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How often do you go to the dr. with a child and nothing's wrong?


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Hi,

I was at the dr. this morning with my 14 month old.  She's had diarrhea for a week and now a fever; no cold symptoms.  She's also been grabbing her throat a lot.  A couple of my kids had the stomach flu over the weekend.  I didn't like the fever coming up now, so I took her in.  She's also been REALLY fussy for this whole week.  I had a feeling the dr. wouldn't find anything, but I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing anything.  And there was nothing.  Well, she took a urine sample to check for UTI, and those results won't be back until tomorrow.

 

This is the 5th time I've been in to see them in the past 6 months.  One time she had a double ear infection, and one time she was "fine" but we ended up in the ER a day later with a fever of 106 and an ear infection that popped up.  So, I'm 2/5 basically.  All this got me wondering if I'm "normal"?  We have to pay for every visit (out of our HSA, which technically my dh's company pays half of) until we meet our deductible.  

 

I'd really like to know what your "record" is.  FWIW, I have 2 little ones, ages 3 and 1, and 3 older kids (but the older 3 almost never go to the dr!).  Thanks!

Sarah

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When they were younger it happened (taking them in to find out Dr can't do anything).  Now that they are older it very rarely happens.  I am better able to judge their behavior and they can talk and explain how they are feeling.  We don't go to the Drs unless I suspect some sort of infection.

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I can only remember once when I took youngest in and it turned out to be nothing.  And never with oldest.  Not that I was all that wonderful at figuring out when they needed to go to the doctor versus treating them at home -- they just never got sick very much.  So there weren't that many times I had to make a decision.  Their pediatrician commented several times on how little he got to see them.  Now the kicker to that is that when they had something wrong, it was usually something pretty bad.

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With little ones, they get sick more often, and, on top of that, it's just harder to tell.  I too would have gone in for a fever that showed up a week later - that's on the list for "when to go in."  It's probably just a viral bug.  If the fever goes longer than 3 days, I would go back (again, on the list for "when to go in").

 

Now that I'm older and more experienced (LOL, kidding - I still don't know what I'm doing), I'm unfortunately "right" that there's a problem most of the time that I bother to take the kids in.  I get more respect at the ped  :tongue_smilie:.  Sometimes I long for the days when I could just be sent home rather than for more testing with a specialist or something.

 

(FWIW, as odd and unfortunate as it may sound, twice my dd had rectal strep when she was younger than two, even though kids that young "aren't supposed to get strep"; main symptom involved a little mucus in the diaper)

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I think that's pretty normal for baby/toddler.  I went in a lot just to be sure I wasn't missing something or that medicine wouldn't help. Easily 50% of visits ended with a doc saying wait it out, call if it gets worse.  I don't consider that a waste of time or an unsuccessful visit, either.   Babies can't articulate what's wrong- they need your help- and sometimes YOU need help too.

 

Just last  month I thought my 3 year old had hand foot & mouth, didn't take him in, when it didn't get better after over a week I finally took him in and it turns out it was strep.   He's had hf&m AND strep before, you'd think I'd know the difference or at least go in because "better safe than sorry!"   I wish I had.  Within 24 hours of abx he was fine.

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I had to pay an $800 ER bill for a bead that my then 3 year old insisted he put his nose. There was no bead. Dh STILL brings that up at times, but when your child says he put a bead up his nose, you take him in, KWIM? (We were 10 minutes too late for the cheaper Rapid Care.)

 

We were out $200 when my then four-year-old insisted she dropped a foam ball in her ear. She was so hysterical I thought for sure she had. Of course, she hadn't. 

 

I'll take the kids to the doctor if there is something the doctor can do: remove foam balls, for instance :). If were stable at home and there's nothing a doc could do other than check vitals and offer support riding out a bug, I'll skip a doctor's visit. 

 

I might be more willing to visit if we didn't arrive with all 4 kids at every visit. That gets old, fast.

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Hubby works in healthcare, so not often. BUT, even he can't make a test result come back positive when it needs to. He caught strep a couple of times early in his career, and the typical pattern for him is to feel like death warmed over, test negative at work, start to feel better, have it come back with a vengeance, go to the doctor (because he's out of town, or it's the weekend) who says, "it's probably not strep, but I'll check," and then finally have it come back positive! Meanwhile, he's been miserable, and he's potentially infected who knows how many people...

