Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Walking the Fine Line

This week, at The 36-Hour Day, I write about walking the fine line between clever and stupid (thanks, This Is Spinal Tap) as a parent and as an employee:

The Clever: L.’s hideously croupy cough resurfaced a few weeks ago, and I took her to the doctor. Our pediatrician wasn’t in, so the appointment was with one of her colleauges, whom we’d never seen before, but hey, my child was sick and had been for a while, it was starting to affect her sleep and her school, and so I took her in.

The Fine Line: The doctor we saw didn’t know us, didn’t take more than a minute to listen to her breathe semi-deeply exactly four times (without coughing), and didn’t take more than 30 seconds or so jump to a big conclusion about me — that I must be an overly anxious, first-time mom who felt guilty about sending her kid to daycare — and diagnose accordingly.

The Stupid: I didn’t push. Kids get sick all the time, and it had been a particularly bad flu season. I didn’t tell him that I’ve seen colds and flus and viruses with all five of my kids, and this one seemed different. I didn’t request a chest x-ray, or ask him to have her cough or listen to her lungs again. I repeated that her cough sounded phlemy and awful and it was so bad that it made her throw up sometimes and, when he brushed me off, I left, stopping at the drugstore for more cough suppressant on the way home.

I took her back last week, and she saw her regular pediatrician. Who is an angel. She listened to L. breathe and cough for nearly 10 minutes before ordering a chest x-ray and a round of hardcore antibiotics. The x-ray showed dense Bacterial Pneumonia.
Just put that Mother of the Year award above the fireplace, with all the other ones, M’kay? Thnx. (She’s getting better rapidly, and really is no worse for wear, for which I’m grateful. )

When I cross the clever/stupid line at work, “all better” doesn’t come nearly as quickly. For instance:

The Clever: Overtired and up against deadline, I printed out a bunch of stories to edit from home, while I spent a long weekend “relaxing” with my kids. (There should be air-quotes around those quotes — the weekend was a wonderful whirlwind, but hardly “relaxing.”)

The Fine Line: I got it all done, staying up late and editing in snatches in between watching movies and running from appointment to appointment — S.’s first job interview (aced it); A.’s X-rays (big toe is broken); buy groceries (didn’t I just do this?); pick L. and O. up from school (yay!); run back to the school to pick up all of L.’s and O.’s stuff that I forgot (boo!); back to the doctor to get a soft-cast-boot-type-thing for her foot; make dinner; do laundry; etc., etc., etc.

The Stupid: I left all of the printouts at home and had to re-do it all electronically once I got back to the office, thereby saving me exactly no time at all.

I tell you: Sometimes, my clever/stupid meter goes up to 11.

Take a minute to click through the archives at The 36-Hour Day or jump in to a discussion at Work It, Mom!

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