This time, though, I wasn’t panicking that I had some mysterious medical illness.
That’s because, when I noticed that my daughter had broken out in a rash, I panicked that she had some mysterious illness. So, after I put her to bed, I consulted the internet for accurate, reliable medical information.
It should have reassured me to discover that “rashes are rarely urgent and almost never require an urgent page to your doctor.” http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/skin-care/rashes. I also tried to rationalize that, since it had been pretty hot that day, it was probably just a heat rash. I mean, she didn’t have a fever or anything.
But I really needed to be sure; that was the only thing that would truly help. So I googled heat rash. After reading the definition on multiple sites, I concluded that her rash didn’t fit the description. Then I searched for pictures/images that I could compare it to. Again, it didn’t look like a match.
What kind of rash was this??? Now my anxiety was really kicking into high gear. Since it was almost 7:00 pm, her pediatrician‘s office was closed. I knew I could call the on-call service, but I had a competing anxiety about calling when it wasn’t an emergency.
Was this an emergency??? I pulled up the pediatrician’s website. The rash didn’t seem to satisfy any of the criteria for what the doctor felt was an emergency. Neither did having an increasingly panicked, irrational mother who suffers from a mental disorder.
I just had to keep “researching.” Going back to my original source, Dr. Sears‘ site, I discovered that there is a type of rash that does require immediate medical evaluation called petechiae or purpura.
Again, I completed the same cycle, though this time more frantically. I read countless versions of the definition, looked at an endless number of disturbing pictures, and attempted to make a rational comparison to my daughter’s rash.
But by that point, any real comparison or resolution was hopeless. As usually happens after these bouts, though I was no closer to an answer, I was emotionally drained.
That’s when something really strange happened. Since I was already on the internet, I mindlessly checked my e-mail. Then I checked the Groupon and Living Social sites, like I do everyday. Then I read my two favorite magazines online. Amazingly, I was actually able to put aside my daughter’s rash and focus my attention on other things!!! Admittedly, it was all trivial stuff, but the fact that I was doing it meant it wasn’t meaningless.
I was even able to keep a cool head when she threw up later that night, and when her rash was significantly worse the next morning. I just waited until the pediatrician’s office opened, and calmly called and made her an appointment. Then I went to work, and let someone else take her to the appointment!
So did I experience some sort of breakthrough? After years of therapy and medication, was this a sign of progress?
Turns out, my daughter had strep throat, which made being proud of myself feel a little weird. But all I had to do was give her an antibiotic, and she would be fine.
But how much was I supposed to give her again? Did I give her too much? Did I somehow forget that I already gave it to her and give her an extra dose? Did I…