I had a doctor tell me recently that I was becoming quite the “Doctor Mom.” Although he said this to be funny, I knew at that moment I had landed squarely in the camp of moms who think they know everything because they have access to Google.
I admit it. I am that mom. My husband loves to browse through my search history, which usually goes something like this: fever, rash, contagious rash, dangerous rash, death by rash.
Yes, I am a bit of a freak-out when it comes to my children’s health. I jump from cold to life-threatening illness quickly. Usually I can placate myself, wait out the fever and avoid the 2 a.m. call to the doctor.
But in the last year, I have become the “Doctor Mom” that most doctors hate to see coming through the door. My daughter got a series of mysterious bumps on her leg last year that never went away. They itched so badly that she essentially scratched all her skin off if I didn’t apply steroid cream around the clock.
Nine months, three doctors, one biopsy and one visit to a dermatology panel at the National Institute of Health later, we still didn’t have an answer. Several doctors passed us off to other doctors. One doctor told me that she might just be a “rashy kid.” Is that the technical term, doctor?
So when I met with my most recent doctor, I had just about given up hope that the medical community could help us. My daughter was miserable and so was I. But this doctor was different. When I pulled out my list of what I thought her bumps could be, he didn’t scoff. He didn’t dismiss me because I don’t have a medical degree. He went through each one and explained why it couldn’t be that one or why it might be this one.
After talking with me and performing a biopsy, he gave me what I so desperately wanted: an answer. Basically, she is allergic to insect bites and her body is still reacting to initial bites from last summer. While she will continue to struggle, at least it is an answer.
I can stop Googling her symptoms. I can stop staying up at night worrying and feeling like I can’t help my child. I can stop feeling like the crazy mom who is determined something is hurting her child. This doctor’s five minutes of sincere concern and attention made all the difference.
My experience has made me both love and hate doctors. I hate the ones who discredited me as an overly neurotic mother. And I love the ones who showed love to us by listening, worrying with me and believing that as a mother, I actually might have some intuition about my child — even if I am just “Doctor Mom.”
Have you ever felt like you had to be the “Doctor Mom”? Did the way doctors treated you and your child make a difference?