Friday, February 22, 2013


The Matron cannot resist a cherub, particularly one she herself produced.  Consider the angel above.   Sigh.

So it might not be hard to imagine how the mother fretted over the physical decline of this child.   Virus, strep, flu.  You name the creepy crud and it crawled into him.  Merrick went through each illness straight to the next, wracking up more visits to Urgent Care in six weeks than an entire lifetime.    Yes, the Matron chafed at the time and energy involved in all those doctor visits for "it's a virus" largely but as time went on, she became Concerned.

Every time she looked at that child, she knew something was wrong.   His face?  Pale.  Bright eyes?  Vanished, replaced by depressed little droops of bags and skin.  The boundless energy?   Gone.  Instead, the boy who runs, shoots, volleys and tumbles fell onto the couch and never wanted to get up.

Merrick:  "I feel lazy.  I don't know another word for my main symptom."



The mother began to suspect her child was depressed.   For no real reason, he cried himself to sleep once.  He seemed perpetually down, low, disinterested.   This lackluster approach to sentience disturbed the Matron the most, particularly when coupled with his baggy eyes and pale skin.

One Monday morning as Merrick drooped toward the door and school, she stopped him in his tracks.

Matron:  "We are going to the doctor.  Today.  Your regular pediatrician."

Now, they hadn't seen this doctor during the six weeks of illness-- illness which seemed to acutely manifest itself on the wildly inconvenient weekend or evening (as they so often do).  So it was Urgent Care or any doc that would do.  This time, yours truly called the clinic and demanded to see Dr. D.

And when they did?  Dr. D. walked into the exam room, stopped in his tracks, and put his clipboard on his chest.

Dr. D:  "Wow.  Merrick, you are one sick kid.  You look terrible!"

Here is where the mother nearly fell apart -- affirmed, relieved, grateful, alarmed.  Training and Degree saw precisely what the maternal eye did.   That child was not right.

The physical exam said nothing but that blessed doctor ordered every test under the sun.  The technician took SEVEN vials of Merrick blood.  Drip, drip, drip.   All that information, trickling into the tube.  Various cancers and autoimmune markers ready to reveal.

 . . . or not.  Thank God-Buddha-Oprah-Universe-Allah, nothing irrevocable or enduring was amiss.  But.  Turns out that Merrick has precisely zero Vitamin D coursing through his body.  Zero.

Well, okay, she exaggerates.  But he is "acutely symptomatic" for "Vitamin D deficiency."  The range for this is 30-70 something or other.  Merrick has 14  -- and it will take THREE LONG MONTHS to rectify.

Three months.  From what the Matron has learned, her son may begin to feel a little less lethargic within a couple of weeks but the flagging spirit can can much more time to resolve.  It is difficult to see one's child simply slow down and sputter out, to lay on the couch and ask why he is suddenly "lazy."


She is grateful for this particular answer -- and not another.   And never, ever again will she doubt her own eye -- the Mama Vision that clearly saw Trouble with her Child.


smalltownme said...

Your poor boy. I hope this is the answer. My older boy was sick (lethargic and nauseous, and YES, baggy, pake and drooping!) for a couple months in 5th grade...we never got a diagnosis and eventually he got better but it was hell, I tell you!

Mrs. G. said...

I'm glad you've got the little cuss on the road to recovery. Dr. Mama usually has juju instincts.

JFS in IL said...

May I share your post on the Well-Trained Mind message boards? We have thousands of members, and honestly almost everyday on the General (as compared to specific homeschooling boards) moms are comparing symptoms and advising each other to try this diet or that remedy...or presenting symptoms and asking "Dr. Hive" (what we call ourselves) if it sounds like a real ailment (etc. etc.)
Your post note only presents the need to check for a vitamin deficiency, it also flags the need to LISTEN TO ONE'S MATERNAL INSTINCT!!!

So - may I share?

Minnesota Matron said...

Yes! JFS -- very happy to contribute to that community. Feel free : -)

*m* said...

My son suffered from Vitamin D deficiency in eighth grade. His symptoms were not illness but severe aches in his arms, legs, and back.

This was five years ago, before Vit. D deficiency was more commonly recognized; our wonderful pediatrician had a hunch and prescribed big doses of D before the bloodwork even came back. His numbers were as low as Merrick's.

The good news is that he was significantly better much sooner than 3 months. So fingers crossed that the same will be true for your guy. Poor kiddo!

Gail said...

Hope Merrick gets on the road to recovery soonest.. Hate when the kids are sick.

Xtreme English said...

Go, Merrick! It'll be fine, just you wait and see. My dear, sweet PA told me a couple of years ago "You're low in Vitamin D, too, so I'm giving you a prescription for high-potency Vitamin D." It was like magic! You can't get these over the counter, and medicare doesn't pay for it (i just renewed it yesterday--a 4-months supply (4 pills), and I had to PAY $10 for it! Whew! so glad it's around.

And god bless Merrick and the smart doctor and especially his perceptive mama who knew enough to stop him in his tracks and steer him to the real doctor.

Anonymous said...

Here's to the right doctor KNOWING his patient! I hope Merrick feels all up to snuff real soon.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

So glad you've got it diagnosed. It's so interesting that we never heard about Vitamin D deficiency and know it's so common--you and Merrick could always make a trip out here for some Vitamin D therapy if that would help build it up faster.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Three cheers for a Mama who doesn't give up and a doctor who actually knows his patient!
I think you should take Jenn up on her kind offer of San Diego sunshine.

Kate said...

SEE? THIS is why mamas are the best. And DOCTORS who are mamas (or have mama bear instincts) are also the best.

Kate said...

OMG. I forgot to take my Vitamin D winter pills ALL WINTER. No wonder I feel like crap!

Deb said...

We question our intuition, but it is almost always right when it comes to our kids. I've been in a similar situation, I just KNEW something wasn't right, and it wasn't. Luckily, in the end, it turned out fine. However, second-guessing myself was hard to look back on.

MJ said...

Feel better soon, Merrick! I am so glad that Matron demanded to see his regular pediatrician! Brilliant move, Matron!

Shoring Up Destinations said...

It seems or weather is sick -- going from one flurry to the another. The good news is, I'll assume Merrick is better by now? It leaves hope for the Minnesota spring that never was.