At a recent medical appointment with V it became clear that we, regardless of where we are, are our child’s advocate. Not just when it comes to what is best for their medical decisions and educations, but for their emotional well-being.
“You’re fine,” “Just a quick look,” are things that I heard during V’s appointment. While these phrases don’t seem like much, they were undermining the emotions that she was feeling. So what to do?
I politely ask that she be shown, allowed to touch (if safe), and explained what is about to happen.
So our appointment goes something like this:
I will attempt to explain the situation and what is going on and our physician or nurse with often follow and do the same. (In choosing our doctors, I made so that they knew we treat our children with respect and kindness.) “V, I need to take your temperature. We do this to make sure that you don’t have a fever so that we may rule out potential problems. We are going to take your temperature using this, it’s called a thermometer. We slide it across your forehead, like so (demonstrating with their own forehead) and it will display what your temperature is here (showing her the little screen). Ideally, your temperature will be around 98.6/37.”
When E needed an X-ray, the technician explained where E would be, where I would be, and where she would go to take the image. We showed and explained that a lead apron would be used for her and me to protect us. We present it so she can feel the weight and use the velcro. The tech explained how the X-ray machine works and some of the parts.
I try to prevent the, “Oh, you are such a good girl,” that is often said by others. I instead interject comments on how brave she was and how she stayed still so that the professional was able to capture the necessary images.
While this is all wonderful, there are times that uncomfortable procedures need be done and they don’t want them or time is of the essence. We still try make the experience as calming as we can by providing myself and material of comfort, like a lovie. I’m also honest. E needed a Covid test for a procedure. Testing for Covid involves sticking a q-tip like instrument up the nose. We’ve heard that this can be really uncomfortable. We explained what was going to happen and that, while it may be a little uncomfortable, we would be right there, her favourite shark teether was in hand, and her favouite song was ready to be played. Immediately after the test, nursing was offered, as that it something she finds soothing.
It never hurts to ask. When E had her cast on, the first few weeks were uneventful. The third week her mood was negatively impacted. At first, we thought maybe she was teething, not feeling well, or maybe it was because we were camping. Upon arriving back home, we waited a few days and decided that it was probably discomfort due to the cast. The doctor said that she needed the cast on for three week, but the receptionist wasn’t able to get her an appointment until 4.5 weeks. At 3.5 weeks, we decided we would try to get her in sooner.
With most doctor offices, if you call first thing in the morning, they have same-day appointments available. So that’s what I did. Thankfully they were able to get E in. They removed her cast (I brought her ear protecting headphones and she sat so calm) and gave her an X-ray. Her mood immediately started to improve.
We brought her cast home to show daddy and explain to V that E no longer had her cast, etc. Upon seeing it, E little face dropped, making it clear that we made the right decision.
How do you make your child’s appointments more comfortable?
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