Today’s official gratitude is for antibiotics, and for the medical system we benefit from.
Last week, E’s foot was hurting. Not such a rare thing. Then after he persisted complaining, we looked at it, and it had a puffy red patch. It was clearly hurting him to press on it, and he was starting to limp a bit.
By the time we made it to the doctor’s office the next afternoon, the red patch was much bigger and poor little E was definitely walking funny. The doc diagnosed him with cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the inner layers of skin. We don’t know how he got it, but we do know you don’t mess around with it. In rare cases, it can spread deeper and become necrotizing fasciitis. Ack.
So E just finished a week of antibiotics. This is after a round of similar meds a few weeks ago for a bit of pneumonia – one for which he had to take clarithromycin, which I have to say is the most disgusting, gritty, vilely bitter substance we’d ever tasted, even with the “mint flavouring.” E was an absolute trouper about it… and then when he found out his new medicine for the cellulitis was the pink fruit-ish flavoured one, he was overjoyed.
Anyway. I know antibiotics are controversial, and that they have side effects, and that we are possibly headed for a situation in which the infections that stopped killing us so much when antibiotics came along will go back to killing us again. That won’t be good.
But I can’t deny that when I hear my child coughing in the night and it sounds awful, or when I saw how suddenly that red spot had spread… I’m just really glad I don’t live in that time before antibiotics, when presumably a mom would just have to make poultices or tea or whatever, and hope for the best. When parents would hear that coughing and know that it might very likely be the death of that child.
I’m also really grateful to live in a country with socialized medicine. When these conditions cropped up, we didn’t have to think, Can we afford to take him to the doctor again? We didn’t have to wait until things got desperate, just hoping and hoping he would get better on his own. It is invaluable to have the choice to be proactive or pre-emptive about a health problem, without having to budget for it. (Thank you, Tommy Douglas, Lester B. Pearson, et al.)
Plus, we really like both our family doctor and the nurse practitioner at the clinic. They are great, wonderful with the kids, and all about preventive medicine and healthy lifestyle. Grateful for that, too.