AIBU to not want to feel like rubbish parent because of health staff who've barely - if ever - seen my children

(74 Posts)
charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 19:56:22

Had bit if torrid time last month or so. Could be worse I know but 13 yr old DD had shingles; 10 yr old broke her leg at school; 22 month old - well just nearly two and 6 month old on and of hospital with viral wheeze.

School nurse - who I've never seen at school - called to tell me she had to so an assessment on 10 yr old as she in a and e so much. I understand-I run a children's charity I get it. But when I suggested I was happy with DD development etc. she became demanding that I do assessment and said it was not normal for child to hurt themselves so much and it probably meant she had coordination probs or 'something else' going on.

When DP took her to minor injuries he was made to feel like crisp because he was not dad and they asked 6 times why I wasn't there. Likewise when he took our DS into hospital and I stayed at home with other 3 all they could ask was where is mum?

When I was in with DS last week nurse got angry because I refused to fill in form that checks for child protection because I was looking after wheezy son and because nothing on it was relevant to his care. She became obsessed with how many dads there were to my children and whether I had social worker.

Now final straw health visitor has called - same day so feeling paranoid - to say hospital said DS is obese and they would like to check him.

Like I say I get the need for checks but I am an educated, national expert in education and child development, who has four thriving kids who neither school or GPs have any concerns over.

Now I feel like total failed mum because people who don't know kids have sat in judgement.

TheBrideofMucky Wed 23-Jan-13 20:41:13

Anxiety isn't always the most rational of beasts Phoenix. grin

But feeling under suspicion of hurting your child and that you have to he extra careful to "tick all the right boxes" in future is not a nice feeling. I defy anyone not to feel nervous about that.

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 23-Jan-13 20:41:18

It is difficult to assess a child in the primary care setting without the main care giver present. If this is dad or step parent fine. But it can be frustrating if vital information is missing.

Eg. Have they eaten much today? Dunno. (Helpful in diagnosing appendicitis.)

When did they last past urine? Dunno. (Urine volumes tail off in meningitis.)

What height did they fall from? Dunno. ( Top of tree or branch 3 ft up.)

90% diagnosis is in the history so it has to be accurate if the doctor is to have a chance of getting it right.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 20:42:35

Yes you are all correct. Just that after a rubbish month all this has done has left me bawling my eyes out and feeling crap.

The expertise matters because the nurse went into a five minute spiel on dyspraxia without even asking if I knew anything about it. A basic principle of forming a relationship with anyone in this situations is to respect knowledge whether that is professionally development and/or as
a parent. She did neither. I'd have been happier to talk if she had at least started call asking how DD was.

And we DP has parental authority - legally drawn up and agreed by both me and EX as we both trust him
completely and he works at home while we work away a lot and so
is closer to school, doc etc. and yes he did tell them that.

YABU but I understand how you feel. My dd ended up in A and E after falling out of her high chair. I had strapped her in and turned around to get the tray from the table - unforntualy I hadnt checked the straps were properly clipped shut, she leaned forward and before I could react fell head first onto the floor - scraping her eye on the corner of the tray I had just picked up. I had to take her to A and E to check her eye.

They looked at her eye and within a minute declared she was fine but still I and to answer a few child protection questions and they checked her over clearly looking for anything untoward. Obviously they didnt find anything and I would be lying if I said I it didnt upset me - it did. I was already feeling pretty shit about the whole thing but at the end of the day they dont know me, they dont know if what I say is the truth and they had to check. I just smiled, was polite and cooperative and it was over within a matter of minutes.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 23-Jan-13 20:44:42

You're right TheBride, im sure anxiety isn't a very nice thing to have but ticking boxes on forms isn't really anything to worry about unless there's a problem in the first place. If YOU have a problem then that needs to be sorted doesn't it before its projected onto your kids.

To be honest OP what you said would ring alarm bells with me too.

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 20:44:53

TheBrideofMucky Wed 23-Jan-13 20:41:13

"But feeling under suspicion of hurting your child and that you have to he extra careful to "tick all the right boxes" in future is not a nice feeling. I defy anyone not to feel nervous about that. "

I know all about it and have in fact been unjustly suspected of abuse.

But I can assure you, also from experience, that being told afterwards that failure to spot your dd's condition in time has led to irremedieable damage isn't much better.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 20:52:39

ClippedPhoenix I'm interested-which bit of what I said would ring alarm bells?

Jomato Wed 23-Jan-13 20:53:25

On the parental responsibility point I have found a lot of health professionals are not totally clear on what it means in relation to consent. I think there is definitely a lack of training on the legal issues involved. That being said if he referred to it as parental authority as you did it is likely to cause further confusion. In order to avoid further issues he would be best to take some documentation with him and if anyone then questions it it can be addressed through the complaints procedure so that the staff training issue is addressed.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 20:54:16

Cory I am sorry to hear that. Very hard.

PrettyKitty1986 Wed 23-Jan-13 20:56:15

We had a check up from the hv because ds1 had been to hospital 3 times over the space of 6 months or so. Two really nasty bumps to the head ( the first being when I fell over whilst holding him at around 16 months and thumped his head on the tiled kitchen floor...I was inconsolable for about 2 days, I don't think the doctors got any sense out of me) and one fit due to high temp.
It was almost amusing...because when the hv dropped in unexpectedly to do a check and detailed the three occurances, I had to show her ds1s most recent bump to the head and inform her that actually we'd only just got back from a&e, and it was now 4 occurances. Her face was a picture lol.
I understand why they have to do it though.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 20:58:12

Jomato I totally agree. He has now put paperwork in wallet. Ironically ex took DP eldest son to doctors when he was looking after him while I was having baby and DP was with me (very amicable set up). Consent not even questioned but doc knew he was not dad or step dad.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 23-Jan-13 21:01:54

People usually don't call up a development problem unless there is something wrong.

