The Dilemma

“Mommy, would you come here?” calls my son.

As I trudge into his room, as I seem to do every night after he’s been tucked into bed, I speculate.  If I were a gambler, I’d bet that a joint hurts.  Which will it be tonight?

Sure enough, when I arrive in his room, I hear him declare, “My knee hurts.”  I turn on the light, examine the joint in question, and ask the usual questions:  When did it start hurting? Do you know the cause? Does anything make it better? Does anything make it worse? Does anything else hurt?

Tonight we’re lucky. It’s only one knee.  Nothing out of the ordinary hurts, just the usual stuff.  “The usual stuff” being his ankles and a headache, plus he doesn’t feel good.  Sometimes it’s his back, often it’s both wrists or his heels.  This kid has more aches and pains than his grandmothers.

It’s not stalling tactics; he isn’t trying to stay up later.  It’s almost as if he can keep things in the background while he’s up and running around, but once he settles into bed, the pain starts screaming for attention.

Dejected, I wonder what to do.  Is there really any point in taking him to see our family physician?  I anticipate x-rays of the joint-du-joir, an expense that would yield no diagnosis of the problem.  Next, a blood draw that might or might not show any abnormalities.  Then, I expect some deliberating… is this nothing, or is this ERA… and eventually a referral to a pediatric rheumatologist.  More poking and prodding and time spent.  Eventually we’d get an NSAID prescription.  I’m inclined to skip all the expensive, time-consuming diagnostic process and just give the kid OTC children’s ibuprofen.

Sometimes doctors give a medicine to see if it will help. I can certainly do that on my own without spending a couple thousand dollars.  If the ibu works, problem solved.  If it doesn’t help, then at least that provides more data for when I eventually do take him to the doctor.

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2 thoughts on “The Dilemma

  1. What a conundrum! I think you’ve chosen the best answer for now, Socks. See if the ibu works, but if this gets worse or continues as a frequent problem, take your son to your doctor. I used to get awful “leg-aches” when I was a child. They always seemed to start withing a few minutes of going to bed for the night, and always in just one leg at a time. My folks gave me baby aspirin (I’m dating myself, here), but the real “cure” was my dad’s old blue terrycloth bathrobe wrapped tightly around the aching leg–and then, my dad would sit on that leg for a while. The pressure and warmth were so comforting, and I’m sure that comfort also included the fact that my dad, whom I loved very much, showed me such concern and took the trouble to help as best he could. I’d usually fall asleep with him sitting there, and when I woke up in the morning, the leg was fine.

    I’m sure you’re worried that your son might be showing symptoms of juvenile RA, since your daughter–and you–also have it. I grok your worry and concern, and hope that his pains are simply “growing pains.”

    • Thank you. The more I read about psoriatic arthritis, the more convinced I am that that’s what I have, and yes, I am afraid my son does, too :( BUT when the doctors won’t do more than prescription-strength NSAID, it almost seems pointless to make appointments and have the kids hating dr appts :(

      What a great memory of your dad spending time to tend you!

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