By Sue Hubbard, M.D.
I imagine that you have heard the saying, "Motherhood is the necessity of invention." It seems I must use this saying often, as I can overhear my nurses quoting me and using the phrase as well.
There are many times I find myself in an exam room with a young patient and his or her mother when the mother says, "I forgot the..." Sometimes it is a diaper (easily available in any pediatrician's office), maybe a bottle (we have those too), a child's favorite "lovie" (dire), and in many cases a pacifier. Getting through the office visit without some of these necessities may make not only the child miserable, but also the parent.
Just the other day an adorable 5-month-old and her mother came in because the baby had a cold and some eye drainage. Her mother was concerned that she might have an ear infection.
The first part of my exam was easy, and the baby had a clear chest and no respiratory distress. She let me look at her nose and throat as well. Then it was time for the ear exam; the ear canals were waxy and I could not see her ear drum. This means I had to use an instrument to remove the wax from the ear canal to get a good look at her ear drum.
The first ear was cleaned out and her ear drum was clear! But the second ear was more difficult to clean and the baby started to wail. Her mother looked frantically for something to soothe the baby, but she had forgotten her diaper bag.
Once the ear canal was cleaned, the baby was pronounced ear infection free. While this was great news for the mother, the baby continued to cry loudly and angrily.
I was trying to discuss the cold with the mother, but it was difficult for either of us to hear with the baby screaming. What to do? The only thing I had in the exam room was the basket of lollipops and stickers that we offer to children at the end of their exam. I tried making a "sticker pop" on a tongue depressor to entertain and distract the baby; no such luck. The mother then looked at the lollipops, took out a grape one, unwrapped it and put in the baby's mouth. Instant calm and smile on her face! There was hysterical laughter from both of us as we took a picture to send to the father with the caption, "Baby's first food!" Priceless.
Motherhood really is the necessity of invention!
Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. "The Kid's Doctor" TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid's Doctor e-book, "Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today's Teen," is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.
Printed in the April 30, 2017 - May 13, 2017 edition