Your children are going to A&E one after the other with a non biological parent.

You are thwarting filling out forms.

It would make me wonder to be fair.

TheBrideofMucky Wed 23-Jan-13 21:02:36

Sorry to hear that Cory and thanks Phoenix I am much better now.

I worked closely with SS at the time so I think it was a case of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing (i.e. knowing the red flags and realising we could be raising some of them) combined with an anxiety disorder which meant I was convinced the hospital were going to report me and never really recovered from the fear.

Agree with others op (and sorry to hijack) when you have children the box ticking is just something you have to go along with and it can be irritating and you do feel judged but console yourself that the intentions behind it all are good.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 21:10:04

Once to a and e with non biological parent who has legally drawn up parental authority.

Info on form was not clinically relevant and at time my son had sats of 85 and I was anxious to check that O2 was working.

Not sure I got first point on development issue- what do you mean?

Like I say I understand why they have to check things - I have been in their shoes - but the way they do it bloody well matters.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 21:17:13

Its parental responsibility isn't it?

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 21:25:05

We have an document that say he can act with authority of parent on health and other defined areas. School and GP have copies. Works well on whole.

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Jan-13 21:32:39

Honestly, just from your posts you are coming over as prickly and defensive. I understand that - I do, I'm not getting at you AT ALL - but being defensive, not filling in forms, citing your professional knowledge, your partner attending instead of you - all this will throw up red flags. I'm not saying its right, I'm saying it's human nature. I don't want to upset you further, I absolutely believe you are a good parent, but I think you need to think about how you are perceived.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 21:48:39

No I'm down and fed up and trying so hard. After days chasing hospitals for x rays because I was sure she'd broken leg and they said she hadn't - only to find I was right. And weeks of my baby boy struggling to breath needed tlc not judgement. I saved his life because I made the right call and now I'm sitting here feeling like the world's worst parent.

greenbananas Wed 23-Jan-13 21:57:38

I think you've been given a hard time. Of course the health care professionals have to be vigilant but, as you so rightly say, the way that they deal with you and your children can make such a difference. Even if you were really struggling and did need a lot of help from social services, the health care professionals should be supporting you rather than putting you on the defensive.

I was raised by a stepfather along with my mother. If I had been taken into hospital, it may well have been him that stayed with me - although that was probably in the days before parental consent was needed for everything. I think that if your DD is close to your partner, then it makes much more sense for him to go with her and for you to stay with the breastfed baby.

Not sure why they think your 6 month old breastfed baby is obese. Being on the 99th centile does not make a baby obese - they are all within normal range if they are on the chart at all. Isn't it basically impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby?

AnyoneforTurps Wed 23-Jan-13 22:03:58

It's always horrid for parents going through this..

but..

..as you must be well aware, there is no magic formula for telling the difference between normal childhood accidents and abuse. If HCPs & SWs only pick up barn door cases, they will be missing thousands of kids suffering abuse or from undiagnosed problems like dyspraxia. They have to act on red flags to avoid missing abuse. They should always do so respectfully and with an open mind - most of the time, the red flags will be a false alarm. But they cannot ignore them.

As for your job, sadly HCPs and others with expert knowledge are particularly good at concealing abuse when they are the abusers. I want to stress that I am not suggesting for a moment that this is what is happening in your case - I am just making the point that the HCPs/SWs have to treat everybody the same, whatever their background.

thing1andthing2 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:08:52

Hey charity mum it sounds like you've dealt well with loads of shit and I'm sorry things have been so hard.
Have some (forbidden) hugs and I hope you feel better soon.

pigletmania Wed 23-Jan-13 22:10:29

YANBU seems a bit intrusive for no good reason

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 22:10:31

He is totally in proportion - looks massive though and one nurse at hospital kept saying how fat he was. But they only weighed him there - no length or head circumference. Again if she'd asked before launching into dangers of obesity I'd have told her everything about him.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 23-Jan-13 22:12:44

I have been on the receiving end of this kind of thing and to everyone who says the op is being defensive, well you have to defend yourself when you are being questioned about every aspect of your family life and would like to ask how they would feel if it happened to them. My DD started school and she was constantly wetting herself. I asked for support from the school, hoping she would grow out of it. The school nurse and the school I felt seemed to be under the impression that I was neglecting my DD. They questioned everything I was doing with her even visiting my home. I eventually managed to see a proper Doctor, who performed an EEG and diagnosed Benign Focal Epilepsy, a common childhood epilepsy which children grow out of. And of course she grew out of the accompanying incontinence. Try and get all the support you can OP, you don't have to go along with the school nurse. Talk to your gp, that's where I get all my support from and I have never seen the school nurse since. TBH I think they are a fucking waste of time in my experience and what I went through still makes me angry. They cannot diagnose specialist conditions.

Charmingbaker Wed 23-Jan-13 22:16:17

I also work in child development and both my boys have been in and out of hospital since summer ( indeed I have spent half of radar in A&E). Every time I go in they ask if we have a social worker, health visitor (who had seen DS2 last when he was a week old, he's now 2) has regularly seen us. I am very knowledgeable about my children's conditions and do not need extra support, I also know that developmentally their are no concerns. However I find it very reassuring that these checks/ contacts are in place. I have seen professionally the damage that can be done when there is no 'whole picture' approach, and any steps that help reduce this are fine by me.
I also know how stressful it is when children are ill, and how frustrating it is when it is you having to chase everything up and mistakes are made. I have found it hard work with 2DCs, so credit to you for coping with 4. Try not to take any if it personally, you have got nothing to hide. Most importantly don't forget to look after yourself as well, make sure you get some me time, even if it's just half an hour in the bath.

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