We managed to make it through the holidays even with three sick children and one exhausted mama. Sore throats, congestion, fevers, and coughing invited us to make an unscheduled visit to the after hours clinic on Christmas Eve. I'm not usually one to request antibiotics for my children because I am well aware of the implications for them and for those in our community. I agree with the Pediatricians that antibiotics are not a "cure all" and will actually do nothing for viruses. We've been down this road on may occasions. I had hoped that my pristine track record as a concerned and aware parent would have earned me the courtesy of a call in prescription on Christmas Eve. Wrong!
After speaking with the on-call nurse and explaining my children's symptoms, she agreed to check with the on-call physician regarding a phone-in prescription. I emphasized that I was not one to insist on antibiotics unless I truly believed it was warranted. A call back fifteen minutes later revealed that no matter how competent or responsible I was, there was no way around a visit across town. Never mind that I was also becoming sick and scared to take any antihistamines if I had to drive.
Now I am not ashamed to admit that I channeled my inner cray-cray mommy and almost lost it on the phone with that nurse. I explained that I was severely sleep deprived and just wanted my babies to feel better for Christmas. I had terrible thoughts of ending up in an Emergency Room on Christmas day with three children who had fevers over 103 degrees. The fever thing is what concerned me most since I had been unsuccessful in alleviating this symptom. I know that fevers are the body's way of fighting off an infection and are not as ominous as previously thought. Still...why take any chances.
Now here is the real reason I am writing about this experience. The nurse on the phone was absolutely the best on call resource a tired mother could ever hope to speak with when under duress. She talked me off the ledge of insanity that only someone who has been in that situation could understand. I usually have a tremendous amount of respect for the medical professionals who care for my children. Yet extreme circumstances bring out the unholy in me. I finally accepted that the only way to get the appropriate medications for my children would be to make that appointment. We would have to see another Pediatrician since our regular one was unavailable. I complemented the nurse on call and told her that the only reason I had the strength to get there was because of her calm, reassuring voice and unwavering patience.
Then she told me that the doctor asked her to tell me that just because I came in didn't mean my children would be given antibiotics. I firmly told her to please convey to that doctor that I was prepared to throw down a fight to get the medications needed and that I was not in much of a mood to negotiate that point. I asked her to please share this information with the doctor. Well, she must have done a pretty good job because that doctor's visit went well. The children got the prescriptions they needed and that evening all children began their treatments.
Like I said, I am not usually prone to parental boughts of hysteria. I tolerate quite a lot before I begin to crack. It is times like these that I am grateful for professionals who know how to treat a harried mother of three sick children. I too have been on the other end of the phone helping families through rough times. It was heart warming to receive the caring and concern that elevated that on-call nurse to the Christmas Eve Angel I needed.
During this New Year, each of us may have the opportunity to be that angel to someone in need...a kind word, a smile, a helping hand, a touch of patience...those things are so simple yet can mean the world to someone who is holding on by a thread. At some point each on us experiences hard moments. It's nice when we encounter the positive in others to get us through the challenges.