Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Doctor's Orders: Take a Chill Pill


George was positive Claire was cross-eyed for a while. A trip to a specialist assured us she was the picture of health. Surely, our pediatrician referred us to the eye doctor more to allay parental fears than out of concern for Claire’s sight. Dr. Gillespie’s been in medicine long enough to know that a parent’s anxiety is best assuaged by keeping him or her busy.

At each well visit to the doctor’s office, we hear a non-stop string of: “She looks fine”, “I don’t see a problem there”, “Why don’t we check to be on the safe side”. Our doc remains upbeat, despite our endless paranoia about our daughter’s health.

I imagine that someday Dr. Gillespie will reach a breaking point and respond, “What are you crazy?” instead. That’s because, even as I’m relaying my question, I know I sound like a crazy person. I just can’t seem to help myself.

George and I can divide the quality of our obsessions into two distinct categories. George is preoccupied with Claire’s physical health. Why is the skin on her feet peeling? (Try a little olive oil). What are the bumps on the back of her neck? (It’s prickly heat). Are you sure she isn’t wheezing? (Her breathing sounds fine).

I have a desperate need for Claire to meet all of the appropriate milestones exactly, to the minute, on time. When Claire’s weight dips from the 85 percentile to the 50th, I’m certain I’m starving her and bombard the good doctor with questions about diet and nutrition. She does her best to pull me down from the ledge.

The problem is I’m never completely satisfied with the answers or that everything’s really ok.

I don’t think we are the only parents who can’t stand the idea that our child might have vulnerabilities. Nor are we alone in our fear that our child’s vulnerabilities might just be out of our control. Worrying and the subsequent overcompensation brought on by said worrying are conditions of the human race. These states become compounded when you become a parent.

If I were to ask Dr. Gillespie about my own heart palpitations, I’m sure she would tell me that everything’s just fine…

16 comments:

  1. I can relate only too well, but then I have an anxiety disorder :) I think we do know all will be OK, but it is the human condition to stress and obsess over things they have no control.

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  2. I am stopping by from FYBF @ With Some Grace.

    My daughter's paed is overly cautious, and is always sending us for some sort of test...next week it's an eye specialist for our 1 year old, he thinks "she hasn't grown into her eyes"? and worried they are little crossed eye. They look fine to me!

    I hope the appointment goes well.

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    1. I was definitely in your shoes. Nerve wracking, for sure. And then everything was fine. I am wishing the same for you. Good luck!

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  3. We will never stop worrying! My husband still sees our boys as the 5 week premature twins that they were and constantly tries to shove food in the twins' mouths despite them being almost 3 years old and well and truly out of the danger zone!
    But you know, you have parents' instinct for a reason. Doctors only know so much. We can never underestimate our own gut feeling as parents.

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    1. I never tire of stories of preemies who are now thriving! Yay twins!

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  4. Hi Rachel. Great job of portraying how anxious parents (esp first-timers) get with their kids' health! Let me assure you - as a Mom to six - those fears begin to subside exponentially with the birth of each subsequent child! Just joined as a follwer. Thanks for linking up with the TALU!

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    1. Well...I don't plan on having any more kids, so I'm going to have to figure out another way to keep the worries in check!!

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  5. It's hard not to worry, ESPECIALLY when it involves our children. Thanks for linking up at TALU this week. :)

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  6. I know many people who are just like you. I'm not one of them. :) I rarely have questions for our doctor, and I always wait to see if something will clear up on its own before I take anyone in. I'd like to say it is because, like Anne, I have six kids, but that wouldn't be true. I was like this with the first one, too. I guess I wasnn't born with the worry gene.
    TALU!

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    1. I think that's great. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to say the same thing!

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  7. The worry never stops. When they in their twenties and they don't answer your text, you get a whole new set of anxieties. Which are equally unfounded and make you look silly when they answer with "I'm at work". LOL

    Hang in there!
    TALU!

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  8. OK, so it has been a few months now. Did the "chill pills" work? ;) [#TALU]

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