I haven’t written about Juvenile Arthritis is a while. Why? Because we haven’t had any juvenile arthritis flares. JA can be tricky like that. It slinks back into it’s little hidey-hole only to charge back into our life when we least expect it.
But last week, I walked into the living room to find my daughter sprawled out on our ottoman saying that she hurt. I thought she was joking. Who puts a neatly folded blanket beneath them and perfectly positions herself to be seen by her mother in the middle of the living room? Pea does. She likes to set the scene and act out the dramas running through her head. So I laughed, thought it was cute, and instagrammed it.
And then I looked at her knees and one was swollen. She wasn’t being dramatic. JA decided to make an uncharacteristic summer visit.
JA tends to rule our world when it is around leaving both Pea and myself feeling helpless.
We hate that feeling.
We went to the pediatrician for a follow up. As usual, Pea was her happy, sassy self. The doctor prescribed a steroid to bring down the inflammation and we went on our happy way.
Then, she got carsick on the way to the pharmacy. Though not normal, it’s also not an abnormal occurrence for her.
The next morning she woke up with a fever and parked herself on the couch refusing to eat, drink, or speak….which is VERY abnormal. She can be at a 9 on the pain scale and will still eat and sing.
I always check the kids’ throats with a pen light when there is a sudden fever. So back to the doctors office we went. Pea hates needles and medicines and most of all, she despises throat swabs. There was a 100% chance of a throat culture on the horizon
She also got sick as we were on the way and had to suffer the indignity of being quickly ushered through the waiting room without a shirt on.
The throat swab was a battle. The two finger sticks were another battle. The culture came back positive for strep as expected and the nurse practioner offered me two choices.
A one time antibiotic shot or ten days of oral antibiotics. I turned Pea around and explained the two choices to her.
And the nurse practioner looked at me like I was the worst mother in the world for letting my five year old decide.
I wanted to say, this child has been at the mercy of her own immune system and joints for most of her life. She is forced to endure tests, regular labs, medications, allergies, and she’s been held down, screaming, three times in the last fifteen minutes. If she prefers to add another medicine rather than be stuck AGAIN then that is up to her.
Instead, I looked into Pea’s eyes and repeated to the nurse that the decision was hers.
Sometimes all it takes is a small measure of control to help a little one through a tough moment. Tweet
There are many other choices that are left to me and her father to make. There was no harm in this small choice. Either way, she was the one that would either get the shot or have to take that nasty medicine every day for ten days. So turn those crazy eyes somewhere else, lady. This is my child.
This is my battle against the potential psychological damage that having a chronic pain condition can inflict on my child. She will not be taught to helplessly allow decisions to be made for her regarding her health. She will be raised to be informed. She will be taught to take control.