Today was memorable. A lesson learned as a doctor… a heart pang as a mom. My Audrey had to have her blood drawn today. Not just a finger stick but a real, in the vein, blood draw. I think my reaction has surprised me more than her reaction.
Audrey had been simply rotten from the moment we arrived at the doctor’s office. She refused to stand or sit on a scale to be weighed, she didn’t want the doctor to touch her, and she wanted brother to go first because she “just wanted to go home.”
We had told her that because she was not cooperating that she would not get the sticker promised to her at the end of the visit. And then her doctor and I decided that she would need to have her blood drawn.
Hmm… we had already taken away her prize because she was misbehaving… but now she needed an ouchie.
So, we told her she would have the chance to earn her prize back. If she tried to hold really still and cooperated with the ouchie then she would earn not one, but two stickers!!
We sat her on my lap and the lab tech came in. I explained to her that the nice lady was going to look at her arms, there would be a quick ouchie and then it would be all over and we could go home. The lab tech was wonderful. She moved slowly, we rolled up Audrey’s sleeves, we felt up and down her arms, she got a big hug on her arm from the blue band, and then the poke.
I held Audrey’s shoulder and talked her through it saying she needed to hold really still, it was alright to cry because I knew it hurt, and that it would be over soon. She did fantastic!!! She was very still and although there were tears, she was VERY cooperative. I was shaking and guilt ridden and sad for her pain.
Although this moment is not one that I think will stay with her for long, it will be one of those defining moments in my life.
Defining moment because… as a mom I felt my child’s fear and pain. It was hard to put her through something that I knew would cause her pain. As a parent you want to protect your child from the ouchies and this almost felt like I was failing her. I also had the guilt because I feel that my being a doctor was driving my concerns and I didn’t want to do this blood work simply to put my concerns to rest, but I also wanted the reassurance.
Defining moment because... as a physician it made me stop and think about the routine and acute blood draws that I order. The anxiety, fear, and the pain that both the parents’ and the patients’ feel. I will walk away from this visit weighing even more the risks and benefits of my clinical decisions and hopefully only order those tests that I really need.
As for Audrey, Daddy swooped her out of the office when it was over so she could claim her prize of not one… but TWO stickers for her OUCHIE, and she has barely mentioned the event since!
What have some of your defining moments as parents been? I would love to hear them!