A Mother’s Intuition

So, I want to talk a little about mother’s intuition.

I have always believed this is a “thing”. Wayyy back at the beginning of my nursing career I remember a very wise pediatrician once telling me “never never never ignore a other’s intuition”. Dr. Uy was a smart guy. Even when medical tests came up saying there was nothing wrong, he believed in the power of a mother’s “gut” and the sense that there was something that had perhaps not been found yet. Something that maybe could not yet be seen, but was there. And that leads me to the WHY reason I am writing this post.

My son Ty is 16. He is hands down one of the most athletic people I have ever met. The kid played in the state basketball tournament his freshman year, ran state track his freshman year, and played varsity football his sophomore year. He is poised to do the same this next year. That being said… the past 6 months he has been complaining of knee pain in his right knee.

It started out with high jumping… and then progressed with running. He would come home with a partially swollen right knee and he would sit and rub it all night after a practice. He would complain of it giving out and would say he felt a sharp pain in a very specific area on the outside of the knee when he pushed on it.

Mind you this kid is not a complainer. He has missed zero days of school and zero practices. He does not take medication, seldom complains of a single thing but he kept coming back to this knee pain. He would say “mom I just don’t get it… it hurts here” and point. Or “mom what can I do for the pain? What can I take?”

Sometimes being a nurse works against you. Not wanting my kid to be that “one whiny kid” I kept loading him up with Ibuprofen, telling him to ice his knee. That all came to a stop in December when he came crashing down at basketball from a rebound and could not get up again. Literally… could. not. walk.

I got a call from his trainer at school. I hear him say he thinks he tore his meniscus. I heard mention of crutches and icing and therapy. In my gut though… because of the history we had had and the months where I had put a band-aid over the issue I KNEW as a mother something was wrong. I KNEW that there had to be some underlying cause and we needed to get it addressed before he had more issues

I called the first ortho group I had heard raving reviews about. Not going to mention the practice, but I had heard wonderful things about their care. It was close to 2 hours from us, but I did not care. I made the first avail appointment a week late and we set off to get some answers. The physician rubbed me wrong from the get go. I had driven 2 hours to see this physician everyone raved about. My sons knee was obviously swollen and hot. He could not fully flex or extend the joint and he was in obvious pain. This physician we had heard so much about spent less than 5 minutes with us. His diagnosis? Meniscal tear. His recommended course of treatment? 3 weeks of physical therapy. I flat out asked for an MRI.

In my gut I knew his diagnosis was wrong. It didn’t make sense. Lesson number 1 to all physicians- know your patients. This was a STUDENT ATHLETE. No therapy could begin to touch what the kid did every day in practice. No therapy could emulate what those knees went through on a daily basis and no therapist could work a miracle on such a swollen joint. I flat out disagreed with EVRYTHING this guy was saying.

I did get the MRI ordered though… thank God. My son and I left there frustrated, my son was angry. “Its not going to work mom- I know my body, I take very good care of myself. Something is wrong”

Despite these same concerns voiced by me to the physician he did not even THINK to try a different course of treatment. He ignored the cardinal rule taught to me by that pediatrician so long ago… “Never never never ignore a mother’s intuition.” So begins the next part of my story!

I left that day feeling like there was most definitely something not being caught. I called another medical group in another town and made an appointment with a second orthopedic surgeon. Thank goodness I trusted my gut and did!

Ty was seen 2 weeks later (this was all happening over the holidays so that caused things to slow down a bit) and when we arrived at his second appointment he was in the SAME amount of pain with swelling to that joint. The second physician looked at his MRI and while he agreed with the first that there was a meniscal tear, he disagreed that therapy would solve the issue and scheduled an arthroscopic procedure. To make this long story shorter… Ty had surgery 2 weeks later and had a large rock hard cyst removed from his knee joint. It was compressed in the joint not allowing full range of motion and causing the joint to lock up from it being lodged where there should be free movement. Had he tried to have therapy for the next 3 weeks, the joint would have had a grinding from the rock impeding movement ad it would have caused more damage

Point is I KNEW in my gut something was wrong. We all know our kids …their tendencies, their intricacies. We know who complains and who is tough. We know in our gut when something is not right. We know who complains and who doesn’t. God gave us this powerful maternal instinct that cannot be man made, cannot be replicated and cannot be taught. We have to listen to that voice just as much as anyone else. I am SO glad I listened to my mother’s intuition. Don’t allow anyone to stop you from listening to yours. As my husband said, he would have believed the first doctor and moved on. He is glad I was willing to question his diagnosis and seek a second opinion. Don’t EVER EVER apologize for advocating for your child. This intuition is a gift and one we should learn to listen to more.

~Laura

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