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My doctor-does-nothing rate is about 1 out of 3 visits (weird arm rash, several common colds). I do feel like that's balanced, though, by the amount of well-child visits at which my doctor gets pretty alarmed about something I didn't see at all (spinal malformation, anemia, aphasia).

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Once in 10.5 years. Our kids, especially our older one, just don't seem to get sick very often (and not for lack of exposure- it is really common for my older son to be one when one or more of the rest of us are sick.) I can count the total sick visits for both boys on one hand. One time it probably would have been a wait and see but we have the same pediatrician as a family friend and the pediatrician had just rushed their same age daughter to the hospital for a very dangerous case of croup. He heard my son's cough and he opted to give him steroids on the spot, knowing how much time my son spent with the girl who needed to be hospitalized.

 

That one time no specific treatment was given, my younger son took a flying leap from his brother's bunk bed and his foot was swollen and he wasn't walking on it. While I assumed correctly that it was most likely a sprain, I wanted to check it out on an X-ray. Thankfully we were able to do that without an ER visit.

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Oh, there was one time we needed a stupid note from the pediatrician because the preschool teacher thought that a slightly blood shot eye was pinkeye and he couldn't come back to preschool unless he was pinkeye free. The teacher was crazy, he had no signs of pinkeye at all. It was weird. The teacher was dumbstruck that some people get bloodshot eyes?! I was like, um ok. I get bloodshot eyes a fair bit, so I wasn't alarmed and knew perfectly well it wasn't pinkeye. But we needed the note. So lame.

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I've only ever taken my kids in when there is something wrong.  But I don't rush to the dr the first sign of something. I usually wait for 2 full days of symptoms.  That has happened twice.  DS had bronchitis and dd had a uti

 

OP said her daughter has had diarrhea and lots of fussiness for over a week. So it's not really rushing.  More a case of, the doc couldn't prescribe anything.

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I have had it go both ways.  I have waited when I shouldn't and it turned out a month later he had pneumonia in both lungs that should have been treated sooner.  I have also had the "just a virus" visits.  Most of the time they tell me it was good I brought them in to be checked, even if there isn't much they can do.  The ones that really were frustrating is the earaches that we were told were nothing, only to have to take them back a day or two later with a very bad double ear infection.  But my only bad experience was from a PA who was fresh out of school and very young.  She was quite condescending and didn't listen to a word I said about the symptoms or my child's health history.  I refused to ever see her again.  She missed a bad sinus infection in my DS who ended up needing month long course of antibiotics and a round of steroids by the time it was caught by his allergist a few days later.

 

I try to treat at home as much as I can. When in doubt I call the nurse line and talk to them, but 90% of the time they tell me to bring them in "just in case".

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When my oldest was young, I always seemed to be taking her in too early. She had a specific behavior every single time she had an ear infection and many times I would take her in and they would say she was fine. A few hours later we were back with a crazy high fever and a raging ear infection. Fortunately they quit charging me for the second visit after it happened a few times.

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It happened occasionally when mine were little.  They were always sick but sometimes the diagnosis was unknown virus and we would head home to ride it out.

 

Now that they are older I can always tell when something is brewing (one is prone to sinus infections) and will take them in on a friday even though I know the doctor won't find anything.  As long as she has seen them recently she will call something in instead of making us go to urgent care when I call back over the weekend (once they really are sick).

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I have a child who underreacts to sensory input including pain. There have been times where she was more seriously injured than anyone realized based on her reactions. So I have learned to err on the side of caution in bringing her in for an evaluation. Fortunately our pediatrician and the ones at the after-hours urgent care practice understand the reason for this and support having her checked out whenever there is any possible reason for concern. Most of the time she's fine, but no one wants to miss a serious injury.

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A few times.  Not that often though.  We don't go to the doctor often.  Also, our doctor allows phone consults.  So when they were little, sometimes I would call and talk to the doctor or RN and they'd tell me not to bother coming in.  That was always a lifesaver for us.  I know it takes them time, but it has saved us wasting their time with a visit on several occasions.

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It's pretty rare nowadays, because I can generally figure out if it's bacterial or viral.  If it's viral, we rarely need anything from the dr.  In the last year, I had 2 visits that I thought could be bacterial, but were not.  Well, technically, one of those is on dh.  I thought it was viral, but he didn't.  I was right.  

