That Sound is My Head Hitting a Wall

It's been a very frustrating time.


My daughter Jane, 10, has been sick.  She came home from school last Tuesday with a low-grade fever and then on Wednesday, when she was still congested and miserable, I took her to the Minute Clinic, thinking she had a sinus infection.

We've never seen the same nurse practitioner twice at the Minute Clinic and the one we had on Wednesday seemed  She took a very long time and was about the refer us to the hospital for a chest x-ray, saying she suspected pneumonia, when I told her that I would be glad to follow up with my regular doctor but that I knew Jane wasn't extremely sick.  I've SEEN Jane when she is extremely sick and this was more like a cold.  I told the nurse I suspected a sinus infection--based on my extensive medical training as a mother of two--and she gave us a prescription for antibiotics.  She did not do a strep test because she said that Jane's throat wasn't red.

I should have insisted.  I remember thinking that I probably wouldn't even fill the prescription for the antibiotics because I didn't have a lot of confidence in the nurse practitioner's competence and I should probably take Jane to her regular doctor.  But then I thought if it WAS strep, better to get Jane on the antibiotics.

Jane spent a miserable week, sometimes spiking a fever.  When, after five days on the antibiotics, she was still running a fever of 101 degrees, I called, made an appointment for her at her regular pediatrician, took her in and received the official diagnosis guessed it...strep throat.

(The fourth bout of strep throat since January. My theory is that there is an asymptomatic carrier in her class because there are only 16 kids in her class and SOMEONE ALWAYS HAS STREP.)

AND, the doctor spoke sharply to me about the wisdom of taking children to those "doc-in-a-box" places, which exist mainly to hand out prescriptions for antibiotics. He said the antibiotics for the sinus infection were not enough to knock out the strep infection.

Which I didn't know, despite my extensive medical training as a mother of two.

So, basically, because I didn't listen to my instincts regarding the incompetent nurse practitioner and take Jane to her real pediatrician, Jane got to suffer an entire week with an illness that could have been cured by the proper dosage of antibiotics in about two days.  Her doctor --the real doctor with the actual relationship with her--was completely exasperated with me and said, "You seem to have very good parenting instincts.  Perhaps you should listen to them."


Then my daughter Ana (13) had to fill out an application to be included in an academically-based school club. She is very scholarly and has remarkable grades and this is a good fit for her. The application read like a mini-résumé, which, for some reason, kind of set my teeth on edge. There were all sorts of questions about leadership roles and community service and achievement awards, etc. --as if just surviving middle school with her sense of humor intact wasn't enough of a challenge,

Anyway,  I strongly urged her not to pad her answers --not to put down anything but her big achievements like achieving high honors in every grading period since she started middle school and her belts earned in Tae Kwon Do. I told her that her grades spoke for themselves and clearly, her primary job was not assembling activities to put on her résumé, but rather, to learn to balance school, life as a new teenager, and dreaming.  That the most important thing was to believe that who she is, without fluff, was ENOUGH.

Yeah, I was really wrong.

(I don't know how many times I have to learn that the world doesn't work the way I THINK IT SHOULD. I wish that I could learn this lesson over and over and over again (since apparently, that's what it's going to take) without it adversely affecting people I love and want to support.)

Ana was not accepted into the club AND when we followed up to find out why, the coordinating teacher told us that she should have put even the smallest things down and let the judges decide if they were relevant. She should have put down the small fundraisers she championed for the animal shelter (lemonade stands and the mass production of Puff Puff Pals, which she sold for $2 a piece). She should have listed all the times she was the leader in a class project.  The more the better.

So cute, the Puff Puff pals!


I'm back on Facebook, after a two-and-a-half week hiatus.  I missed it and obviously, I need more contact with normal people because the people who live in my head are decidedly not normal.  You can find me here if you are interested.


Unknown said…
Smooches lady. I've had that week/month/year before too.
hollygee said…
I'm thinking, thunking that I wouldn't want to belong to that club -- even if seemingly well matched -- if this is the way they make their decision.
Damsel said…
I've done that, too - where I just somehow don't go with my mothering instincts (for whatever reasons) and it comes back to bite my kiddos in the butt. Then I feel worse! But don't worry ... it's one case of strep. She probably won't even remember it. :)

As for the club, THEY'RE the losers. I know it's not a lot of consolation for Ana, but just look who they missed out on! She can be in my club!
Perdita Stevens said…
If your doctor *really* said "the strep virus" you need a new doctor - strep is a bacterium, which is a completely different thing from a virus and needs different treatment.

