anyone else got a bit of a hypocondriac? How do you deal with it when you're genuinely not sure whether they are ill?

(19 Posts)
Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 06:17:56

My eldest is a bit prone to claims of illness, very theatrically acted out with tiny, sad voice and delicate movements etc. and then deciding as soon as I've called her in sick that she wants to "rest on the sofa"... and then play on her phone... and then when her friends get home go out and play... seeming miraculously recovered but being all woe is me if pulled up on it, etc.

The thing is she really was very ill fairly recently and acted just the same - hammed it up a bit at the start but then genuinely did get very poorly.

I feel I've lost the ability to tell whether she is trying it on or ill! Last night she was saying she felt ill but it turned out she'd lost her locker key... I found it and thought the "illness" would be cured... no tests today... think she does feel "funny" when she is nervous/ worried and builds that up into being "ill" rather than all out lying... but argh!

She is a bit of a worrier sometimes but enjoys school most of the time and gets good grades, seems well liked by teachers and has a lot of friends... most days she is happy to go. I automatically leap to "worried about something" assumption when she says she's ill but has no fever, no D&V etc. and try to get to the bottom of it, but she can't have the day off every time she might have an unidentified worry... and she might not even be worried, might just not fancy Monday morning (like 90% of us...).

Where is the middle ground on this? Keep her home but insist she stays in bed til the end of the school day? I'm going to make her a doctor's apt (on the safe side because of her recent illness which resulted in time in hospital, but today's symptoms are totally different...)

I want to believe her and be caring and sympathetic when she is really ill but not be taken for a mug when she fancies a sofa morning and an afternoon recovery - think all I'm managing to do is be grumpy with her when she says she is ill because I don't know whether she is going to miraculously recover by 8am or be genuinely really ill! Any advice?

fieldfare Mon 25-Jan-16 06:27:19

Our house rules - if you haven't vomitted, had diarrhoea or got a raging temperature then you're going to school.
If you stay home then you are properly poorly and that means staying in bed all day with no devices. The tv can be on for a film while you're cuddled up in bed but that's it.
The best remedy for illness is often sleep, having devices around won't let you sleep and get the rest your body needs to get better.
Drink lots, eat plainly, eat little and often.

This is how I know when Dd is properly poorly. At the end of last year she spent 3 days in bed and was up for about an hour each day, she slept the rest. The flu hit her really hard and it took another few weeks for her to be fit again. As grown ups we have to work through colds etc and I think it's a bad message to send that they can have time off from school for any little thing.

Choughed Mon 25-Jan-16 06:31:19

Agree with Fieldfare. Also, we tell DD that she has to go to school but can come home if she's really poorly. But I appreciate not all parents can be that flexible.

Absolutely nothing fun happens at home, no TV or devices. Books or sleeping, that's all.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 06:36:19

Thanks. That's my instinct too - but before Christmas I sent DD into school when she was claiming to be ill but had no fever or symptoms, and a couple of hours later she was in hospital on drips with a fever of 42 which took 3 days to come down... so it's knocked my confidence in knowing whether she is sick or not! Just because she was ill that time doesn't mean she is every time, but conversely I thought she was hamming it up that time! confused

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 07:24:12

She's off today - making her stay in bed til I can get her a doctor's apt... wish there was a way to avoid second guessing myself on this as I really don't think she is ill, now that I've made the decision to let her stay home, signed her off and the school day has started... argh!

gaggiagirl Mon 25-Jan-16 07:30:50

Can you send her in anyway?

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 07:34:55

No not really - she's crashing about upstairs between bedroom and bathroom claiming to feel sick. Her school day has already started and only runs for another 3.5 hours - it's mid way through second lesson now, it's a long way to school (about 15 miles - we're rural) and the school sends them home at the drop of a hat if they look a bit peaky, so she'd probably get herself sent home again pretty much straight away anyway...

JustDanceAddict Mon 25-Jan-16 12:21:10

My rules are: no d&v, no temperature, broken bones or horrendous cold then you go into school. It does stop a lot of malingering I have to say. The school will send home if they're really ill, they have a medical room, etc.
If your DD has been properly ill recently she may be worried/anxious about becoming really ill again so this could be the real cause of the symptoms.

