When They Can’t Tell You What’s Wrong

Livi hasn’t been doing so well the last few days. She’s been feeling under the weather and all she wants is to be held by mommy or daddy. She even ignores the snacks and books that normally excite her. My little girl, who always has so much energy and is usually all over the place, now only knows one place she wants to be, in our arms.

Yesterday afternoon she got a fever so we are off to the doctor’s office this morning to make sure she has nothing serious that needs more than love to get her through and over it.

It’s so hard when they can’t tell you what’s wrong and how they are feeling. Sure, I can usually tell when she’s not feeling well as she gets very fussy and clingy but I still don’t know how she is feeling.

Livi now understands the concept of the “Owie,” at least when she hurts herself. She usually comes running up to me and makes sure I know that she did something. Waving a hurt finger in my face or pointing vigorously while yelling “Owie, Owie” at least a hundred times is her way of getting my attention.

But when it comes to being sick, I am not sure she’s making the connection yet. I’ve been asking her several times over the last few days if she has an “Owie” with differing results every time.

When our children are sick, we suffer with them. Our days tend to be longer, the nights less restful, and often we get sick ourselves when things are finally looking up for the little one.

But what gets me the most, is the guessing game. Is it something serious or will rest and extra attention be enough this time? Is she in pain or just uncomfortable?

It is frustrating and not just for me. I can tell that Livi wants to let us know but simply can’t do it just yet.

What do you do when trying to find out what’s going on and your toddler can’t put into words what (s)he wants to share? Do you have any tips or tricks?

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15 comments on “When They Can’t Tell You What’s Wrong

  1. Steph says:

    I’m sorry your little girl is sick; that’s so hard on the whole family. I agree that the guessing game is the hardest. I don’t really have any tricks besides just watching for things like appetite and ear pulling. I hope she gets better quickly.

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you so much. She barely wants to eat or drink anything, which really concerns me. Luckily, she is still interested in nursing and now I am really glad that I can still offer it to her. The doc didn’t find anything, so for now we have to keep watching the fever and if it doesn’t go down, we have to go back for more (invasive) tests. Hopefully, that won’t be necessary.

  2. So hard, I feel frustrated with you. After 4 kids I’ve learned to trust my instincts more often than not. Ask friends (ones that will tell you truth, always). Don’t feel bad if you come up short with the guessing game. I don’t feel bad asking docs the questions if I feel I truly trust and respect them. Usually there will be major signs of pain if it’s something serious – OR if they appear very lethargic and non-responsive then dash to the ER. That tricky in between stage is challenging, but luckily she’ll be able to communicate exactly what her hurts are, and where, in no time. Prayers for Livi and you right now. Keep us posted.

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Trusting my instincts is why I wanted her to be seen sooner rather than later. Her behavior was just very unusual and the fever went up really quickly. She doesn’t seem to be in pain other than feeling uncomfortable, so that’s at least something for now. We were told to keep watching the fever and if it doesn’t go down, come back for more tests. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.

  3. Pamela says:

    I usually did the watching thing. It’s not easy wondering and trying to wait it out. I always put my “chores” on hold and just cuddled. That seemed to make more of a difference than anything else. My baby is 19 πŸ™‚

  4. Nina says:

    My kid’s seriously lucky and has only had the cold 4 times and the stomach flu once, and thankfully nothing else. For colds, I can usually tell they’re colds because he has a runny nose, sounds stuffed up, maybe even coughing. For stomach flu, we knew what it was because it had been going around in my husband’s family during the holidays and lucky toddler just happened to catch it :/

    Sometimes though I’ll see a funny thing on him, like a rash in his underarms or neck. Usually I actually google the thing up lol. If it seems common, I tend to not worry as much. But if I don’t find info on it or I’m really not sure, I don’t hesitate to call the doc. So far she has been able to nail it, and time just heals it.

    Speedy recovery to Livi!

    • hnMom says:

      Thanks for the tips. I’m like you, when I see something suspicious, I google it (it’s a curse and a blessing as I sometimes google too much). We can call and also email our doctor and send pictures, so that has been very useful, for parents at least, I am not sure about the docs.
      We are now thinking its probably a virus of some sort that needs to work its way through. The worrisome part was that she “only” had a fever in the beginning and no other symptoms and was acting very strange, so it could have been anything.
      Thanks for making me feel better. πŸ™‚

  5. I just wanted to check-in and see how Livi is doing? I would anticipate that, as she is more sensitive, she probably reacts more to things like sicknesses. In all likelihood, it’s nothing to worry about. But listen to your instincts – if something seems off, go to the doctor, even if it means being there 3 times a day. Sure, he’ll think you’re a bit crazy, but who cares?

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, her being so sensitive does not work in our advantage when she is sick.
      I did listen to my instincts and we did go, even though she hates it there. The doc didn’t know what was going on and said to just watch her fever. Since there were no other symptoms, it could really have been anything, which of course got my imagination going. The doc now thinks it’s viral and the fever thankfully broke last night.
      Thanks for your support. πŸ™‚

  6. I’m glad her fever broke!!! Hopefully she will be in better spirits by the end of tomorrow so you can have a somewhat pleasant weekend!

    When Bubbs was 10 weeks old, she started to cry every time she nursed, and I didn’t know what was wrong. I had to hold a hair dryer between my legs until she calmed down and started nursing (wow, I had forgotten about that!). Anyway, I was telling a friend about it and she said that she could have an ear infection as it’s painful to suck with an ear infection. So I started to worry since I have problems with my hearing, and since it was a Friday, we decided to take her to a walk-in clinic when my husband got home. By the time the doctor came in to see her, she was hysterical, but he couldn’t find anything wrong with her. So he put us in a room to nurse so he could assess things, and she started to feed with no issues! And do you know what he said to me? He said I should go home and have a beer as it would relax me. Well, I had that beer, but she was still off so we went to see her actual doctor that Monday and he suggested she had something viral and just couldn’t tell me what was wrong. I had never even thought of that, so I gave her some tylenol when we got home, and she was better. Sadly, that hair dyer was in her room for a long time (even before that week). That and the vacuum were my friends for the first few months!

    Keep us posted on how she is!!!

    xo

  7. Oster's Mom says:

    I do hope Livi is doing well today. Thank goodness her fever broke. It is so hard when they can’t communicate.

    Oster was sick with diarrhea and fever a couple of weeks ago and he showed no signs of a stomach ache. It was so frustrating to figure out what it was. Apparently he had a bacteria bug and it took literally two weeks to heal itself. You do feel so helpless when you can’t communicate something like this.

    • hnMom says:

      She is doing much better today, thank you! I was thinking of Oster being sick when Livi started to get a fever. I had no idea it took that long, that must have been challenging. And yes, feeling so helpless is hard, especially since all you want to do is make them feel better.

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