Every parent alive has been on the fence about whether or not a doctor’s visit is necessary for their child when it comes to minor injuries. It’s better to be safe than sorry, but we also don’t want to rack up doctor bills for visits that aren’t needed.
This was the dilemma that mom Kristen Hewitt faced when, as her daughters were engaging in normal play, 8-year-old Lila winced in pain after ramming her toe into the corner of an entertainment center. It’s a common sound in their home.
“Let’s be clear, she is a self-proclaimed drama queen,” Hewitt tells Babble. “If she gets a paper cut, she needs a Band-Aid. And she gets injured daily, so at first I was cautious about the injury. Of course attending to it, icing it, elevating and watching it.”
Hewitt did not find anything that appeared to be serious. After consulting with her husband by phone, they decided to wait and keep an eye on it, since it appeared to only be bruised. She gave Advil to manage the pain, and they proceeded with the bedtime routine.
“It’s so hard to be a parent — there’s no instruction manual for raising kids, and trying to diagnose them is impossible!” says Hewitt.
The next morning, Lila was unable to put weight on her foot, so she stayed home from school. By lunchtime, she had thrown up and her toe looked worse, so they headed to the doctor’s office.
The X-ray showed that it was not one, but two broken toes.
“I was shocked. I immediately hugged her and told her I was sorry for doubting her and she said happily, ‘That’s OK mom, I’m a total drama queen!’” says Hewitt.
“I didn’t beat myself up though,” Hewitt continues. “I did the best I could. I’m just glad she didn’t have to suffer too long!”
After sharing what happened online, other parents stepped in to support Hewitt with hundreds of comments. Many gave specific accounts of the medical mistakes they’ve made themselves, and others chimed in about how their own parents made the same kind of mistakes when they were kids.
“Oh man! If it makes you feel any better when I was a kid I broke my arm on a Friday and my dad insisted I was fine and took me bowling on a Saturday…” – Meredith Z.
“We didn’t go to the ER for a full day when my daughter broke her arm because she didn’t act like she was in pain! We only took her when it was limp. I felt terrible!” — Ashlei L.
“Yes, we just did this with our son’s wrist from a basketball game fall. Two days later we found out it was fractured and needed a cast. We all do our best!” — Alison W.
Deciding when to take your child to the doctor is a common challenge for parents. Hewitt encourages other to trust their instincts and do the best they can.
“I was SO thankful for all the hilarious stories and comments my post received,” Hewitt tells Babble. “But just reading that we weren’t alone, that’s what’s so great about the camaraderie of social media. I think the lesson we all can glean from this is that we’ve all done it. We’ve all dismissed or ignored something at one point in our lives as moms and dads and it’s OK. And we learn from our failures — so now at least we’ll know what to do the next time our kids break an appendage.”