I haven’t talked a lot about it, but I can tell you it was one of the top five most nerve-racking moments in my adult life.
“Your son has a mass on his left kidney. It’s large. We need to send you for some further diagnostic testing.”
I heard the Ob/Gyn say the words–I can recount with absolute precision where we were, what the room looked like, how our file that contained our unborn son’s ultrasound images was sitting on the counter… I can remember every moment. But everything I was hearing made zero sense to me.
My wife was in her third trimester with our third child, our second boy. All of our pregnancies had thankfully gone along pretty perfectly. Aside from the insane ice cream weight gain (mine) or mood swings (hers), there were very little complications to speak of.
And thankfully this one wound up being no different.
My wife and I are grateful that the “mass” she was speaking of was nothing life threatening–nor was it an actual mass at all–it was a dual collection system in one of his kidneys, which essentially meant he had ‘two’ kidneys on one side and one on the other. A trait which we’ve found out actually runs in my wife’s side of our family.
From the first hour of Mason’s life, he’s been on antibiotics daily ever since, to combat potentially harmful reflux of urine back up into his kidney. There’s a chance it could heal itself or the other option would be surgery – but that is a bridge that neither my wife nor I are ready to cross.
Our kids are fairly healthy, we give them a daily routine of probiotics and supplements, they eat well and get plenty of sleep. But there’s the very rare occasion that one of them (let’s be honest, it runs through the house like a friggin’ freight train–when one’s sick, they ALL get sick) is under the weather. The situation with Mason has made me hyper-aware of the other medicines we’re giving him occasionally. How are pain medications for teething or fevers going to mix with his antibiotics and supplements? Is ibuprofen better than acetaminophen?
Dealing with these conflicting drugs with Mason makes us aware of how they might affect our other children–even just combining them with “safe” herbal supplements.
That got me thinking… it’s back-to-school season (t-minus 288 hours and counting) and no matter if your kids are in preschool or elementary school, the kid sicknesses are EVERYWHERE and mostly inevitable. While everyone is busy prepping and shopping for back to school supplies, new backpacks and sanitizing wipes and tissues for the classroom, now is also a great time for all of us to familiarize ourselves with the Drug Facts label.
With colds come multiple-symptoms… and this brings me to an important point: some medications have more than one active ingredient (i.e. cough, cold meds) and therefore we all could stand a reminder that if we’re dosing more than one medication to our child, it’s imperative that we are certain we aren’t dosing the same ingredient twice.
For example, acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America, in over 600 products. If we are giving our child (over 4) cough or cold medicine, but then also plan to give him acetaminophen to help treat fever, we want to be sure we aren’t accidentally giving them a double dose – which is why familiarizing ourselves with all the ingredients is really important. Some medications have singular ingredients and some have more than one.
And speaking of that cold/cough freight train that comes barreling through our house at least once each winter, remember to keep this in mind: it’s easy to forget that as children grow up medications we are giving our 6 and 4 year old might not be suitable for a younger child. I’ve almost given Mason a cough syrup out of HABIT–dosing to Ava and Charlie and he’s just next in line… but children under the age of four should NEVER get cough medication. A word to the wise.
If you are ever concerned that a child has gotten into an OTC medication accidentally, call poison control immediately: 1-800-222-1222
For more information about over-the-counter medicines check out www.knowyourotcs.org
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a sponsored post in conjunction with the #KnowYourOTCs campaign, all thoughts and opinions remain my own. To learn more about KYOTC, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.