Choughed Mon 25-Jan-16 22:14:26

How did the day go? Did you get a doctor's appointment?

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Tue 26-Jan-16 07:01:10

Thanks for asking Cough

You might have a point about her now fearing / thinking more about illness justdance although she has been a bit like this for a couple of years!

I did get a doctor's apt and they did a blood test and urine test because of her fairly recent serious bout of illness. Of course her white cell count was normal, which rather suggests there was nothing wrong at all. Aside from the doctor's apt I made her stay in her room without screens (except her Kindle equivalent) til her brothers were home, then "released" her from "illness arrest" as she would have been home anyway by then... I did let her read and listen to audio books.

When we got home from the doctor's she expected to be allowed downstairs, but I had private tutoring students scheduled so couldn't have let her if I'd wanted to by that time. She had a minor melt down about not being allowed her tablet to watch Disney channel, or her phone to play games, but grudgingly accepted staying in her room without devices.

She is not a fan of quiet time in her room usually (normally rings round for a friend to spend any down time with or resorts to socialising with her brothers if nobody else has time grin ) but she finished the book she was reading and started writing a graphic novel whilst confined to her room grin Better use of time than playing on her phone or watching endless Disney channel I guess grin

Today she trotted to the bus stop perfectly happily after a huge breakfast, but then she has her trumpet lesson and a school cinema trip this afternoon, both of which she is looking forward to!

Will definitely stick to no days off unless she has a fever or D&V or other measurable symptoms in future - its hard as I sent her off to school with that policy when she actually was ill in December, but I can't let that mean she gets days off every time she has butterflies about something and bills it as a bad tummy ache, or has a bit of a sniffle, or wakes up with a dry throat and thinks its tonsillitis, or just doesn't fancy Monday!

DurhamDurham Tue 26-Jan-16 07:37:10

My youngest was always ill, in her mind at least. You could ask her on any given day how she was and she would always come up with something.....a cold, headache, aches and pains. If I had let her stay off every time she claimed to ill she would missed half of her school life.
She does have IBS And joint hypermobility issues so I get that she doesn't feel great some of the time. I have found that the best way to deal with it was to be very matter of fact, if she sensed the slightest sympathy she knew she was on to a winner. I used to send her to school and say if she got worse she was to see the staff at school and they would assess whether she needed to come home. She rarely came home, I think she tried a few times but failed to convince the school.
It has caught us out a few times, one time she said she had a sore throat, I told her to drink plenty of fluids and to have some painkillers before bed so she could sleep. This went on for a few days and then one day she came home and was very quiet. She sat on the sofa and cried saying she was fed up feeling like she did. I looked in her mouth and her tonsils were hugely swollen and thick with white gunk. We got an emergency appt and the GP looked less than impressed that we had let it get to that stage. She helpfully told the GP that she had been telling us for days that her throat hurt, I still feel guilty but looking back the week previous to that she had been moaning about something else completely.

She is 18 now and has gone to Uni, she is doing a nursing degree which she absolutely loves, we thought she would hate it but it looks like she has found her vocation in life. I thought she would hate to be surrounded by sick people but is actually in her element grin

bikingintherain Tue 26-Jan-16 07:51:16

OP I have a very similar situation. DD has been really quite ill at points including being in hospital, and afterwards really struggle to know what's going on. And generally try and give her some grace over it. But there does come a point where you just have to go back to normal. Fear has definitely played a part for DD, and we have had to help her get back to that normal.

But I agree with pp, usually I'm pretty hardline about going to school. And yes I've got it wrong on occasions when one of the DC should have stayed at home. But honestly I've got it right more times!

DD came to me complaining how she had a cold and snot in her nose, and was feeling tired. My unsympathetic reply was 'welcome to mine and your brothers world, we've had it for a couple of weeks. Now get ready ready for school.' I probably could have handled it better, but she needs to learn to push through, you can't take a sick day every time you have a cold!

