Monday, July 6, 2009

Parental Intuition

Parents seem to have a magical sixth sense when it comes to their children. This is a good thing, of course ... but it can be very frightening at the same time.

Addie, Belle, and I spent the Fourth of July at the beach house with my mother, my brother Adam and his fiancee Colleen, my niece and nephew, Colleen's brother and his little girl, and Pythagorus, who came down for the afternoon and early evening (I'm afraid to put it in writing, but we seem to be back on the right path ... hope this doesn't jinx the progress that's been made).

Anyway, I was holding Belle at one point and noticed that her eye was a little red, almost like she'd bumped it on something. I asked her about it pretty closely, of course, but she said she didn't recall hitting her eye on anything. I was a little bit suspicious of this because Belle often claims that she didn't fall down and hurt herself if she was doing something she wasn't supposed to be doing (such as spinning around in circles or running amok with the dogs). Still, because I'm paranoid, I showed it to my mother and was assured that it was probably a bug bite or something equally innocuous.

Belle's eye got progressively worse yesterday afternoon. It almost looked like she'd had a stroke or something, which scared me to death, as you can imagine. Here's the picture I took yesterday afternoon to send to my mother for her input:



I didn't end up sending it to her since I called her instead and she reassured me that it was more than likely just a bug bite. She suggested that I continued giving Belle her Claritin and think about getting some Benadryl for her. This was when I was really freaking out since Belle is on Sulfa for a bladder infection (Belle is almost never sick but, when she is, it seems to come in tidal waves) and I was afraid she was having an allergic reaction to it.

When she woke up this morning looking like this,



I took her to the emergency room. I'm very glad I did. They weren't sure what started the swelling (they agreed that it was probably a bug bite), but it was starting to cross the line into cellulitis and maybe a more serious eye infection. Because Belle was already on an antibiotic, the doctor had to check and see if the Sulfa should be fighting a cellulitis kind of infection (turns out the answer was no, so Belle's on another round of antibiotics, this time Augmentin). They also checked her vision since she couldn't open one of her eyes (this was a little funny, actually, since they used a chart with pictures instead of letters and, being Belle, she got said "nest" instead of "apple" and "horse barn" instead of "house"--my kid is an odd duck, let me tell you :-)) and gave her a coloring book and crayons for being so brave.

Today was my first day of summer school, and I was actually scared that I was going to be late. Belle's day care was closed today because of the holiday, so Addie was on babysitting patrol. I was really worried leaving the girls (not because Addie isn't a great babysitter--she is--but just because I was worried sick about Belle's eye), but it all turned out fine. Interestingly, Addie read the discharge papers from the emergency room and put warm cloths on Belle's eye per their recommendation, so she actually looked better when I got home than she had when I left.

What fascinates me about this whole event is that I had a bad feeling on Saturday, back when Belle's eye was just a little bit puffy, that there was potentially something really wrong. I felt this even more strongly last night, and of course this morning I knew that I had to take her to the doctor as soon as I could. Fortunately, Belle is on the road to recovery, but the doctor said it was good that I'd brought her in because it could have been very bad if she wasn't treated.

Part of me is beating myself up, of course, because I had that feeling that I needed to bring her back on Saturday and I didn't. Still, it really didn't look bad on Saturday so I probably would have been laughed out of the doctor's office, but parental instinct is a powerful thing.

What are your thoughts on the intuition of a parent? Do you find that the "gut feeling" of a parent is usually right?