Monday, December 17, 2012

Healthy as a Horse (with Down Syndrome)

Autumn lost her balance and fell backwards at school on Friday. It happened in the Motor Room (the gym) and “she hit nothing on the way down and landed on nothing but the padded floor.” I showed up for the Hanukkah Shabbat party about two minutes after it happened and she was still being held and comforted by a teacher. When they handed her to me I noticed she was bleeding from the back of her head. (This part of the story deserves a post of its own but probably isn’t going to get one.)

(a happier moment at school)

Fast-forward to Saturday... The boo-boo on Autumn’s head was still bothering her and whenever we tried to get a good look at it she would do the “STOP PULLING OUT MY FINGERNAILS” cry/scream. So I called the Ped, whose on-call service told me to take her to urgent care.

In the intake room I was asked to fill out the usual paperwork. Under the Surgical History heading I wrote AV Canal repair, and under Medical History I put none, because Autumn has never been sick or hospitalized for anything. Twenty minutes later, we were ushered into an examination room. (Which, by the way, Autumn refused to walk into. She backed herself up against the hallway wall and started crying, “No, no, no.” Smart chica.)

The nurse asked for the medical sheet and perused it quickly. She gave me a smileless look and said, “We need to know her medical history from the day she was born.” My brain fired off some smart aleck response but my mouth said, “She was adopted at 10 months old and has never been sick, except for having some reflux as a baby.”

My response produced an upgraded “I think you’re lying” smileless look, and the nurse questioned me, “No bronchial issues? No RSV? No heart problems?” I jumped in with, “She had an AV Canal defect repair and her cardiologist says she is fine now.” The inquisition ended there, but picked up again when the doctor came in. He pushed just as hard for some nugget of medical history or past illness.

It wasn’t until we were long gone from there that I realized what had happened. I had not listed Down syndrome as part of her medical history. It had not even occurred to me to list Ds as part of her medical history. And why would it? Down syndrome has never made Autumn sick or caused her to be hospitalized. But that urgent care team must have thought I was leaving out the biggest medical history treasure of all.


And just because I know you like to know these things... It was a puncture. It should have had a stitch. It is still gucky and we are treating it with topical antibiotics. That’s right, she fell on nothing and it punctured the back of her head.


Lisa Morguess said...

I struggle with this one. Finn is very healthy, but I usually end up putting Ds down on whatever forms just because, as much as I hate it, I figure whomever is having me fill out such forms probably needs to know that he has Ds.

Becca said...

Oh, sorry about her injury! That's very curious...glad she's okay, though. That's like the time Sammi was taken to the nurse after recess because she wouldn't stop crying. They thought she was sick and called me to come pick her up, which I did (having to leave work to do it). They said they didn't know what was wrong, but at one quick glance from me, I saw her tights were ripped at the knee, and her knee scraped to bleeding. Her aide said she'd been on the playground with her the whole time, watching her, and didn't see her fall. *sigh*

But about the medical history, it's exactly the same for us. I don't list Down syndrome on anything - it's not relevant. I *do* tend to forget about her AV canal surgery - it was more than 6 years ago, and there are no residual issues, other than a slight murmur. Sammi's never sick, other than the occasional ear infection or random childhood virus, but they're very rare. Very interesting post!!

CJ said...

I took Baby J to the ER when she was a few months old. I listed off her prematurity, respiratory issues, etc. and the ER doctor said, "Anything else?" I said she OBVIOUSLY has Down syndrome. His response? "Oh, good! I was hoping I didn't have to break that need to you." Total asshat.

Anna Theurer said...

Yikes! Yeah, she hit nothing alright. Ellie is very healthy too, but I do remember to list the Ds because we had a frightening anaphylactic experience at the ER when she was 6 months old. . . they said she had no health issues and went on their merry way. I tried to tell them about her heart, stomach, and of course the breathing problems. "oh she cannot have all that, she is so young". I finally said "Down syndrome" and they got it. Clearly I will never go back to that ER.

Unknown said...

Oh no, I hope Autumn is okay! We never list Down syndrome under medical conditions - if there is a space for other considerations I will mention that. It has not been an issue for 19 years, so I am sticking to my story!

Anna said...

Yeah I had forgotten once and the Dr looked at me quizzically and asked. I felt stupid, "oh, yeah. She does have Down syndrome!" Slaps forehead. I really do forget. She is just my little G!

Melissa said...

I don't usually list Ds unless a form specifically asks about chromosomal issues. Her surgeries get mentioned, RSV, ear tubes, but Ds doesn't make her sick...

Hope Autumn is feeling better!

Leah Spring said...

Oh I leave it off too. The last time I brought Angela in she was 14. The ER dr. came in, went over her history, then glanced at her, then back at me, back and forth between the two of us several times. I guess Angela looks a lot like me? Finally he said, "Umm...has anyone ever told you they suspect she has Down syndrome?" HAHAHAHAHA And Axel...most people who KNOW DS can't tell with him. When he babbles his Serbian/English/Martian I just say, "We don't what he's saying. Can you tell me?"

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