An open letter to all mums.

Dear Mums,

I’ve been seeing you with your little one pretty consistently since they were born, making sure they’re well and you’re coping. But I must say, we do seem to be spending a lot more time together at this time of year.

My appointment book each day is filled with names of mums and babies of different ages.  You’ve all got different jobs, have different family situations, and come from different cultures; but ultimately, you are all the same.

You desperately want what’s best for your child and you can’t stand to see them sick.

And each time your name pops up on my booking sheet, even if it only seems like yesterday (literally) – I want you to know – it’s ok.

It’s ok, that you just want to “be sure”.   It’s ok that you want to check “just in case”.  Plus lets face it, those damned daycare rules really don’t make life easy for us do they!

It’s ok that when I say most colds are gone in five to seven days, that you only hear the five and are back in a heartbeat.

It’s ok that now you’ve finally managed to get your little one out of the house and made it to the doctor’s surgery, that they are running around like nothing is wrong.  Even though this morning, they wouldn’t stop crying, coughing, or tantruming.

It’s ok, I believe you.

It’s ok that you just want to hear it from me. Doctor Google, facebook posts,  and anecdotes from mother’s groups can be frightening and confusing.

You aren’t a doctor. You’re a mum, and a damn good one.

It’s ok when you ask me questions like “but how do you know for sure?” Because I know you don’t want to take any risks with this beautiful little human who means the world to you.

Do I get frustrated? Sometimes.  Sometimes when you don’t ask, but never when you do.

Sometimes, when you bring the whole family in, but only book  one patient to see me.  That’s because I want to give you the time and advice each and every one of you need.  But at the same time, I’m grateful you still asked for help.

Sometimes, that you haven’t come in sooner, or trusted your gut; but never when you do. I hate hearing you’ve been festering at home, worried sick, when all you needed was fifteen minutes with me to alleviate your fears.

I will never judge: because not only am I a doctor, but I’m a Dad. And every now and again with my own children, I get a reminder of how scary or worrying it all can be.

The same questions you think you’re “bugging” me with, are the same questions I field at night from my fiancé. I hear the worry in her voice as she tries to convince me and herself, that our little boy is ok, but she just wants me to make sure. And I see this tough as nails, sleep-deprived woman I admire, cry when she can’t do anything more for our bubba with a cold in the dark of night.

So stop baulking – pick up the phone and come to see me. Don’t be embarrassed, or worried that I will judge.

I live it, I get it – it’s ok.

Kindest, Dr Sam

PS Get the flu shot or else.

(Originaly posted on Kidspot)

Is my 4 year old’s development on track?

Reaching the age of four is like climbing the first ladder of life. Kids are moving, talking, and living as little people, and at the top of this ladder they seem to take a big breath before tackling the next one that’s in their way. So just what should we be expecting from our four to five-year-olds?

Turning four means they get a check-up with me, plus a few pesky (yet vital) needles. Visits at this age are some of my favourite interactions with kids.  Read more here.

Meningococcal Vaccine (B&W) Update MAR19

Utter the words “meningococcal disease” and you’re sure to put the fear of God into any parent.  Listen in at any mothers group in the cafe, or scroll through facebook feeds and news outlets, and you’re sure to be left confused.

Just what is all the fuss about?  Dr Sam discusses meningococcal disease and explains exactly what we need to know about the vaccines out there.

Firstly, lets discuss the facts about the disease itself. Continue reading “Meningococcal Vaccine (B&W) Update MAR19”

The Happiness Trap and other information!

The sh%t gets real theory!

I’ve got this theory, everything gets real roughly around the time we turn 40. It certainly did for me.

There’s no great science to it, rather an observation of life.  Our 20’s and 30’s seem pretty bloody simple.  We’ve generally got one decision or one issue at a time.  Will I or won’t I go to uni, get married, take that job, have a baby. It’s not common for a mate or family member to get sick or pass away. Decisions and life issues tend to come along one (or maybe two) at a time.

Hit your 40s and BOOM!

It. All. Gets. Real.

Life’s tough, it’s a grind, it doesn’t stop. It’s overwhelming. And that’s ok. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed.

There’s being overwhelmed and stressed, and then there’s been depressed or anxious. And there’s certainly, at times, an overlap.

So here’s a few things I think you should listen to, read, and think about. Deal with the reality when it’s at the overwhelming stage, not at the depression or anxiety stage.

Read “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris.  A pioneer of the Acceptance and Committment Theory (ACT) model of psychological support: an evidence and reaserched based model proven to be of benefit.

Watch a few of Russ Harris’s videos here. Especially: THE STRUGGLE SWITCH, THE CHOICE POINT, VALUES VS GOALS, The art and Science of self-compassion.

