MOMMYHOOD: Why do doctors speak in riddles?

We recently had a scare with my daughter and we had to rush to an immediate care clinic to have her looked at. After tests were done, the doctor came in and began to tell us what was wrong with her, but in very vague terms. Also, not in layman's terms. The funny thing is that this was a fairly young doctor, and this was not what I would expect from a young doctor. My daughter ended up having a severe urinary tract infection. As he explained what that was, he talked about finding protein in the urine, so he stressed that I needed to really do a follow up with our pediatrician. Then he continued on about the antibiotics. My mommy alert went off. That seemed important...rewind! "What does protein in the urine mean?" He explained and as it turned out this was potentially very serious. (I couldn't believe he was going to skip over this!). Then he continued, they were going to prescribe an antibiotic, but they were sending out for a work up and will call us with the results in a couple days...and he continued on about antibiotics. Mommy alert again! "What work up? Didn't you just do one? You are prescribing something today, aren't you?" He explained they needed to grow the culture for a few days to make sure the antibiotic was the correct one. Again, I couldn't believe he was going to gloss over that as well. I just found myself grilling this poor man, as my husband just sat quietly in the corner. I think my husband felt I was being enough of a "mamma lion", he did not need to join in. But honestly, if I did not, would I be clear about where my daughter's health stood and what important next steps needed to happen to ensure her care?

This whole incident validated again that we need to be consumers, not just patients. We need to be vigilant and really ask questions with these doctors, just like you were asking a sales person about a washing machine. They have tunnel visions sometimes, and what makes sense in their narrow world does not make sense to us all the time. We need to educate ourselves and not be afraid to really ask tough questions with them. Its our health on the line-not theirs.

Ironically, when I got back to my mother's house I found I still did not ask enough questions! My daughter showed more symptoms from the urinary tract infection that were quite scary. These were symptoms the doctor did not even mention I might see. I had to get on the Internet and do some research and find out myself. It was Sunday and the office was closed, so it was either that or a costly visit to the ER! Thank GOD for the Internet. We can at least educate ourselves and fill in the potholes that these doctors leave in their path. My advice-BE mamma lions! Ask tons of questions! Be vigilant!



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