Dear pediatrician, 'colic' isn't going to cut it anymore
Remember me? I'm the mother of the two week old you saw last week. It was the second time you'd seen us in three days, mainly because our newborn is battling a bout of RSV and then developed thrush because of a weakened immune system (yay winter babies!).
Did I mention that he screams? Like, a lot? Oh, I actually didn't have to mention that, because you witnessed it firsthand as you clutched my baby like he was your own, trying numerous positions to make not only him more comfortable, but this frazzled momma, your office and nurse staff and probably yourself as well.
Unfortunately it didn't work out too well. You had to pass him back to me after 10 minutes of trying, only for him to nuzzle into the crook of my neck and sleep peacefully for three minutes and then repeat the entire ordeal all over again. (Patient of the year award?)
You inform me it's probably colic. Before I bother to ask what that is (probably because I don't have to, as you remembered, our daughter was extremely fussy as well), you tell me how it's got a really, really broad diagnosis and it basically constitutes a really, really crabby baby with digestive issues.
Let me just stop you right here. I appreciate you breaking it down for me, but on top of being the mother of a baby who already suffered from this, I was an English major. I took more than my fair share of history of the English language and Latin classes, I'm well aware that the early definitions and meanings of the word colic trace back to things like "suffering of the colon" and "affecting the colon." That, combined with the fact that I live in 2013 and Google every last ailment afflicting my child, basically means I have a pretty firm grasp of what colic is.
And do you know what this mother of a SECOND colicky baby thinks about this diagnosis? I think it's a load of garbage.
However, what is your fault, as my son's doctor, as any baby's doctor, is that while you certainly didn't cause my child's condition, you also can't tell me who or what did. There are thousands upon thousands of parents out there dealing with colicky children, this isn't something new, so why is it that you're still able to dole out this "we don't know what causes this, hell, we don't even really know what it is for sure or what organs it affects, but it's colic" bullshit diagnosis?
Don't you think maybe it's time for one of you pediatricians out there to figure it out? Isn't it YOUR life's work to help treat and heal growing babies? Trust me, I understand my child isn't going to die from having colic, but please try to understand yourself that as a mother of a child with colic, sometimes I feel like I might. After nights filled with bloodcurdling shrieks, I'm tempted to leave my baby on your doorstep for a few days and then I'll let you get back to me about how serious or not my colicky child is.
I spend my 40 hours a week generating, editing and managing content on a website. It's not nearly as glamorous or life-impacting as your work might be, but you can bet for damn sure when I come across an article about something I don't necessarily know a lot about, I don't get to just NOT edit it. You know what I have to do? I have to do some digging, some research, I have to figure out what the heck this article is talking about and then I have to edit it properly to that.
And the worst part of it all?
Not only do you have no idea what causes colic (or really, what it actually is other than a fussy baby and some tummy cramps), you also don't have the slightest idea in hell how to treat it. I sincerely appreciate the suggestions of gas drops and gripe water, but I think you and I both know that those aren't much more than glorified sugar tonics. That, or both of my children have been SO colicky that those "treatments" didn't even put a tiny dent in their digestive issues.
I'm not unreasonable though. I will give you credit for your suggestion of infant probiotic drops or a pediatric chiropractor While we're still trying to locate these "treatments" I appreciate you offering something on the table that hasn't been said before. I appreciate the sentiment, the thought.
I may sound like I'm nagging you, perhaps like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed (when in reality that's impossible because my husband and I never MADE it to bed).
Please don't take this letter the wrong way. I am genuinely grateful for the sympathy you've shown me through this ordeal, for the fact that you didn't look at me like I was nuts when I broke down in your office.
On a personal level, I think you're wonderful and I know your job is hard.
But coming from the standpoint of a parent with a colicky child, I'd love it if you, your office partners or one of your doctor friends would get off their ass already and figure out what the hell colic is.
Hugs and kisses,
Every parent of every colicky child out there.
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