Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Crazy Mom Syndrome

I'm fairly certain there's a secret code word that doctors use amongst themselves and in your chart that's meant to indicate, "Watch out, crazy mom." And guess what? My kids' charts say it. I just know it. I assure you, it's not my fault. Here in lies the problem.

I can put up with fevers off and on for two weeks, complaints of stomach aches, headaches, and ears that hurt to touch. And then when I can't stand it anymore, I call the doctor. We make an appointment, show up, and wouldn't you know the appointment starts with the doctor saying, "Cooper, how do you feel?"

{silence dripping with anticipation}

"I feel fine."

Awesome. I think I actually hit my head with the clipboard I was holding. Then grumbled to myself... You haven't eaten a decent meal or a total of 100 calories for the past two days. You've been begging me to stay in bed all day. When I tried to put your shirt on this morning you screamed that your neck hurt. Ahhhh, and there you have it. The straw that broke the camel's back. Fever + stiff neck.

Every mom has a breaking point. I have a friend who worries every time her kids tell her they have leg aches or pain in their shins that they have cancer. Another friend who rushes to urgent care when her kids have green poop, convinced they will die of shigella or something. For me, it's the stiff neck. For the record, I didn't for one minute think that Coop had mumps or spinal meningitis. It's just, it's my job not to guess when that symptom rears it's ugly head.

Also, I'm at the end of my rope. This kid has had some ailment for about a month. There's always something. As soon as I'm convinced he's making it up, he gets a fever (and you really can't fake that). I was willing to pay the $20 copay to have a doctor tell me nothing was wrong. I'll admit it, I was going to buy a little confidence. Confidence to put my foot down and say, "You'll eat your dinner; you don't have a stomach ache; you can go hungry."

But how do you explain this to someone who likely went to school for like 15 years and takes himself very seriously. "Ummm, excuse me. I'm using you and your condescending opinion to make myself feel better about dishing out some tough love. So could you use some of those 50-cent words and send me on my way." Turns out, I basically said this.

He didn't send me on my merry way. He gave me homework. I have to keep a diary of everything Cooper eats and when he complains about his stomach. My goodness. This is a deliberate "busy work" assignment, isn't it? He thinks I'm crazy and he's giving me something to do. Well fine. You want me to keep a diary. Check this out. (Oh, I'm good at mundane details.)

PS -- I'm seriously going to blog his food diary. So if that's boring to you -- go read someone else's blog. And just to warn you, it's going to be a food diary all week.

9:30 a.m. DAY 1
After only snacking on 1/4 cup of Raisin Bran, and mostly just the raisins I ask Coop if he has any plans for lunch. Of course he does. He's pining for Costco hotdogs.

Cooper eats only 5 small bits from his dog. These are more like bites that merely peel the gross hotdog "skin" off and amount to no more than an inch of total food. He won't even think about touching the bun. Interestingly enough, Mason eats the entire dog and about half of the bun. Cooper is complaining that he is so tired that I need to carry him out to the car. And he agrees that he might like a nap today.

After 5 minutes in bed Cooper can tell that Mason and I are having way more fun than he is. So, he comes downstairs and asks for a blueberry yogurt. No other flavor will do. He eats a strawberry the size of his fist and about 2 oz. of the yogurt.

Mason eats two fist-sized strawberries and 2 oz of yogurt.

Mason starts saying, "I'm hungry." The boys split a FiberOne Bar (that only amounts to about 70 calories). But the chocolate chips go straight to the system because now they are running all over the place and there is no talk of bed or stomach aches.

The family sits down to a dinner of 3 Bean Chili (did I mention the doctor suggested we pump up the fiber to "reset" Coop's system). Cooper eats three bites, maybe. But he does not complain of stomach pain. Please note: Dad is home for dinner. Curious coincidence?

Mason eats lots of chili, about a 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and an entire avocado. Plus two glasses of milk. Did I mention, an entire avocado?

Coop begs for an apple, eats 1/2 of it. Asks for milk, but doesn't drink it.

Mason eats the other half of Coop's apple

Both boys come back to the kitchen begging for food. Interesting. This is when I would normally say, "NO! You didn't eat your dinner. Get out." But I'm running an experiment here, right? I offer Cooper the remaining 4 oz of his yogurt and he eats it! (So does Mason.)

Coop announces he is hungry. What. Ev. Er. This time I do say, "NO!" I let him have a glass of water and send him to bed. For the first time in a while he does not wake up in the middle of the night complaining of a stomach ache.


8 a.m.
Cooper wakes up and immediately says he is hungry. This is new. He can go and hour or two before saying this. Usually I ask him if he'd like breakfast. He asks for a FiberOne bar. Eats 1/2 of it, then chews up the other 1/2 but pretends to throw up the rest and even wretches, runs to the bathroom, and spits it in the toilet.

Mason eats a whole one.

I send the boys to school thinking that under someone else's care -- someone who is not as easily manipulated -- Cooper will eat like a champ. I ask her to let me know what he eats.

When I pick them up at 3 p.m. I learn that while Mason ate like a horse, Cooper ate a total of 2 pretzels. 2. pretzels.

4:30 p.m.
Cooper tells me he has a really bad stomach ache. He actually doubles over, winces, and then sucks in through his teeth with genuine drama. I ask him if he's hungry. He says no and tries to explain to me that his stomach has been hurting for sometime. (Does he know Dad is not coming home for dinner tonight?)

How will I celebrate this great news!?!?!? Oh, I know, let's go to Chuck E. Cheese's. Mason eats three pieces of that awful cheese pizza. Cooper eats one bit.

Once we get home from C.E.C. Cooper asks for a PB&J. He almost finishes 1/2 of it. This is tremendous progress (3 days ago he only ate a 1/4 of one all day).

Cooper asks for an apple, but only eats 3/8 of it. Mason eats the rest.

Mason comes to me begging for ice cream. I tell him no, but I actually want to say yes. He is such a cute little man. But I can't risk blowing the entire experiment.

10:30 (don't judge me, I let him stay up pretty late, but I had a good reason)
Cooper asks Dad for food. Together we decide he may have three small animal crackers.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm either going to break this kid, or find out he has celiac or some other thing. You know, to give myself a really good guilt trip.


Katlyn said...

Ha! I loved loved loved this blog entry because I can totally relate. About 1 week ago after a week or so of Chase not sleeping I paid $20 to learn he was probably teething. Then yesterday I paid another $20 to learn that a 103.7 fever is not really a big deal and that I just need to take advil... But oh yah I WAS on Advil but that apparently still didn't phase anyone. I offically hate the way doctors can make ppl feel dumb.

laurel said...

I really hate this. You know I just get so frustrated when you can't tell what is wrong with your kid. I hope he is just being picky and that it is not an ulcer or gall bladder or something. The journaling thing is a good idea (okay I do hate the way the doctor makes you feel. Been there, done that, but it is a good idea) It helped us diagnose Kenzie. I ought to try that with Alex. He always complains he can't feel his legs or feet...I wonder if it is associated with chores or if he has some weird disease. I guess I will take your clue and journal. Good luck. Can't wait to hear what is going on.

The Martell Family said...

How about this one: The nurse at the kids' school here in Dubai told me that every year without fail there is an outbreak of Meningitis in Dubai. So nice to be living in a third world country....Also, years ago a friend of mine here actually had her son complain of a headache when they were living in Spain, but sent him to school anyway. The school calls to have him picked up, she takes him to the doc, who whisks him away to hospital. Guess what? He HAS Meningitus, but only viral, so no problem, right? Unbelievable!