 

 

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I had to pay an $800 ER bill for a bead that my then 3 year old insisted he put up his nose. There was no bead. Dh STILL brings that up at times, but when your child says he put a bead up his nose, you take him in, KWIM? (We were 10 minutes too late for the cheaper Rapid Care.)

wow!  That's a new one for me.  I would have brought him in too.  I hope you can laugh about it now!

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Thanks for all of the input.  Except for you lucky ones who have super-kids or something (I'm seriously jealous), I feel like I'm probably pretty normal then.  Generally, I give an illness at least a week, but once a fever pops up at the end and they're getting worse, we go in.  I've just figuring out with my baby that fever seems to be her "go to" and doesn't necessarily mean anything.  After our $1000 ER bill for her ear infection though, I'm more inclined to just pay the $80 copay and take her to the dr. to rule out anything.  And for peace of mind!

-Sarah

 

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Never. I just don't really do many doctor runs.

 

That backfired, though. I thought my son was just whining about an achy foot to get out of phys.ed. but it turns out he had a broken toe. Oops. I still feel a bit badly about that. LOL

I'd definitely rather go and have nothing wrong, and I think it's very reasonable to err on the side of caution!

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Never. I just don't really do many doctor runs.

 

That backfired, though. I thought my son was just whining about an achy foot to get out of phys.ed. but it turns out he had a broken toe. Oops. I still feel a bit badly about that. LOL

 

I'd definitely rather go and have nothing wrong, and I think it's very reasonable to err on the side of caution!

 

I've been there, too.  We waited a couple days (on 2 separate occasions) on both my dd and ds and it turned out they had fractured wrists!  With my ds, he actually high-fived the dr. with his broken wrist, and even the dr. was surprised it was broken.

 

Mostly, I am so very thankful for our good doctors and medical care, and that I can go get a prescription or advice!  

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I have worked in health care, and I do a lot of natural treatments. I know when my kids need stronger medicine than I can acquire.

When I go in, I usually have a specific treatment in mind.

Twice I have taken my crazy now-4yo in to the ER to be told he was essentially fine. Once was an accidental poisoning. The detox was remarkably mild. That tiny kid is made of steel.

The last time he had bloody stool from dairy exposure. His grandparents had fed him massive quantities of ice cream that gave him terrible diarrhea. We don't eat much dairy, so I have never seen a reaction like that. I was seriously scared. The Dr confirmed that it was from the dairy exposure and he would be fine. So not nothing, but nothing I didn't already know.

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This is the issue in my household right at this very moment. Dd is sick; started being sick Saturday night. Now I am sick. My symptoms are exactly the same as hers. My philosophy is - this is a virus. It sucks, but we'll survive. She is not getting worse, or spiking terribly high fevers or anything else very alarming. But dh always wants them to go to the doctor. Today is no exception. I said take her if you want, but I'm not dragging my carcass out right now only to have them say it's a virus/it's the flu. 

 

I also have a high-deductable HSA and don't like to pay for "nothing." 

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I don't know if it is so much that there is nothing wrong - after all, your little one does have diarrhea and a fever.  It is more of a case of it being viral in nature so the doctor can't really do anything for it.  And yes, I've btdt many times.   :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Thank you.  I really appreciated your response.  You're right, it not "nothing" that's wrong, there's just nothing they can do that I can't do myself!  And I am a FIRM believer in the power of homemade chicken soup! :001_smile:

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This is the issue in my household right at this very moment. Dd is sick; started being sick Saturday night. Now I am sick. My symptoms are exactly the same as hers. My philosophy is - this is a virus. It sucks, but we'll survive. She is not getting worse, or spiking terribly high fevers or anything else very alarming. But dh always wants them to go to the doctor. Today is no exception. I said take her if you want, but I'm not dragging my carcass out right now only to have them say it's a virus/it's the flu. 

 

I also have a high-deductable HSA and don't like to pay for "nothing." 

 

This is my philosophy too.  And I hope that you feel better soon! :grouphug:

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I just did this today!

My 4 yr old showed me her fingernail, and I realized the entire thing had torn from the side, all the way at the base of the nail. It was just hanging there, 3/4 of the way across. It wasn't bleeding and didn't look like there was any trauma, and then I noticed that almost ALL of her nails were coming off!!!

