Saturday 18 November 2017

Amanda Brunker: 'When your child is unwell trust your gut not the opinion of a doctor'

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin
Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Amanda Brunker

'Tis another week and I'm back with my most controversial statement yet. It rocks the core of Irish beliefs, but over the last 10 years, this one piece of advice has served me well.

To honour International Women's Day, I'm directing this information firmly at the mammies, to empower us to believe in ourselves.

So here goes: when your child is unwell, trust your gut, not the opinion of a doctor.

As I run and dive for cover, I ask you to ponder that idea for a moment before reading on.

Okay, digested that? Let's continue.

To simplify things and to avoid confusion, I'm not saying GPs don't know what they're doing. They're wonderful, they're great and we love them. But sometimes (shock horror) they're not on their game and if we feel like they've diagnosed our child wrongly, it's okay to query them and perfectly reasonable to get a second opinion.

To a certain age group in Ireland doctors are gods. Those people don't believe in questioning authority and that is dangerous.

If we were to buy a new car or handbag we'd shop about and consider our best options, so why would we just get the one quote on something as important as our child's health?

Remember, medical practitioners are only human, so of course they're open to making the odd mistake. And while I'm not suggesting for a second that we avoid them and their wealth of knowledge, I'm saying that as mammies, no one will understand your child as well as you. So trust your gut if you feel like a doc is ignoring any concerns you might have.

I was lucky to learn this information early. Let me share a story that happened almost a decade ago.

My son Edward was about three-months-old and he had been experiencing major spikes in body temperature. Literally out of nowhere his temperature would soar. He would turn bright red and need to be stripped of all clothes, have cold clothes placed on his neck, backs of wrists, knees and feet and shovelled a spoonful of trusty Nurofen or Calpol.

It was quite stressful as I didn't know when it would happen and slept with one eye open most nights. It was especially messy when it would happen in public as other mothers would give me disapproving looks as I walked through shopping centres with a child dressed only in a nappy.

Long story short, I brought Ed to a GP and explained the situation. Her response still disgusts me to this day. These were her words verbatim: "You are either being an hysterical first-time mum and overreacting. Or, your child is a FREAK!"

Needless to say, I took my son away from her and never returned. I soon learnt this happens to many babies. And it's something they grow out of. So if it is happening to you, hang in there, it will pass, but don't just take my word on it. Do seek a more sympathetic voice to assure and guide you.

Either way, there have been other situations that have occurred which would terrify you, but my advice today is extremely important.

When it comes to your child's health, always trust your gut. As no one will ever know or love your child as much as you.


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