virus.  I was told to call back in a few days if things didn’t clear up.

Today – one week later – I called again.  I described the same symptoms to a different nurse, who apparently had another discussion about them with the doctor.  Again, the consensus was that Bear had a virus.  This time, the nurse, who kept referring to Bear as “he,” told me not to worry too much about this, offered the suggestion that I cut back on the amount of milk that I give to “him” and told me to buy a probiotic to help replenish the good bacteria in Bear’s gut that this mystery virus had cleared out.  I did not share with her that I’d had a similar discussion last summer with a nurse in her office about probiotics and that the nurse told me then that Bear’s pediatrician never recommended probiotics.

At nap time, I decided to give Bear a little soy milk to see if she would tolerate it better than cow’s milk, andin hopes that we could go a few hours without a dirty diaper.  She drank down about four ounces and rolled onto her side for a nap, so I carried her to her crib and left her to sleep.

After a few minutes, I heard coughing.  Then, more coughing.  And a few minutes after that, Bear began crying hysterically.  I walked into her room our found her sitting in the corner of her crib covered with white vomit.  She continued coughing and produced strings of thick mucous.  After a bath, I dressed her again – still crying – and she continued coughing up mucous.  She puked again, and then I noticed that her face was covered with a red rash.  She continued coughing and began pulling at her tongue.

I REALLY did not want to call her pediatrician’s office in light of the helpful response that I had received early in the afternoon, but I was concerned that my daughter was having a real allergic reaction, and I was on the verge of putting her into the car and taking her to the hospital.  A different nurse called me back, and I quickly explained the issue, including all that I had been told by the other nurse earlier in the day.  This nurse agreed that it sounded like Bear was having an allergic reaction and asked concerned questions about her possible lactose intolerance as well.  She agreed to call me back after talking with the doctor.

When I received a call back, it was the same nurse but now with a completely different demeanor.   She told me that the doctor said that she had “dealt with the problem this morning” and advised me to try the soy milk again this evening to observe the response (like my daughter is a science experiment).  When I asked if she was certain that I would not be sending my daughter into anaphylactic shock, she tersely answered, “I’m just repeating what the doctor told me.”

I feel badly enough that I inflicted the soy disaster on Bear in the first place, and I am in no mood to do it again tonight.  We did offer her a little (with Benadryl in hand), but she refused to take anything more than a sip.  Smart girl.  Tomorrow, I’ll be taking her in to visit the doctor to see this issue through, and then I’ll be in the market for a new pediatrician.