Monday, March 12, 2012

Under or Over Reactions?

Let me just say that parenthood for all its perks and joyous offerings is one of the scariest responsibilities imaginable.  You sort of understand that before claiming your title as mom or dad but you never truly understand its full weight until a child is in desperate need of you and your decisions to be the right ones.

Take last night for example.  My daughter had been complaining of itchy, watery eyes.  As experienced parents we didn't immediately worry, we just told her to stop rubbing them and we gave her a few drops of Clear Eyes.  By 8PM (also known as bedtime) her eyes were full of mucus and swollen the size of golf balls. 

"Houston.  We have a bigger problem than we first thought."

When kids are sick or injured you have three choices:

1. The pediatrician - who only charges a $30 co-pay but is never open at the dire hour that stuff like this happens. 

2. Urgent Care Facilities - who charge you $75 for the convenience of being willing to see you at odd hours.

3. The ER - who charges you $250 for being the only 24 hour choice for everything from a sniffle to a gaping wound.

Last night options 1 & 2 were unavailable as every place we called or drove to was closed.  So we had a choice.  We could pay $250 and be seen immediately (possibly getting Mackenzie immediate relief and us immediate calm) or we could try to get through the night and be seen by her normal doctor in the morning.  Two hundred fifty dollars is nothing to blink at (pardon the pun) if you know your child is in dangerous need of medical attention.  But two hundred fifty dollars is a TON of money if your child only has an allergic reaction to pollen or perhaps pink eye.

Our difficult decision ended up being to give her some Benedryl, a couple of drops of left over pink eye medicine from when Michael had the same affliction, and to take her to the doctor this morning. It turns out that was the perfect decision (thanks in part to our good RN friend, Alicia) since pink eye ended up being the culprit.  But had we believed Google or even our own fears last night, it could have been anything from simple eye irritation induced by pollen to a serious eye infection necessitating immediate medical emergency measures.

It seems that poor decisions are most often made by our over and under reactions.  However, when you don't always know what you are dealing with, its often impossible to know what the right measure of reaction needs to be.  Lots of prayers for guidance were said last night and I believe He was faithful in leading us to call our friend and to feel at peace with the decision that was ultimately determined.

Happy trails in your parenting adventures!


Melissa said...

Good work! As I was reading the first part, I was thinking to myself "vigamox!". We haven't suffered from pink eye recently, but keep it with us even if we go out of town. Always have a nurse friend, too. My neighbor gets lots of calls from lots of us!

I feel very sympathetic as the first night Lauren spent at Nana's on her week out of town she was crying and wouldn't go to sleep because her ear hurt. Dad was asking if they should take her to the ER, but I thought Motrin and Claritin should ease the pressure enough to get her through the night. By morning, it was no big deal. I'm with you...avoid the emergency room at all costs, and mostly because of the cost!