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Tue 26-Jan-16 08:29:38

Tanks biking and Durham

It's hard to get right with this "type" of child/ situation isn't it? My other 2 are not the same at all - youngest is only not quite 5 and a bit like his big sister personality wise, so I guess could still go this way, but 8 yo almost never has a day off and can't stand to let his football team down by missing playing in a football tournament even if he has the kind of cold some adults like to claim is flu, with a streaming nose, sore throat and slightly raised temperature!

Durham that's funny about your DD now being in her element studying nursing grin DD has been adamant for a couple of years now that she wants to be a pharmacist grin

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Sun 31-Jan-16 22:28:34

Argh she's doing it again tonight!

I worded today, DH was home with the kids, DD has a bit of a cold but wanted to go to a friend's house in the morning and did so. I got home, an hour later DH had to leave to drive to a city 4 hours away for an early meeting in the morning...

The minute DH's car left DD started hamming her cold symptoms up (she does have a bit of a cold)... doing the "little" voice and some rather forced coughing when she hadn't had a real cough for a while.

She made a fuss over going to bed as she "didn't know how she'd ever sleep with such a cough... the worst cough she's ever had" but went to sleep very quickly. She just woke to use the toilet and is not sobbing away because if she blows her nose it stings, and because I sent her straight back to bed when she tried to come back downstairs (I really should be in bed - she never, ever comes back down when DH is here, and its fairly rare he has to work away).

Argh! Of course she really has a cold but she is just making me cross hamming it up - man flu is alive and well in pre teen girls! I would have vastly more sympathy and maybe even be considering letting her stay home, because I have had to swap shifts tomorrow anyway because DH won't be here for the kids before school so I'll be home... if she hadn't played me for a fool exactly a week ago, of course...

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Sun 31-Jan-16 22:29:00

*worked not worded...

donajimena Sun 31-Jan-16 22:39:58

I have one the same. I never believe him anymore and we have come a cropper because of it (he told me he couldn't breathe at an event so I dragged him to the st john ambulance tent where is blood oxygen was measured at 92 and we ended up in hospital blush )
I'm still quite hardline though. As others have said unless he's puking or burning up he has to go in with the reassurance that if he takes a turn for the worse then I will come and get him.
Can you dose her up with something (do you have a glycerin type medicine? ) and say I will tell the school to keep an eye on you?

annandale Sun 31-Jan-16 22:42:57

It's a relief that i don't have the only one. I had to put my foot down in year 6 and say, no temp, no spots, no vomit, you go in. He now seems to be able to raise his temperature at will hmm Does anyone send them in with a temperature? am I being soft again?

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Wed 03-Feb-16 08:28:41

I wouldn't send her in with a temperature over about 37.6 I think - I always say 36 - 37.5 is normal... certainly if it were 38 she'd stay off.

I can't really ask school to keep an eye on her as there are 2 thousand kids at her school (yes, 2000) and its secondary with the normal timetable of different teachers for different subjects. She'd only be in year 5 in the UK (September birthday) but here she is one of the very youngest kids (different cut off - September is the German August for school entry, if that makes sense) at full on secondary (youngest kids in the school are 10, oldest kids in the school are 18 or potentially even 19 due to the fact there is quite a lot of repeating of years here - there is already an age range of over 2 years in her own class and there can be a maxumum range of up to 3 years higher up the school).

She can go to the school office if she feels ill though and most teachers send the kids out to the office if they seem even a tiny bit ill, and the office puts them in a medical room adjoining and calls on your mobile even though on the form you asked them to use home land line then work land line as you are not actually meant to answer your mobile at work and have poor reception at home and berates you for having gone back to work finally if only part time and not being able to get to school instantly by teleporting parents actually they only ever call the mother to collect.

She's been to school every day this week and can make it til Friday when we break up for a week's holiday!

I am very glad it is not just DD - it is very weird because she likes school generally, it is hypocondria rather than school avoiding it seems!

donajimena Wed 03-Feb-16 09:07:24

annandale I have been known to give a dose of calpol with a slight temp then send them in I've never been called to say they're not well.
The only thing I am strict about is D & V. I shouldn't feel that I have to point that out but having worked in schools the amount of children who proudly announce 'I was sick this morning' its not always the case..

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