Before I had kids I spent very little time at the doctor’s. Apart from my annual women’s check up, I didn’t need to visit my GP much as I didn’t get sick often. Now that I have three little ones, I am there every other week. Along with my local pharmacist, a visit to our local GP is about as regular as a trip to Bunnings!
There are some things that kids share very well. Germs. Unlike their toys they’re not particularly territorial about germs. On the contrasty they’re very generous with passing these on. Add to this the bone brushing fatigue that most mums experience, our immune systems are often depleted and we get sick more frequently.
Becoming a mum redefines exhaustion. It also rearranges your priorities. And one thing I’ve discovered is the importance of having a good family GP. A good GP is vital when you are raising a family. When I was growing up we had the same GP for twenty years. And while this isn’t always possible if you move suburbs, continuity of care is one of the many benefits of having a trusted local GP.
Kids get sick. Colds, coughs, gastro, ear infections, conjunctivitis are just the beginning. Fortunately my kids have never been really sick and they find going to the doctor a highly exciting experience.
Since becoming a mum I have relied on my lovely GP more than ever before. And it’s not only for my children’s’ health. My health, while fairly good overall, has needed more attention in the past few years. Two big events come to mind.
About 18 moths ago I experienced anxiety for the fist time in my life. At the time my husband and I were going through a stressful time of deciding whether to uproot our family and move overseas for his work. His employment situation in Australia was not secure and we considered a move to the US. I felt the huge burden of having to make a decision with significant implications for the family. And it took a toll on my mental health. To help us make this decision it required a trip to the US to check out schools and housing etc. It meant leaving our children for nine days.
I was incredibly tense about this, having never left them before and I began to feel highly anxious. I remember making an appointment with my GP and bursting into tears when I tried to explain how I was feeling. I was having trouble sleeping, and felt panicked as the day drew closer to leave them. Morbid thoughts like what would happen if the plane crashed and our kids were left alone without parents occupied my mind. My lovely GP listened to me as I explained my situation and was reassuring. It felt good to have someone listen to me. She prescribed me a low dose of anxiety medication to help in the lead up to the flight, and to have before take off. And it helped. It helped a lot.
More recently I saw my GP for another traumatic time in my life. I suspected I was miscarrying. And I was right. For someone who is quite guarded with my emotion, it was surprisingly easy to cry to my GP. My GP was sympathetic, reassuring, and gave me the quality of care that eased some of my suffering. She not only addressed the physical side of my pregnancy loss, but the emotional side too. She answered all my questions with compassion. She assured me that I was not to blame as I had worried that the death of my auntie and the stress it had caused, may have resulted in my miscarriage. She passed me tissues. She gave me hope, probably the most important quality a GP can have is offering patients optimism. And she helped distract my kids with colouring in so that I could shield them from my tears.
A good GP
I have so much respect for General Practitioners. Each day they see patients presenting with myriad symptoms and concerns. The good GP understands the importance of getting to know you and your children. The good GP is someone who can rely on and trust. The good GP provides safe, quality, and efficient care. The good GP helps people with everything from the flu to pregnancy, diabetes, sleeping problems, mental health illnesses and cancer. And the good GP never stops learning, thanks to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Did you know that GPs are actually ‘specialists’? They’re specialists in General Practice and that means being knowledgeable across 22,000 different illnesses!
On a good day I struggle to remember 22 names!!
Everyone needs a good GP. Do you have one? Tell me below how frequently you visit your GP.