Parent, Physician, Patient

My mentor wrote a book about how patients make medical decisions based on a set of innate personal beliefs and experiences.  In the book, she writes about how each of us falls along a spectrum of being a minimalist (wait-and-see)  or a maximalist (do everything) when it comes to making decisions about our health.   In general, I am probably more on the minimalist side when it comes to my own health, trying to avoid taking medications or labs if possible.  I rarely go to the doctor, unless it is absolutely necessary (like…during pregnancy).  My husband is even worse than I am.  For example, he has been fighting a nagging upper respiratory infection for month and just keeps blaming it on “something viral” that will pass on its own.

On the other hand, when it comes to the health of my children, this is an entirely different matter.  My own medical biases disappear and maximalist-worrywart-mommy takes over.  In the few months of his life so far, my son has had some minor medical issues requiring various blood draws,  doctors’ visits and physical therapy appointments.  Of course I juggle my schedule around so that I can ensure that he gets the best care possible.  And even though I know from an objective doctor’s viewpoint that cognitively or developmentally, he will be just fine if I don’t rush him to the doctor every single time, I still find myself ridden with anxiety and stress  if I can’t make an appointment in the time frame that I think is ideal, despite reassurances.

Maybe it is because I am a parent and feel that with a baby who can’t even talk yet, I am his only advocate.  But when I try to think about it objectively, I find it ironic that I dread going to the doctor myself, yet I am rushing around from one doctor’s office to the next trying to “fix” my child.

I am curious to hear what other parents and/or healthcare workers think when it comes to their personal medical care versus the medical care of their children.  Do you have the same threshold for calling your pediatrician as calling your internist?

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