I absolutely freaked. We are vegetarian, and although we are VERY careful I am always concerned about her diet because she is also very picky, and I was freaking myself out thinking she was somehow deficient in something vital! Or some other crazy issue.

 

I put bandaids over everyone of her nails to keep the jagged bits from ripping further and creating sore spots/bleeding, even though it looks as though a healthy nail is coming in underneath. We headed off to the doctor...

 

Diagnosis? Apparently this can happen as a result of a virus/antibiotics. Last month she was treated for Strep (that I didn't even notice along with an ear infection and sinus infection-no fever or complaints!) and I guess this was just the reaction! Nothing at all to worry about, no treatment, nothing.

Whew!

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Only once, but we rarely ever go to the doctor. DD had a fever of 106. It was viral, so nothing they could do.

 

Oh, I lie. DS was sick one time. Again viral, they weren't going to do anything, but I insisted on IV hydration, so they did do that but only because I insisted.

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A bunch when they were little.  We had high fevers, rashes, weird blisters, etc. etc.  Usually just something we had to wait out, but when they're really sick and can't communicate, what do you do?  

 

Once I thought it was chickenpox because we had been exposed, but it was hand, foot, and mouth disease.  That was probably useful to know though.

 

In the last three years we've only been once for sickness, and DH guessed strep and it was!

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I just did this today!

My 4 yr old showed me her fingernail, and I realized the entire thing had torn from the side, all the way at the base of the nail. It was just hanging there, 3/4 of the way across. It wasn't bleeding and didn't look like there was any trauma, and then I noticed that almost ALL of her nails were coming off!!!

I absolutely freaked. We are vegetarian, and although we are VERY careful I am always concerned about her diet because she is also very picky, and I was freaking myself out thinking she was somehow deficient in something vital! Or some other crazy issue.

 

I put bandaids over everyone of her nails to keep the jagged bits from ripping further and creating sore spots/bleeding, even though it looks as though a healthy nail is coming in underneath. We headed off to the doctor...

 

Diagnosis? Apparently this can happen as a result of a virus/antibiotics. Last month she was treated for Strep (that I didn't even notice along with an ear infection and sinus infection-no fever or complaints!) and I guess this was just the reaction! Nothing at all to worry about, no treatment, nothing.

Whew!

This is definitely not nothing. It's a very disturbing side effect. You were not wrong to call it in.

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I see most of these stories as a failure on the part of the doctor.  They should be praising us for bringing kids into be evaluated when it is difficult to tell if it is viral or not.  They should be listening to the parents - esp. if the parent knows what is normal for their child and what isn't.  They should be educating the parent on what is viral and what isn't.  And they should never ever be making us feel stupid for following through on symptoms that could be something serious, even if in this case, they think that it is ok.  

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We've had a few occasions when an illness was viral, so nothing could be done except treat the symptoms. And my oldest dd has had abdominal pain for nearly 10 years that is still unexplained.  But it's more often been the case that the diagnosis was worse than I expected, so it was good that we went to the doctor when we did.

 

I had to take my dd12 for a follow up appt today for a sprained ankle, and while there we got the doctor to take a look at her mouth.  She has ulcers in her mouth that are so sore that she's lost 4 lbs since her appt last week.  This kid is 5'3" and weighed 77 lbs last Tuesday and 73 lbs today, so it's not like she can afford to lose weight!  Anyway, the doctor gave us an anti-viral prescription.  When did that become available?  In the past, it's always been, "it's a virus and has to run its course."

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My kiddos have never been to a doctor for illness. They have only ever had the usual childhood viruses and sore throats and whatnot. I do not think either one has ever had antibiotics. This is quite remarkable considering I work in an ER and bring home all kinds of germs, I am sure.

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I don't take my kids in often  as I tend to think 'viral'. BUT last year I waited until my 3 yo was on her 4th day of a fever, but I looked closer at her as she slept on the couch and noticed her cheeks and feet purplish looking... turns out she had bad ear infections and pneumonia. I felt SO guilty for waiting that long. I felt like, what if she had trouble breathing or something in the middle of the night and I didn't know??? Sometimes you just don't know, just trust your gut sometimes. It sucks feeling like an idiot sometimes if it's nothing, but they probably see it every day and they don't think we're idiots. I hope. I just compare myself to an acquaintance who takes her kids in every time they start to sniffle or get a bug bite... and I know I'm not that bad so it's all good.  

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