objectivity with family members

  1. OK, you'll probably all think I'm just a nut......but I was wondering, as nurses, do any of you feel you lack objectivity when it comes to family members? In my case, my children.

    Let me explain. I have the biggest problem with my 11 year old, and I feel he has learned (even if not conciously) to take advantage of it. He always seems to have one problem or another. I think the problem with him is that when I was pregnant with him, he was diagnosed via ultrasound with a cystic hygroma, and the pregnancy was monitored carefully. We had genetic testing, frequent ultrasounds, etc. He also had an echocardiagram in utero to see if he had the same heart defect his father was born with (he doesn't). His dad also has VonWillebrands, and we haven't had Vince checked, as he has not shown any signs yet....but a part of me always wonders. So, in short, I've worried about him from day one. (BTW, the cystic hygroma shrunk, there were no genetic abnormalities, and he was born without any defect or diability related to it).

    For a long time he didn't have anything more than a cold here and there. But as he became older, more things cropped up. He has ADD. He had a severe speech disability (he has grown out of that after 7 years of speech therapy!), and he is accident prone. He is very emotionally sensitive (gets it from me), and seems to have a low pain threshold. He's had problems with frequent stomach aches, which used to freak me right out, until I started to think they were emotional, and his doctor agreed (he's in counselling now). The big thing is he seems in many ways to be....and I know this is mean......a "malingerer". I never knows if his problems are real or not. I know as a nurse what to look for, but with him, I am just not objective at all, and become totally confused wondering "what should I do, is this real this time or is it fake?" Some times it's obvious....like one night last spring he suddenly said he couldn't see out of one eye, but by things he said I was pretty sure it was bogus. I just humored him and said it'll clear up by tomorrow. His dad had him that night and freaked, took him to the eye doctor emergently, and found out-yup, you guessed it, he was faking. Other times......last winter he fell in his room. We heard a thud, but he didn't holler or cry, so I thought oh he's ok. Duh! My other son went in to play with him and turns out he'd hit his head and lost conciousness briefly. Another time he twisted his ankle at daycare. His dad insisted we take him to ED. His ankle was barely swollen at all, the Xray was "inconclusive", and they said it was a sprain, get it rechecked in a week. He made such a huge fuss over it in that time I thought for sure he was exaggerating. Nope, we followed up with an ortho doc, and sure enough he had a small fracture and was in a walking cast for 6 weeks. NOW, I get a call from school yesterday saying he was sick to his stomach and had twisted his ankle in gym. Well, the stomach junk's been going around, so that sound's legit-I pick him up and he looks fine, said his stomach felt ok now.....it's bothered him on and off all night, but not as bad as what has been going around. The ankle, well it's not swollen, but he is making such a huge fuss out of it! He is limping around, winces to the touch.....all I can think is, it's not swollen...but then I think, well last year it wasn't swollen much either. Argh! I kept him home regardless, cuz I am taking him to the dentist (a piece of his tooth broke off), and am taking him to have his ankle checked anyway. But let me tell you....I feel like an idiot for doing so. Like I am being duped by a miniature master of manipuation! (hehe).

    Does anyone else feel so confused and well, "un-nurse-like" when it comes to their family? It's not as bad with my other son, but he is generally healthy as a rule. (So much so, that when the nurse called saying he was coughing suddenly, I thought *he* was faking it. If she had listened to his lungs and told me he was wheezing, I'd have said "whoa, wait!", but she hadn't....turns out he has exercise induced asthma, but since he isn't too active in the winter, and in the summer, he'd hide it from us (stop his bike and let his breathing return to a more normal state, while meanwhile we just thought he was going for a long bike ride) we never noticed he had a problem).

    I'm not looking for "medical advice"....just wondering if anyone else feels this way? Frankly, I feel like a really rotton parent. Sorry this is so long. That's another fault of mine-diarrhea of the mouth.
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    About sphinx

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 672; Likes: 29


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am VERY SUBJECTIVE AND EMOTIONAL when it comes to family and /or close friends. I think that is human nature and why we need to be careful how involved we become as NURSES in certain situations. In these cases, I think it is good to take off the proverbial nurse's cap and be the support person that loved one needs, whatever that means to us. Hard to do, I know, but necessary. You never give up being the advocate, but it's hard to be their NURSE, if you ask me. I could NEVER be objective when it comes to loved ones; that to me would be impossible.
  4. by   Agnus
    This is why in the hypocrtic oath doctors pledge to care for the families of other doctors.

    No you cannot be an RN to your family. I am so unobjective. My sister who is an RN a GREAT RN is the pits with family.
  5. by   sphinx
    hmmmm, yeah, I see what you mean. Obviously I know I couldn't be a nurse for my family, but it seems any knowledge I have goes right out the door when it comes to my kids. Every little thing freaks me out OR I go the opposite and diminish symptoms. I guess I just feel overwhelmed sometimes, esp when my youngest is concerned......his multiple complaints, never sure if he is "crying wolf", second guessing myself......it almost makes me dizzy!
  6. by   KP RN
    I feel for ya' Sphinx! It really is hard to be objective.
    My youngest son was born with transposition of the great arteries, which has been completely surgically corrected. He is eleven now, and guess what? Every time he runs a fever, I start freaking that he's got subacute bacterial endocarditis. When he says he's tired after playing an entire soccer game, I freak that he's going into heart failure. I AM NUTS!!
    However, I never let on (to him) that I'm worried. I have learned to take a deep breath and pretend that I'm not a nurse, and try to use good ol' fashioned common sense.
    But it isn't easy!!!!
  7. by   kids
    Originally posted by KP RN My youngest son was born with transposition of the great arteries, which has been completely surgically corrected.
    KP, I just sent sent you a PM.
  8. by   KP RN
    Kids- I sent one back to you too!! :kiss
  9. by   sphinx
    I think I am truly going insane with this one guys! OK....I took my little guy to the dentist for his broken tooth (his teeth are in bad shape!).....they had fit us in, so we ended up waiting. Thus, we were too late to get in to the doc to have a look at his ankle. No biggie, I called to set it up for tomorrow. Only time is at 4:30. Whatever. So. He's still complaining up and down, going around on his crutches he had from last year's break.......and then tells me his ankle feels cold. Sure enough it is cold, the other is warm. I check his pulses, but they are normal. But then my paranoid self kicks in and gets worried thinking, sure his pulses are normal, but why is it cold, is that bad? So I call his doc to see. She says it is probably ok to see him tomorrow, but since his appointment is so late, that it may be too late for him to go for an x-ray. She said if I am concerned I can go to after hours center-which, no surprise doesn't accept my husbands new insurance and won't take us, telling us to go to ED. Now, I truly don't feel the situation warrants that. But I sit here getting all fretted up about how should I support his ankle when I send him to school tomorrow? Should he use the crutches? How will he get to the bus stop, can my husband take him in? just stuff!!!! Then, his Dad was supposed to pick him up early, so I have to call and let him know what's going on. He'll probably want me to bring him to the doc so he won't get stuck making the copay.

    I am just a worrywart who specializes in mommy guilt. He had a rough start, before he was even born! But he is not really having any major problems.......yet I just worry over every little thing.

    Well, just thinking out loud.....sorry to be such a spaz......