My one year old hurt his wrist, and the first thing I thought of before taking him to the emergency room was "I hope this isn't enough to get DHS involved." (Department of Human Services...social workers)
He fell off my bed this morning before Mass. No big deal, just misjudged where the edge was and plopped right off onto his back. He cried, I held him. He was fine. Then he started whimpering during Mass. When we got home, he tried to crawl and his arm gave way from the pain. His wrist was swollen and red. He just laid there and sobbed.
Should I take him to the ER? Should I call our family doctor? Was I overreacting? I have a history of that, you know. But it was the ER that scared me. I one took #4 to the ER, only to decide once I was in the waiting area, that I had completely overreacted and I was going home. No dice. The doctor told me that if I walked out the door he would call Child Protective Services and they would meet me at my front door to take her away, and that I would probably lose my other children as well. He admitted us to the local children's hospital on a 72 hour watch, they did a spinal tap, and put her on an IV. None of which was needed it turned out, because at the end of our enforced 3 days in the hospital, the doctor told me "I think you were right. You just overreacted."
I don't go to the ER for just anything anymore. They have to have a limb hanging by a thread, or be on fire, or something even more serious before I admit these people to take a peek inside my family. It makes me nervous. I could lose my children over something as simple as a sprained wrist on a one year old and a doctor who doesn't like big families, or thinks I'm rude, or is having a bad day.
It's a sad day in America when you have to consider whether or not you will lose your children when assessing how much help they need. Is he in enough pain for me to risk it? When the pain of your child has to be weighed against the risk to your family, I think medicine has failed us.
This is the problem with the nanny state which is popping up around us. When adults are no longer considered to be capable of making decisions, parents are the enemy, and children belong to the "village which is raising them", when we are all considered to be incapable of thinking for ourselves, that is past the point at which a system has become abusive and needs to be reformed. Doctors and nurses are not social workers and should not be put into the position of constant suspicion.
That's my rant for today. My child's pain should be bigger than someone else's political agenda. It's not. Therefore, I called our general practitioner who told me to wrap it and bring him in first thing in the morning. He said, "I'm sure it's fine, but we'll check it in the office tomorrow. My big concern is that an injured wrist in a one year old would set off child abuse alarms in the minds of the people who would look at him. If it seems worse, call me and I'll meet you at the ER." It's nice to know I'm not a paranoid lunatic, and that we have a very nice doctor.