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A Mother’s Medical Knowledge.

Mom medical school 101.

I always wondered how my mother knew so much about so many things. She could answer just about any question and cure all ills with a grilled cheese, pastina, and ginger ale. When I was pregnant, I wondered if I too would be blessed with the gift of ‘all knowing.’  Being pregnant was the best time of my life. Shortly into the pregnancy, I began to experience weird and wonderful things happening to me as I prepared to become a mother. These changes were both visible and invisible.

Somewhere between the second and third trimester while the baby is growing fingers, toes and hearing the mother’s voice, the expectant mother is receiving in depth medical training. A type of fast track medical school education targeted for soon to be moms. I am not minimizing the impact a dad has on children and in their own rite, they receive a wealth of knowledge.  It is just different.

The questions keep coming!

When a child is an infant, parents turn to the pediatrician for help and advice. Pediatricians are amazing doctors. When the baby becomes a toddler, the mother’s education grows deeper and questions begin. It starts with a simple, “mama, my boo-boo hurts” and soon takes on a life of its own developing into the need for full blown medical advice.

Jack starts serious conversations with the caveat, “Mom, don’t freak out.”

Amelia begins with “I have a question.”

Really guys? Here are just a few of my favorites, all of them true.

  • “Mom, I have bump on my leg, do you know what it is? Wait, I will text you a picture.”
  • “Mom, what do I take for a headache? Well, a headache and a sore throat? Oh, and I am nauseous.”
  • “What does it mean when your stomach won’t stop growling?”
  • “I have had the hiccups for like 12 hours straight. What do I do? I think I am going to go to the health center”
  • “Mom, I have a stabbing pain in my stomach.”
  • “I have a question. I was on the elliptical and now my knee hurts. Should I  call the orthopedic doctor? Maybe it is damaged.”
  • “I cut my ankle shaving; how do I stop the bleeding?”
  • “Mom, something is wrong.” (ok, can you elaborate?)
  • “Mom, should I go to the health center? I think I have strep.”
  • This is a favorite from middle school: “OK Mom, so I sneezed 35 times in math class today. Lucas was counting them!  Anyway, I need to come home.  I think I am allergic to something here.” Really Jack? Go back to class, you are fine.

My face is breaking out. I think I got a tick bite. How do I know if I am dehydrated?

My favorite are the calls where the ‘illness’ may be associated with over consumption, and I don’t mean chicken wings. Take 2 aspirin, drink water, and call me in the morning! Usually Jack’s calls are cause for concern like Rhabdomyolysis, or a reaction to a random Alabama plant that caused a skin rash. These both ended with hospitalization. Amelia’s tend to be slightly more frequent and often bizarre. Amelia’s rarely end in hospitalization. Her questions tend to be ‘female’ in nature and kudos to our GYN who is patient with her barrage of questioning. I may have to move to Italy when Amelia is pregnant. I fear for the questioning that will follow!

Italian mothers get special medical training.

Italian mothers are equipped with a higher level of medical knowledge that launches radar to determine:

  1. If your children are lying about anything.
  2. If your children are truly ill.
  3. The skills to tell the difference.

Is it a tumor, cancer, infectious disease, rare disorder, a mutation of the gene as a result of not being 100% Italian. If they want to stay home from school or skip class, is it because they did not study, stayed up too late watching Netflix, are hungover, a combination of the afore mentioned.

My mother could smell a scheme a mile away. I could be bleeding profusely and holding a broken arm after an epic bicycle crash. She would say, “You’re fine. Put ice on it. Want a grilled cheese?”

Dr. Mom is a great job.

Most times I laugh about the questions, other times I am concerned.  Either way, I hope the calls never stop coming. Someday, if I am lucky, Amelia and Jack will have children and my medical license will once again be activated. I really hope I get that chance.

kids in Hammock

Amelia and Jack Fall 2003.

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