April 19, 2011

Second Guessing

When hubby and I first became parents, we refused to be the parents who rushed their kid to the clinic for every little cough. We were tough it out type of people and of the mind set that most issues can be cured with a little cuddle and rest.

We quickly learned that we were wrong.

Cate was a late term preemie and did not seem to show any signs of this other than being a slow eater and keeping her eyes closed for a few weeks. As she grew older, we are starting to question whether her current issues could be linked to her prematurity or just plain old bad luck.

At 5 months old, she developed a fever and fussiness that just didn't go away. On the third day I took her to a clinic who then told me to go to CHEO. After hours of waiting and a catheter insertion (poor baby) we determined that she had a urinary tract infection. We also learned that all babies who developed a UTI were refered for further testing for a very unlikely urinary tract malformation called Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR). A few months later, we learned that Cate was one of the lucky few to have this issue. On a scale of 1 to 5 she was a 3. It essentially means that any UTI she gets goes directly to her kidneys. Some kids outgrown it by the time they turn 6, others don't and need surgery to correct it. To prevent future infections, we started a regiment of profalactic medication as well as yearly ultrasounds and nuclear cystograms. This also meant that everytime she gets an unexplained fever, we have to take her to CHEO to screen for another UTI... fun...

Around her first birthday, we started noticing that her eyes weren't quite aligned. As she grew, it seemed to become more apparant and so at 18 months we brought her in to the Optometrist to find out that not only did she have ablyopia (lazy eye), she was also VERY far-sighted and required glasses. We never had any signs of her inability to see clearly, but were glad that it was caught in good time. We have since started a regiment of atropine drops in her good eye to help strengthen the bad eye, much the same as a patch would do without impeding on her toddler style. If you look closely, she does however have one giant pupil and one regular one...

Finally, around her 2nd birthday she developed a minor bout of pneumonia. It was caught and treated quickly. That fall she came down with a cold that took a bad turn within a few hours. I took her to a local clinic and they diagnosed strep throat. By 9pm that night, she was in terrible shape and having trouble breathing. Having never gone through this before, I was questioning whether what I was seeing was really bad or was I just exagerating. It turns out my gut was right and they rushed her right away to start the breathing treatments and steriods to open her lungs. That cold earned her a 5 night stay at CHEO with what they first diagnosed as asthma, and then later discovered to be double pneumonia with a partially colapsed lung... The ironic part was that she didn't even have strep throat! We were given a puffer to use as needed, and only used it a couple times over the winter until a couple weeks ago.


At the end of March, Cate came down with a cold (which happens every 30 days like clockwork) that once again seemed to affect her breathing. After a few doses of the puffer throughout the day, I decided to bring her to CHEO, just in case and was once again doubting myself. When we got there they took her right away and started the breathing treatments. They kept calling it asthma and were waiting for her stats to start improving. Six hours later, her stats were up slightly but not where they wanted them so they ordered a chest xray to rule out pneumonia. Well surprise, surprise, she once again had double pneumonia with a partially collapsed lung. The scary part this time was that she never developed a fever. We have since started a puffer regiment twice a day to keep the so-called asthma attacks at bay.


Kids with breathing troubles can be difficult to spot since they don't always slow down or show their symptoms clearly. I am slowly learning to recognize the signs, but am finding it difficult to walk the fine line of being cautious without running to see the doc everytime something is not quite right.

If you were counting, you will have noticed that Cate gets a total of three medications a day... THREE!!! She's not even three yet! By no means is she a sickly child, and so I worry about the effects these medications will have in the long term. Could it be that her 2 years of profalactic use for her UTIs be cause the recurring pneumonia? What about the effects of the multiple chest x-rays? And the nuclear cystomgram that she gets to check her VUR?

We are meeting with the Urologist tomorrow and I am trying to do my homework to make sure that we cover all of the bases since we only get one appointment per year. I would love to find out that the issue has corrected itself and that we can take her off the medication...

Now with a new (full term!) baby in the house, I am hopeful that there will be less medical issues and clinic visits the second time around. Maddie is currently fighting off her first cold and is a sore sight with a runny nose, leaky eye and gurgly breaths. We were at the doctor's last night to make sure all was well, but of course today she woke up with a cough that she didn't have yesterday. After googling a few things, I am siding with the fact that it's probably just post-nasal drip. I used to get that a ton as a child and it is a real nuissance.

So now it's your turn to share:

How many times did you question yourself before taking yourself or your child to the doc?

Were you ever surpised by how serious it really was?

How do you determine whether it's worth "going in"?

Do you second guess the advice that you're given?


Marilyn said...

With Connor, I try to do a lot at home...but if Mike suggests doctor in we go (cause I am usally already 1 step away from going myself).
Connor has been to CHEO three times. Three days old, 18 months, and yesterday. All three times he NEEDED CHEO - the paed couldn't help. I second guess the paed all the time.
And even more as of late. Connor was born 3 days late, after a number of complications.
All APPEARED fine.
At 18 months, I took him in for a head injury (was 100% fine that way). and they discovered a heart murmer - and wanted the paed to follow up. She couldn't hear it. Was only upon a couple....words... that she listened again, and heard it.
Cardio appointments, etc all heard it without difficulty. cardio is doing an ECHO because of STRONG maternal family history, including myself - so I will likely second guess forever.
However, the one thing I have promised mike and myself, is I won't use google to diagnose connor (as I diagnose myself), but will use a doctors opinion...or maybe 3 doctors opinions. ;)
Good luck with Cate and the breathing. Both my brothers and I had asthma as a child, oneof them VERY seriously. I know the panic that it causes. :(

Kataroo said...

Cate is a trooper! and so are Mommy and Daddy. I really hope your appt today goes well and you get good news.

I love my Dr. and she takes incredible care of our whole family knows us all. We see her often :) LOL Not crazy often but when a cold or flu has stayed longer than a week and the coughing and such is bad. I am in for stitches and burns :) Kay even had a seizure once in her office and I was so thankful it happened there, it was so scary.