This blog is not FDA approved
You know what would be great? If everything was black or white. You know, sort of like how Republicans see the world. Then we would know for certain that Big Pharma was full of evil sadistic baddies out to get us or that Holistic Medicine was just for crazy people. Wouldn’t life be so much easier?
But it’s not, and this is what we’ve got. I admit that I have leaned more toward the “let’s trust the guys who have had years of education more than we trust the people who throw pixie dust in a jar and say it cures warts, Cancer, and dandruff.” Yet as I’ve grown, and had children, and been faced with many medical situations, I’ve realized that the ones we should really trust are not the doctors or the alternative medicine people. We have to trust ourselves.
This is a tough thing to do sometimes, especially if you are dealing with your child. Recently, my youngest (I fondly call her Thing Two) got sick with a cough and a fever. I took her to the doctor and they examined her and found out that pneumonia has been partying at our house lately and gave her an antibiotic. I filled it and then measured out a dose for her. It was a very small dose – just one ml three times a day and there were two bottles of the stuff. That seemed strange. But, well, those were the instructions. So I followed them.
Thing Two didn’t get better. She got worse and started vomiting. I couldn’t figure it out. I’d been giving her medicine for over three days. I mentioned how weird everything was with the medicine and my mother suggested calling the pharmacy. I asked the pharmacist about the dose, and she said, “Oh, yes, you’re supposed to give her 1 tsp. three times a day.”
“It says one ml on the bottle,” I said, and glanced at the dosing syringe. One ml, by the way, is roughly a fourth of a tsp, which is what I should have been giving her, according to the pharmacist. I was alarmed. You’d think the pharmacist would be scrambling to cover her behind. She just suggested I give her a larger dose that night. Yeah, not with her already throwing up because she’d gotten worse thanks to your screw up!
So I took her back to the doctor and explained what happened. He prescribed a new antibiotic and breathing treatments. Late that evening, my husband picked up the stuff from our pharmacy. He came back with albuterol for the breathing treatments. No antibiotic.
At this point, Pissed-Off Mama-Bear-that-Could-Eat-Sarah Palin-In-a-Heartbeat had made her appearance. My husband called the after-hours clinic and found out the doctor had forgotten to call the antibiotic in – you know, the antibiotic that was supposed to fix the antibiotic the pharmacy had goofed on, causing Thing Two to get so much sicker. The only pharmacy still open was 15 minutes away. My husband made the trek after having worked two jobs that day. I stayed home with Thing Two and worried. She’d missed four days of school from this, and couldn’t even hold ice chips down. I saw hospital visit for intravenous fluids in our future – too soon after my own hospital trip.
Fortunately, she did get better within a few days. The new antibiotic, with the correct dose this time, worked quite well. But I remain wary. I realize that doctors and pharmacists are human and make mistakes. The problem is that their mistakes can be very, very costly to us. Had they given her too much medicine instead of too little, it could have been even worse.
I thought back to when I gave her that first dose and how something had told me that it was wrong. But what did I do? I ignored that thought. What did I know? I’m not a doctor. But I was a mother, an adult woman of 36 with a decent education, and I had intuition. Too often we ignore our basic intuition. Too often we rely solely on the experts – whether holistic or those of modern medicine. We can’t afford to do that.
We have to trust our instincts. We have to make our lists and check them twice. We have to be our own medical advocates, because you can be certain no one, not even the kindest healer, cares about your health, or your child’s health, as much as you do. I’m not telling this story as a scare tactic, or to put down pharmacists or doctors. I am telling this story to point out that nothing is black and white, no one is such an expert he can’t be questioned, and we should trust ourselves to make sure everything checks out. If we don’t, we might not ever get another chance.