I did not quite realize when I decided to have children that I was signing up for a crash course in first aid and preliminary diagnosis. Yet from day one I had to monitor my child and decide whether or not the symptoms merited medical attention and how urgently that attention was needed. At first all of the ailments were new. I learned the signs of ear infections and childhood diseases. I became an expert in the interpretation of rashes. I tended kids through croup, chicken pox, asthma, a kidney infection, RSV, adenoid removal, nearly broken bones, scrapes, cuts, stitches, objects up noses, objects swallowed, and several dozen varieties of flu, stomach flu, and colds. Somewhere in the middle of all of that I changed from a mom who called others to have them look at baby’s rash into the person whom others called with rash questions. You’d think by now I’d have seen it all, yet I’m still scratching my head, consulting google, and trying to decide whether to see a doctor about all sorts of things. This past year we’ve had heartburn trouble, ingrown toenails, strained abdominal muscles, a scratched cornea, and –just tonight– a case of systemic hives triggered by we know not what. I never wanted to be a doctor and yet I’m regularly called on as a first responder and triage nurse.
And this is the point when I should be able to bring all of these thoughts around to say something useful or profound about it all. Mostly though I’m thinking about how unpleasant hives are and how much I don’t want to have to play “figure out what caused the systemic reaction.” Time for bed.