informed consent and respect

i have several fun posts i want to write, but i just had a week of being put through the wringer and i am going to process this through writing.  (and show off another god-kissed ocean picture from the same day as my sunset ~this moment~ picture. that makes me feel better!)  quinn has had a few colds already this season, and this past week we started in with the tummy stuff. but the weirdest thing- no throwing up, no weird diapers… just a 101 fever, and my stoic little guy complaining of pain, even in his sleep. it worsened until friday afternoon and i was only able to call the after hours on-call doctor… and the unwanted medical interventions and interjections began.  i feel so much gratitude, on one hand, that there are people who dedicate their lives to being extremely knowledgeable about the human body. while i feel i know my way around it pretty well, i sure can’t do an appendectomy, or, at least, i haven’t done it before. it’s just that i can’t fight off this feeling that the entire medical profession is judgmental of parents they’ve categorized in a certain way, the difficult ones, or whatever we have been labeled. i’d like the same amount of respect for the informed decisions i make, that all other parents seem to be granted for just following whatever mainstream medicine dictates. being discerning about which health care choices are made, asking pointed questions, and doing things in a non-mainstream way seem to put me in that “difficult” category and therefore exempts doctors from showing me any respect. speaking with the after hours on-call doc, about, (remember?), a tummy ache that i was trying to make sure wasn’t appendicitis, i was questioned about the status of my son’s foreskin (you tell me, if you figure out the connection) and was lectured about my “risky” choice about not having given my son his “immunizations”. i didn’t even know there were still doctors under the (false) impression that vaccines offered actual immunity, but okay. i didn’t offer myself up for this grilling session, and answered simply “no, we do not vaccinate.” then was belittled (you do know what obtunded means, don’t you?), lectured, and had scare tactics performed on me until i finally asked, ” is there a particular vaccine-preventable disease that you are concerned about, given the symptoms i have described?” oh, um. no.

then the mutant virus from hades decided to go away for exactly 24 hours, then come back in full force in the middle of his nap on sunday. the pain woke him up. i needed for a physician to look at him in person, and thank you to mom, for reminding me that i will never regret a decision like that! we went to the e.r. i fended off rectal thermometers, and had to answer for slightly-longer-than-comfortable why i was declining. i fended off an i.v. because it had  not been determined that he needed it (he didn’t). and had to answer as to why i was declining, of course, though at this point the nurse had noticed that i actually wanted to exercise my freedom to choose exactly how my son was poked and prodded and she really turned out to be the most respectful of anyone we encountered. i declined  a catheter because i could not see that a urinalysis would tell us what the blood test would not (i did allow them to draw blood to check his white blood cell count, to rule out appendicitis, and he was so brave!) i got more crap for not vaccinating- the e.r. doc must have left his edit button off: ” well that’s scary!” hmmm…. he’s saying he feels scared? i can’t think why- surely he has had all of his “immunizations”? we left once it had been determined that quinn’s white cell count was “boringly normal”. phew!

following up with our normal pediatrician the next day, i wasn’t feeling so on guard- foolishly thinking i needn’t be, and then found myself just plain aghast when the doctor attempted to force my son to take tylenol. he stated simply, “i willn’t do it.” (priceless.) his sense of free will is more intact than that of most three year olds she has come in contact with, i’d wager, and although she declared that oh yes he would take this medicine (before forcing open his jaws, holding his nose, and squirting it into his mouth via syringe), he swallowed not one drop of that stuff. i apologized to him later, for not seeing that coming, and told him i would not have chosen to try to force him to take tylenol if that is not what he wanted in his body. (in general, we only take tylenol at home when we really feel there is no other way to go, and we never take any of the scary red-dye version. i can’t help but think the high fructose corn syrup delivery medium does more harm than good. we opted for wet sock treatment and yarrow and lemon balm tea when we got home- no artificial colors or sugar, and he drank it right up and the fever went right down… but the bottom line is, it is his body and his choice!!!)

i kind of thought they usually let the parents handle administering tylenol….? something tells me we’ve been labeled as that crazy family, or i’m that inept mom, and they’ve got to intervene and do things the “right way” since i can’t be counted on for that. at any rate, i’m researching holistic family practice doctors in the area, since this is the one and only local pediatrician practice, and i’ll be happy to never darken their door again. they’ll probably be happier, too.

maybe there is a positive spin in here somewhere, if i look hard enough. i suppose there is always empowerment, whenever we are bullied and inspired to take our business elsewhere. i want to support healers in my community who are focused on healing, not fear.

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