Decisions I never ever thought I’d make

If you had asked me years ago if finances would ever stand in the way of my child’s health I would have said hells to the no.  And I probably still would say that.  But just today, I chose not to fill a prescription because it was expensive and no medical professional could tell me if it would actually help her.

Any time S gets a cold, it settles in as a nasty cough.  So nasty that she usually spends about 15 minutes each morning puking up mucus.  I feel terrible for her but have gotten to the point where I don’t even take her to the drs for it because they tell me its just a cold and it needs to run its course.  They say (and I agree) that it will get better once she learns how to blow her nose better.  That moment can not happen soon enough.

But this weekend her cold came with a fever, which is unlike her.  And she didn’t want to eat.  And didn’t sleep well.  The best advice our pediatrician ever gave me is when you’re kid isn’t eating or sleeping normally, somethings up so bring them in.  It’s a good rule of them when you’re having those “should I go to the dr” thoughts.  So off to the dr we went.

Long story short, she’s got a nasty cold.  Ears, throat, and lungs are all clean.  They actually did 3 pulse ox on her because the first one came up funky but she’s fine.  I then asked (like I always do), if there was anything I could give her to help her sleep at night.  Because if she gets a good night sleep, she can handle the cold during the day.  When she’s up every 30-45 minutes coughing, she’s a wreck.  And I got the same party line about cough suppressant not being effective in preschoolers.  I should prop her up and use a humidifier.  OMG….I never thought of that.

Then she said she could give me an rx for an a.lbuterol inhaler.  I must have made a face (well I know I did) because she asked if I had any concerns about it.  I said it’s an asthma medicine and did they think she had that.  She said no, that it probably wouldn’t help too much but it could theoretically help open her bronchial passages.

I get home and check the price of this with our new insurance.  Hmmm…drop a significant amount of money on a medicine that may or may not work?  Now if we were talking something serious, it’d be a no brainer.  But it is a cough.  And this isn’t even her worse cough.  She’s only thrown up mucus once.  It’s just not worth it.

And here is where I start to feel like a terrible mom.  Am I really putting a price on my daughter’s health?  Apparently yes.  And then I think all the other people forced to put a price on their kid’s health.  Because we’re relatively well off.  We’ve got insurance, hubby has a good job, if needed I could work more.  Yet we still make these decisions.  I know we can’t be the only ones.

So poor S will probably be up coughing tonight.  Hopefully the benedryl knocks her out enough so she can get a decent chunk of sleep.  And I know it’s a cold that will be over a in a few days, they don’t last forever.  And I’m incredibly thankful that we don’t have to make these decisions about major health issues.



April 16, 2012. Uncategorized.


  1. A'Dell replied:


    We have a nebulizer and we do give Claire an Albuterol treatment if she’s getting wheezy. BUT, she has a history of bronchial infections and when she gets sick, it seems to settle right in her chest first (unlike Sophie). I was also very smart and had her Ped give us a gigantic refill Rx for the stuff before I quit my job, so I got like four boxes for $5, which is insane and ridiculous and stupid and unfair and SO DUMB.

    (As much as I think Albuterol does help Claire on occasion, I have had one ped tell me that he thinks it’s worthless stuff, but I thought he was kind of an ass anyway so….there’s that. For what you’re describing I’m with you, not sure it would have made much of a difference for her.)

    But, yeah! This question sucks! The idea behind it sucks! And really, it’s more of a hem/haw type thing when it’s not life-threatening or major. When you have the levity to decide between simple discomfort and cost, to me, that’s when things start to get grey. Is a cough worth $20Yes. $50? Maaaaaaybe. $500? No, it’s not worth $500, it’s a COUGH. That would not be reasonable.

    You’re not a terrible mom (OBVIOUSLY). You’re a very, very astute parent.

    (Did you notice that a side effect of Albuterol is that it keeps you awake? Yeahhhhhh. Maybe it would have been a terrible idea anyway for her.)

  2. Jennifer Kadish Cassell replied:

    Girl, you are a wonderful mom. Wanting medical evidence (research-based or the doctor’s experience) before doing something is being a responsible parent.

    My husband’s system sounds similar. Getting an air purifier in the room seemed to help. I also try to encourage him to have tea or warm water prior to going to bed. This sometimes brings up a big coughing fit, but we figure it’s better to get the crap out prior to sleep.

    Hope she starts feeling better soon!

  3. Deborah replied:

    It’s so hard to be in that position. And as A’Dell said, it is really a gray area. It’s a cough. It’ll get better. We all know if it were something life-threatening, you’d spend whatever you needed to. But I often remind myself, financial stability benefits kids too. They need that as much (or more) as the things we buy them. And that includes the albuterol. I wish I could have it both ways, and i know you do too. But in reality, you’re not the only one in this position.

  4. herewegoajen replied:

    That is totally what I would have done too.

  5. Anne replied:

    You’re not going to believe me, but honey has given us quite a few extra hours of sleep while my daughter has been coughing. I was 17 weeks pregnant and exhausted, and I desperately wanted codeine for her. The young pediatrician told me to try it, and I wanted to shoot her. Anyways, it works and it’s not medicine.

    Little Noses makes a honey elixir, but regular honey works too.

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