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When to Speak Up

March 25th, 2005

Friday Advice Column for Neurotic Mothers and Others

(This column is not meant to substitute for regular medical care and was not written by a medical professional, savvy?)

Q: One of the kids that I take to school (carpool) had a URI (upper
respitory infection, cough, congestion, hacking up a lung, etc) for a
good 2 months and his parents never took him to a doctor. Not only did
I feel for the poor kid, I really didn’t want him hacking all over my
son and giving it to him. Of course we all caught it. I never said
anything to his parents, though I wanted to. Do you think I suck for
being a chicken? What should I have said? His mom is a very sweet lady
that I value as a friend.

A: Really, is there anything more likely to start World War III between
friends than the “He’s not contagious!” “Yes, he is!” fight?

Well, maybe if a woman was getting around with another woman’s husband.

I don’t know how to keep quiet. God knows my husband wishes I would,
and the kids agree, but I just don’t. This is a curse and a blessing,
but my friends are used to it. If we can’t be honest with each other
(not cruel, but honest) and help support each other, then what’s the

So, when I hear a kid coughing and
hacking, especially a kid who’s in my care, I have been known to say
things like, “Wacky Girl was coughing and coughing like that, and the
doctor kept saying it was nothing. But I knew something was wrong. They
x-rayed her lungs and she had double pneumonia. And that’s when she
finally, after two years of having it, got diagnosed with asthma. Go
get him checked out, would you? I’m tired of us all being sick so
much!” (This makes it an “us” thing, not a “you” thing.)

True story — WG was only one the first time she had pneumonia, and
that’s when the asthma started; three when the double pneumonia hit.
Tough times. And no, I’m not one for unnecessary x-rays, but she had
been coughing for three months, colds and more colds, when they finally
x-rayed her. I feel like we have it in check now, but it’s still scary.

And when the doctors say, “It’s the same virus he’s had, it’s nothing”
say back, “For three months???” And maybe find another damn doctor.
This is not medical advice, it’s mommy advice! Have a good weekend.

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