Sometimes a Headache Is Just a Headache

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Let me tell you a story about when I took my kid to the doctor for a headache a few weeks ago. At the beginning of the week, she hit her head on a tuba. I prescribed a quick ice pack, a little pain reliever, and voila – she was good to go. That was, until the weekend and she was complaining about a headache every day. I knew it was nothing, but the protective mother in me let myself be convinced she could have really injured herself. On a tuba.

I worried that she might have a concussion. I worried that continuing in sports could cause more damage. I worried that I was missing something, even though my every instinct said she would be fine. So, Sunday morning, we went to urgent care and had her head literally examined.

The diagnosis? She had a headache. She was poked and prodded, but the good doctor only found the very early stages of a sinus infection. Thus the headache. That wasn’t embarrassing, or anything.

But embarrassment was nothing compared to the guilt I would have felt if something had been seriously wrong and I hadn’t addressed it.

The following week, she dropped a weight on her foot. The school nurse suggested she may have broken a toe. We kept an eye on it over the weekend, and it appeared she had simply bruised her foot. I went with my gut this time, and she healed quickly.

A few days later, during the second-to-last game of the volleyball season, she went up for a block and collided with a player on the opposing team. One look at her face, and I knew this one was real. She came off the court with a swollen thumb, and everything in me was convinced it was broken. X-ray says? Yep. In three places. We see the hand specialist next week.

Mom knows best. I forget that sometimes. I think we all do. We second-guess ourselves. We let guilt and fear override our strongest instincts. I might not be so bad at all this, it turns out. These experiences have been a fabulous boost of confidence with the whole parenting gig.

I have to learn to trust myself. All parents do. After all, there is no one who knows our kids better than we do. We’re the ones who can tell when a baby’s cry is for hunger or for a diaper change. We’re the ones who see when a toddler tantrum means she needs a nap. Or food. We’re the ones who recognize school drama in a teen’s eye-roll or heavy sigh.

We know our kids. We know what makes them tick. We know what makes them cry. We know what they need day in and day out. What we really need to know is that we’re doing a good job, and it took a series of injuries to remind me.

In just two weeks, this sporty kid of mine hurt herself three different times. We’ve been to urgent care twice – once when my gut told me it was serious and once against my better judgment when I really thought she was fine. I was right both times. I forget sometimes that I kinda know what I’m doing. 

But give me a week, and I’m sure I’ll be wearing my Mom Fail crown again.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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