I am going to invent a patch that you apply to your childs arm and it will then tell you what is wrong with them.
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - You child has a virus, fluids/rest/Tylenol.
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - Head ache Tyl/cold rag to forehead/back of neck
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - Pulled muscle in left groin
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - teething - 12 year old molars
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - puke alert! GET A BUCKET
Apply patch: wait 30 seconds look at it - CALL 911
My son is sick.
Oh, I know all the signs to look for that warrants a 911 call or a frantic "off to the ER/urgent care we go"
But, I as a parent, could use some help for the other stuff.
When JUR was young and his speech delay was at its worse. I couldn't communicate with him.
I could never get confirmation from him if he was understanding the things I was teaching him. He never (that I know of) tried to tell me he was not feeling well. I had to watch for symptoms. And sometimes even then, he would act as if nothing was wrong. Just recently he was teething, growing in his HUGE 12 year old molars and not a peep out of him, no "oh my mouth hurts today" or anything, just the depositing of each baby molar at my desk as they were pulled out. Its like he has some disconnect to pain and the ability to communicate it.
Last week he had a resurfacing of mumbled speech.
Since he has a history of not being able (or willing?) to share what is going on, I noted the behavior and began watching for other symptoms. Problems cropped up at school so I got proactive and backed up his bed time, added more protein to his meals, listened a little closer to him. Scheduled a doctors appt to check on his GERD and insomnia issues to see if there is anything safe to give him now that he is older.
Last Thursday he awoke tired and exhausted as usual. He mumbled something I couldn't hear, so I rubbed his back and repeated that it was time to get up.
He grimaced and repeated clearer "My side hurts"
"Which side?" I asked, as the Dr in me instantly diagnosed him with appendicitis.
"Right side" he moaned. "Right here."
Now I have to decide...is this a child who doesn't want to go to school, or could he possibly be really ill.
Wished I had those patches invented already.
(I know what you are thinking, You just said he doesn't communicate pain to you. Sounds like he just did...which is my point exactly here. When he does this, I can't tell if he is really reporting something, which would be totally out of character for him, or just pulling my leg to get out of going to school.)
I choose to error on the side of caution. I had him sleep in. At 8:00 am he got up and milled about. I made him go to the bathroom and eat a good breakfast. The pain seemed to subside, and by 8:45 he was playing on the computer.
I made him get dressed and took him to school.
All the while wondering...am I doing the right thing? Or should I be taking him to the ER to be evaluated for appendicitis. I'm going to feel really bad if it IS appendicitis and I made him go to school.
He came home that afternoon and proceeded to gallop about rough housing with the neighbor boy. Guess I made the right call.
So today (Saturday), he starts with chills and a high fever and puking. His side no longer hurts.But its in the back of my mind. He somehow didn't catch the Noro-virus when the rest of us had it a short while back. Not to mention there is a rash of other crud circulating about the school.
Am I missing something? Am I allowing my fears of catastrophic illness cloud my judgement on how to take care of my son? Gosh parenting is really hard sometimes. I make mistakes. I don't always know what to do.
I know when to call 911. Just ask my farm kids, I called it twice while raising them. I would do that without hesitation for my kids. Any of my kids.
I have to get working on that patch...that is an invention I am sure a LOT of parents could use.
Until them I will sleep lightly listening to every move my son makes all night.
Morning update - after 103-104 temp all night he awoke as if nothing had happened and was ready for Popsicle His temp this morning is 102. On the mend I hope.
Evening update: He is eating small bites, temp still 102 more active and talkative tonight. He won't take anything for the fever, the children's tyl makes his stomach hurt. So lots of Popsicle and water and cool rags on pressure points to help.
No rashes, snotty nose, diarrhea, chest congestion/cough, sore throat, no pain anywhere...just a high fever.