LOVE.  Alain de Botton make you think about just what ‘love’ is.  A very useful video if you’re struggling in a significant relationship.

Fever, Colds, and Antibiotics

Being a parent is tough, especially when our kids get sick.  It’s hard to know when to relax, and when to panic.  When to rush to the doctor, or even the hospital.

Parents see fever as the troublesome disease, urgently seeking reassurance and treatment from their doctors.

“Fever is not an illness. It is a natural response of the body,” Dr Sam explains.  “It’s an indicator that something is going on inside our bodies, an important clinical sign.  But it is not the only clinical sign or symptom we look for.” Keep reading here.

Need more info on when Antibiotics are required, then keep reading here!

Cold and flu myths debunked.

Six things you should never do to treat your child’s cold.

The real reason that cough won’t go away.

13SICK

It’s Murphy’s Law. You’re never going to be right next to a petrol station when you run out of fuel. You’re never near a loo when you’ve really ‘gotta go’. And your little one is never going to be sick in normal waking hours, when you are prepared for anything and a trip to the local GP is easy.

So what do you do if your precious bundle is sick in the middle of the night?

Read more here at Kidspot.

Food allergies in children.

In Australia, as with the rest of the world, food allergies are becoming increasingly more common in our kids.  And no one really knows why.

Dr Sam sifts through the facts to discuss what all parents really need to know about food allergies.

Food allergy can develop at any age, but is most common in babies under one, affecting one in ten.  Most childhood allergies are ‘outgrown’, only affecting about one in twenty by age five, and only 2% of adults.  Continue reading.

 

Is your baby constipated?

I have a six month old, and WITHOUT doubt, the single, most frequent topic of conversation is poo – dissecting the daily passings of baby Clancy.

And it’s no different everyday in my surgery looking after young families.

The one issue that causes the most amount of angst is constipation.  So for baby Clancy’s mum and all the other new mummies, here are your common questions answered.

Read the full article here at Kidspot.

 

 

Testicular Cancer: From Yellow Jerseys to Operating Gowns – How Ordinary Blokes Save Lives

The last thing Italian cyclist Ivan Basso expected when he competed in the Tour de France this year was a cancer diagnosis.  But after a pile up in the fifth stage – he got checked out – and in that check up – was found to have a lump on his nut, now diagnosed as testicular cancer.

He’s not alone. Continue reading “Testicular Cancer: From Yellow Jerseys to Operating Gowns – How Ordinary Blokes Save Lives”

Chlamydia and Fast-Food sex

Could the rise of online ‘fast food’ sex be fueling a rise in chlamydia?

Online social hook-up applications such as Tinder are revolutionising dating. But the fallout is an increasing acceptance of risky sexThe speed with which horny adults link together is frightening, as is the decline in their rational decision making – the thrill of a fast f%$k outweighs the realities of risk.  Continue reading “Chlamydia and Fast-Food sex”

The Diet Advice You Can’t Ignore

I’m proud of my university degree at UTAS.

The Medical School is small, a mere 70 students a year, with some years dropping to 60 (illness, pot smoking, or tree hugging dependent – hey, don’t judge, it was Tassie remember!). But one aspect of my training has influenced me permanently. What UTAS did well, was foster our ability to critique medical information. To expose fact from fiction, enabling us to form robust treatment opinions based on evidence… REAL evidence. Continue reading “The Diet Advice You Can’t Ignore”

Schumacher – Turning a coma corner

Michael Schumacher is one of those blokes you can’t help but admire.  This guy has it all.  Immense skill, unrivaled competitive edge, extreme sporting prowess, rugged good looks, and a clear gift with the ladies.  When we were told he was severly injured skiing there was universal sorrow and support for his closest friends and family.  Even from Mercedes drivers.

What do we know? Continue reading “Schumacher – Turning a coma corner”

Cooking from the inside

As temperatures soar in Melbourne the dangers of exercising in extreme conditions have been highlighted at the tennis. But what is all the fuss actually about?

When we exercise our muscles burn energy with heat the natural byproduct.  The more you exercise, the higher your body temperature gets, with up to 4 or 5 degrees added to our usual 36 degrees.  Continue reading “Cooking from the inside”

Poo, dying and other unavoidable conversations

“Can you explain how poos are made Daddy?”

Wow. What a question from a six year old on a Friday morning!
But it did get me thinking.  How is poo made and how do you describe such an intimate process to your kids? When do such topics transition from being the frustrating fuel of endless “toilet talk” to a golden chance to provide education?  Come on mums, you know EXACTLY what I mean!