For future reference, also, antibiotics are completely ineffective (I mean, no more effective than placebo) for sinus infections. Here's one of the research abstracts that says so:
and here's a new item reporting it:
Something to do with the blood supply around the sinuses being so poor that the antibiotics never actually get to work on the bacteria there.
Barb Matijevich said…
Perdita, that was my error. Thanks for pointing it out. I will fix it. --Barb
Michelle P. said…
I think we have all been there, done that! Hugs to you my friend!
hokgardner said…
It makes me cringe to think that middle school clubs are that rigid. Things have changed since I was in ms.
Barb Matijevich said…
I appreciate your votes of confidence but it was the National Junior Honor Society. I don't think it's changed much since we were in Middle School--it's just that they only had a certain number of slots and had to use SOME sort of criteria to weed kids out. The kids who were turned away were the kids who left sections blank on the application. It was my fault that Ana had left spots blank.

joannamauselina said…
I have read and also heard from an actual allergist that using saline and a neti pot is more effective on a sinus infection than antibiotics. This presupposes that one can bring oneself to actually use the neti pot. I don't think I would be one of those who could. But maybe once one got over the disgust at the idea and the terrible feeling of water up the nose.

I told my daughter to write clear, cogent prose on her GRE essay. I was shocked when she got the lowish percentile she did, as she is a very good writer, and got in the 99th on several other things. Then I read something about the graders of those things liking verbose obscure language with very complex sentences, and that they didn't care if the resultant essay said anything or not. Bad advice from Mom. I have brooded about my mistake here for a few years.
Lisa said…
It's the southern thing... we do not "brag" about the good deeds we have done, that is boastful and impolite... you're not to blame, my dear!
Unknown said…
wow, the fact that you even need to apply for a middle school club amazes me. talk about starting the pressure and exclusion early!

I have a doc-in-a-box that is really good, PAs trained by my primary provider who is a PA, two locations, open on Sundays. I feel lucky. But yeah, they are often a bit iffy. So, trust yourself more, my dear.
momwhoknits said…
Similar experience - my daughter was trying out for valedictorian - I told her "Go with a little humour (nothing over the top), don't make too much fun of the teachers and don't quote Dr. Seuss "Oh the places you'll go" because everyone quotes Doctor Seuss." The winner made huge fun of the teachers AND quoted Dr. Seuss. Sometimes I think the world is not ready for me as a parent. (Sometimes I think my kids wished I was not THAT parent, either - but they are stuck with me.)
kim said…
Stop beating yourself up. Life is all trial and error, right?
Shaatzie said…
I hate to date myself, but this was "Irma Bombeck good—our families really are our source of humor and angst!

I'm sorry she didn't get in the club, but if it was really meant for her, she would have. I think they missed the boat on having a really great, modest young lady in their midst.
The Dister said…
I'm sorry life is thunking right now. I'm sure that things will go MUCH better with Ana's Harvard (Yale? MIT?) application.

I've probably already told you this but I was Jane (in a totally strep-throat kind of way) from the age of 10 to 30. I had strep throat probably.....a dozen times (at least). Screaming, seering, strep throat so many times it clouds my childhood memories. When I was about 29'ish, I went to a walk in, a doctor I had never seen before assumed it was strep, gave me antibiotics and a week later I was in the hospital with tonsilitis. BAD tonsilitis.

My point? Has anyone suggested taking her tonsils out?

It's not ideal but it might spare her several more bouts of strep...poor puppy. I feel her pain.
Susan said…
My son missed out on a award he was superbly qualified for because his advisor advised him poorly - thud, too.

The doc thing is so hard sometimes. I can't tell you how may times I have been sure it was strep when it was not...we can only do our best and not beat ourselves up because it does not help.
Susan said…
Aw, Barb, don't beat yourself up. Raising kids doesn't come with a manual. We do the best that we can and hope that we do more good than harm in the long haul. You're a terrific mom! Guilt goes with the territory.
And it's rough being in a part of the world where you haven't known a number of moms since grade school. Back in Austin, when our kid was applying for a magnet school, we would also have assumed that the application resume wasn't all that serious. She was only eleven! Fortunately, we knew other parents we could waylay in the halls and the parking lot; they told us to write down every last detail on the app. Otherwise, we wouldn't have done it. I miss the face time we had back there and find cyber-time to be no substitute at all.
The Dister said…
How's the little poppet feeling? On the mend (I hope)?
Mrs. G. said…
After "failing" the Meyers-Briggs and by failing I mean didn't get two jobs after taking them, I learned that you are supposed to fudge the truth--of course I've NEVER thought of stealing in my entire life. I feel for you and understand why you would approach the application as a parent desiring a well adjusted kid.

Fack that club. There's a chance it's filled with blow hards in training.