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  • 'We Were First-Time Parents Who Had to Bring Our 1-Year-Old to the Emergency Room'

    Trips to the hospital can be scary, especially when it's our kids who are undergoing a procedure. There are ways to deal with the stress that comes with these situations.
    by Kat Patiño-Marquez .
  • Parenting can be a lonely job. What helps is having a community who cheers and listens without judgment. And that's what our "Real Parenting" section is for: a space where parents can share the joys, pain and the mess that is parenthood.
    PHOTO BY Katrina P. Marquez

    It was a typical Tuesday night, and my husband was still working night shifts at his previous job. My then 1-year-old daughter Meghan and I were at home, all set for bedtime. As she was enjoying the last few minutes of her favorite TV show, I was already relaxing in bed, waiting for her to climb up next to me, and then we call my husband to bid him good night. Instead, he got a frantic phone call from me, urging him to rush back home.

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    When the show she was watching ended, Meghan unexpectedly rushed toward our bed. She tripped on her feet, causing her to fall forward and bang her chin on the edge of our bed frame. Seeing her bloody mouth and chin sent me into utter panic.

    My daughter sustained an inch-long gash on her chin, and it was bleeding profusely. Without my husband, I was in hysterics. Thankfully, I knew how to stop the bleeding using a clean washcloth and some ice. We got inside the car, and I brought her to the nearest hospital.

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    Despite having a one-inch gash on her chin, our daughter Meghan still mustered smiles for the camera.
    PHOTO BY Katrina P. Marquez
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    Upon arrival, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve had similar accidents before, but I didn’t know what to do when a 1-year-old sustains such an injury. I knew the cut was too deep for ordinary bandages, so fear started creeping in as the idea of her getting stitched up filled my mind. I grew even more anxious when I could not reach our family pediatrician.

    My husband, who shortly arrived after we did, was also in a state of worry. We were first-time parents who didn’t expect such an event would happen too soon. What other effects could the injury have on her? Would she need a head scan? Her gums were also bleeding. Questions kept pouring in.

    After she got cleaned up, and the wound was sterilized, the doctor on duty explained the wound just needed to be sealed. Thankfully, our local hospital was equipped with tissue adhesive, which made the procedure easier and less painful. After the procedure, we walked out of the emergency room with a badge of honor.

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    The incident, though scary, only required a simple procedure, and yet I was stricken with panic and fear. I could only imagine the worry and stress a parent goes through if their child has to undergo major surgery. What if it involves allergies and fractured bones? Even the introduction of a new vaccine can sprout fright in many parents. What do you do and how do you deal with the anxiety caused by pediatric medical procedures?

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    How do you deal with parental anxiety related to pediatric medical procedures

    Trips to the emergency room or the hospital are never easy. Our fears are natural, but worrying can lead to doubt. The last thing we want is to make an uninformed decision. Ease the concern you feel when your child undergoes a medical procedure by doing research and communicating with your doctor. Here are more tips I learned along the way:

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    Choose a doctor you can trust

    My husband and I are blessed that our children’s pediatrician was the same doctor I had when I was growing up. We know we can trust her entirely with the well-being of our kids. She keeps herself well-informed of advances in medical procedures and technology, conducts her own research about new medications, and she knows about the best pharmaceuticals in the market.

    If you’re about to welcome a bundle of joy into your family, make sure you choose the right pediatrician for you. Your doctor is a helpful partner in ensuring your children’s optimal health, and you should be confident in their prescriptions of any treatment and medicines.

    Ask for recommendations from friends and family — it helps to have options. Check if they’ve been recognized by medical organizations or if they’re a respected doctor in their field of expertise. These things can help ease your worry, and you can entrust your children to someone you can count on.

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    Six months after his first fit, our son Andrew had another case of febrile convulsions. Doctors advised his confinement due to several fits, which happened within 24 hours period. They had him tested for epilepsy. Despite our reluctance, we trusted our doctors, and Andrew was cleared within a few days.
    PHOTO BY Katrina P. Marquez

    Always get a second opinion

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    Even if you have the right pediatrician, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion from another doctor – especially if you’re dealing with a delicate procedure. You can even get a third opinion if you feel the need for it. Get their feedback about the method and see what else they can recommend.

    If they agree with the prescription of your first doctor, it should be enough to let you know it’s the best treatment you can provide your child. These doctors are experts in their field, and their job is to treat their patients so they will do what is best based on your child’s condition. Even if a procedure is intimidating, it should alleviate your stress knowing that your child is getting the best treatment possible.

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    Do your own research

    The reason why we get anxious about any medical treatment is the fear of the unknown. Most of the time, we’re wary of going forward with any procedure because we don’t know the risks and we ultimately don’t know the effects it will have on our children.

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    Keep yourself informed by researching on your own and meeting with the doctor to ask questions. Ask away – if you’re dealing with a specific condition, ask about the symptoms and possible causes. If he prescribed a new medicine, ask about the possible side effects as well. When doing your research, remember to read reliable sources. Gathering enough information and having open communication with your child’s doctor can help you make well-informed decisions as well as understand the situation at hand.

    Andrew, 3 years old, and Meghan, 6 years old
    PHOTO BY Katrina P. Marquez

    Communicate clearly with your doctor

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    Aside from asking the right questions, you can also discuss with your doctor the things you learned from your own research. If anything concerns you, bring it up with him. Your doctor is there to help you and work with you so you can make the best decisions about your child’s well-being.

    If you’re hesitant about any medication or treatment, let them know. Don’t be afraid to express your fears. This way, your doctor can give you the necessary information to keep your mind at ease or provide you with alternatives you can look into.

    As much as possible, avoid making hasty decisions without clearing it with them first. If you don’t communicate with your doctor, you run the risk of complications, making matters worse for your child.

    Kat and her husband, Jay, value the advice they get from family and friends.
    PHOTO BY Katrina P. Marquez

    Have a good support system

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    Anxiety, fear, and stress are all part of being a parent. You’re given full responsibility for a young life, and you have to make the decisions on their behalf. Knowing that one wrong turn can have serious consequences can put a lot of pressure on a parent so having a sound support system can alleviate some of that stress.

    When my son experienced his first case of febrile convulsions, I was utterly clueless about it. Seeing my son having a seizure, unresponsive, and with his eyes rolled back gave me the fright of my life. I thought I would lose him and I was scared he wouldn’t recover. Thankfully, my parents informed me that it’s something that happens a lot in boys his age and it was something they went through with my brothers.

    Talking to other parents (especially those with older kids) about their own experiences or telling your family and friends about your worries can definitely take away some of your fears through their advice and stories. Make sure you have a support system behind you that you can depend on.

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