Aug 4, 2009

A hospital stay teaches me my purpose in my life: To be my child's advocate

I just spent the last 18 hours in the emergency room and hospital with one of the boys, who's being monitored following some substantial blood loss due to another bloody nose. As I sat in the ER digesting the news that he'd have to be admitted, I realized that I had one purpose in life: to be my child's best advocate.

Partly, my sense of purpose was due to being confident that I would be good at it. My training as a lawyer and advocate make me particularly well suited for this situation, even if I don't have a deep understanding of the medical issues. Doctors are pretty good at breaking things down into layman's terms, so I had a pretty good understanding of what the problem was. And being an attorney means I'm good at asking questions, finding answers, and being persistent and aggressive (in a nice way) when warranted.

I realize that this has happened before, just not so starkly. Since one of the boys was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy, I have reacted fiercely when I've perceived any kind of danger lurking in a new food. I've pestered the pediatrician with all kinds of questions, and even made him find out if there are any desensitizing clinical trials going on locally. (Unfortunately, there are none.) And a couple of years ago, when the lead paint recalls were overwhelming, I convinced the pediatrician to let me get my older son's blood tested for lead.

Maybe it's because these fiercely protective feelings are rooted in evolution, when the offspring who got their parents to care about them survived best, but I've never felt so strongly that I was put on this earth to accomplish a specific task.

Right now, I'm feeling particularly grateful that we don't appear to be dealing with anything especially serious, while other patients at the hospital are handling major health crises. And I'm very grateful for the wonderful medical care we've gotten - all of the doctors and nurses have been terrific, and the standard of care has been incredibly high. I'm sure we'll be paying for it with a massive bill in the end, but it will be worth every penny.

Needless to say, posting will be light here for a while.


Denise Mall said...

Wow, I know exactly how your feeling. My little man had a head injury from a fall and blood was everywhere. I don't think my blood pressure slowed for at least 24 hours. It is odd but that increased my awareness of everything and everyone as I watched over my son. I've been in the hospital, but never noticed everything - till it came to protecting my baby. It is still very clear. I probably would have had a stroke if he had to stay for an extended period.

Hope all is well.

Kris said...

Hey Cathy - hope Tyler's okay. It sounds like you're the best advocate he could possibly have.

Camille said...

Persistent and aggressive...nicely. :-) It definitely is a handy tool especially when it comes to docs who sometimes forget we don't all understand what is going on!

I hope Tyler feels better soon and you are able to go on with life as regularly scheduled. Meanwhile, enjoy the extra cuddle time!

Kelly said...

Tyler is in great hands with you as his advocate.

I hope things get sorted out quickly.

Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

Andrea @ said...

Oh my gosh, I hope he is OK!!!

I know what you mean about the child advocate thing though. Our boys have nut allergies too and I am his advocate everywhere we go! Some parents don't really get that it could kill him. I don't mind being the voice to share to protect his life!! That's why God gave him to me!!

I hope he gets to feeling better!!

Mercedes said...

Hi Cathy,

I really pray your son feels better soon. I am also glad to hear you are taking a proactive role in his care. More parents need to becoem aware that they can question a Drs opinion and prod for answers.
My thoughts are with you and your son and family.


CAV said...

And I am sure you are teaching your son how to be an advocate for others and for you if your should ever need it! My parents taught me...and I am currently watching out for my Dad had a stroke recently...just like they watched out for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your son is feeling better.

I would also like to mention as an FYI that since you were admitted from the ER you shouldn't owe any copays for the ER visit & those ER bills should roll into the hospital per diem portion. Most people don't realize this & don't ask for their ER copays back which can be costly & the hospitals don't normally send refunds unless you ask for it.

Best wishes to your family for a quick recovery.