Home > Social Anxiety > I am a monster

I am a monster

My son broke his arm yesterday.

I was convinced it was nothing.

Actually, no I wasn’t.

I wanted to believe it was nothing, in spite of any evidence to the contrary, because I desperately didn’t want to take him to hospital, and deal with doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians, etc.

My son is hurt. And I’m so fucking caught up in my stupid pointless fear that I’m more worried about talking to a doctor than I am about whether or not he’s really seriously hurt.

What kind of monster am I? What the fuck is wrong with me that I can be like this?

  1. MonkeyPox
    August 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    You’re the same kind of monster I am, apparently. Parents often want to minimize injuries and illnesses in their kids, as the thought of it is so painful. But most of us get over it in time to get proper care. The motivation behind any “delay” is interesting, but often not clinically relevant.

    This is truly a “no harm no foul” situation.

  2. August 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Dude, if you didn’t take your kid to the hospital right away because you were busy drinking booze and watching a fucken baseball game, yeah, maybe you’d be somewhat monstrous. But, as MonkeyPox pointed out, you can’t blame yourself for not going right away because of a cognitive/emotional bias on your perception of the severity of the injury.

    BTW, I am here via a link from White Coat Underground.

  3. Mara
    August 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Oh man, I know exactly how you feel. (Literally, not figuratively: I’ve got social anxiety and panic disorder and two young kids.)

    I didn’t want to call the doctor when my son had croup a few months ago because I was so sure they were going to tell me it’s nothing and why was I wasting their time etc and so on. My kid wheezed for an extra day because I’m a monster too.

    All we can do is our best, y’know? And then try to do better. But sometimes we’re not perfect.

  4. Capriciousbee
    August 9, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Agree with MonkeyPox, my dad completely didn’t believe me when I had appendicitis. He clearly didn’t want to believe that I was hurt. But he is a fantastic dad. I’ll bet you are, too.

  5. Keely
    August 9, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    A year ago, I ended up in the hospital with a severe kidney infection. I’d felt bad for a week, but I didn’t want to bother the doctor with “just a bad backache” and some vague flu-y symptoms. I was training for a half-marathon and really busy with classes and I didn’t want to deal with wasting my time on a doctor’s visit over nothing. By the end of the week, I had a high fever and was in so much pain I could barely walk… and I was still telling myself it was probably just the flu + soreness from overtraining. I only got to the hospital when my boyfriend and roommate almost literally dragged me.

    I wouldn’t feel so bad about it if it was just me affected by my delusional “it’s nothing serious” thinking. But what followed that initial hospital admission was more than a week of worry for my family, a week of my boyfriend missing classes and work and sleeping in a hospital chair, and thousands of dollars worth of medical care.

    On the other hand, I have also convinced myself that things like fatigue + bad headaches were signs of serious illness, and been practically pushed out of the office because nothing major is found to be wrong and clearly I’m just another college kid who wants an excuse to get out of classes.

    I’m an extreme case, but no one is completely logical when it comes to perceiving the severity of our own medical problems or those of people close to us. Various biases always come in to play. All you can do is be aware of it, and try to counter it with things like second opinions. You’re only human.

    • November 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      Keely, Thanks for sharing your story.

      Keely and Blogger “Geek”, May I quote the story about the treatment for the kidney infection, citing the blog and that URL? To empower people to get the best healthcare, I’m writing a book.

      Thanks for your consideration. If you’d prefer that I use a pseudonym, or use your full name, please let me know.

      • Keely
        December 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

        Yep, go for it. Using my first name is fine. If you need to know anything else, feel free to email me– keelyellenmarie at gmail.

  6. August 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    The fact that this bothers you…I find reassuring.

    Monsters don’t care if they make mistakes, or if they’re confused or don’t know what to do. You obviously do care.

  7. Katherine
    August 17, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I had a coworker once that came into work and told us proudly that his son hurt himself at school and had a sore arm, and that he responded by telling him to “man up”. Luckily his wife took the poor kid to the doctor, because it was broken. You are not a monster, my coworker is a monster.

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