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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dr. Courageous

"You can just take this and hide it in your pocket."

That is what the pediatric urgent care doctor, whose last name is an ironic synonym for "courageous", told me as she slipped me a card with the name of an over-the-counter remedy for yeast infections written on it.

Erin had been complaining for a day or so about pain down in her *redacted to avoid pervy Google searches that will make me want to throw up*. She'd been making the sign for "ouch" and pointing down there when Emily would change her diaper. Emily suspected either a urinary tract infection or a yeast infection. I deferred to her judgment about it, since I have no idea what either would be like, and I brought Erin to the urgent care at her medical center.

Dr. Courageous, who, as these stories almost always ought to go, looked no older than 23, asked me somewhat embarrassedly what the symptoms were. I explained, and included a blunt description of "discharge". I'm all about putting my daughter's doctors at ease.

Yes, doc, I'm a father and I can use words like "discharge" and "vag*na" (though not on the blog because of aforementioned pervy searches that I get enough of just by being a dad with a daughter). It's ok. You can talk to me. I have permission. Here's a note from my wife: "Dear doctor, my husband has permission to take care of our daughter today. Please feel free to discuss things with him as you would with me or with anyone else who isn't a man. Thanks."

The doc performed the exam, and concluded somewhat uncertainly that Erin had neither a UTI nor a yeast infection, and I learned a new word:

Vaginitis. I can't wait for these Google searches.

Vaginitis is a bacterial infection around and within the vaginal canal that can most often result from washing with soapy water in the years before puberty. Or so says the sheet of paper the doctor dug out from another room; I'll take its word for it.

"So, definitely not a UTI or yeast infection?" I asked her.

"Probably not a UTI, but if she complains of abdomen pain in a couple of days or if her skin looks infected then we'll check. And it's probably not a yeast infection, but if it is...."

And that's when she scribbled "Lotrimin" on a card and put me at my ease by telling me that I could hide the card in my pocket. You know, so none of my guy friends would see it and mock me for needing "Lotrimin".


Nancy said...

I don't know if she gets them, but nix bubble baths. Not good for the nether regions.

Mr Lady said...


My oldest SON had yeast infections constantly. My doc gave me a standing scrip for Nystatin. Bless his little heart.

Mr Lady said...

PS: Not the "isn't that sweet" AWWWW, the "oh lordy that poor baby" AWWWW. Just thought I ought to clarify.

Mary Beth said...

This father thing is opening a whole new world for you, isn't it? Good of your daughter's doctor to recognize the risk of ridicule from your friends:)

Swirl Girl said...

Yup- been there with my girls too.
No bubble baths - and make sure you wipe front to back!

Welcome to the beginning of the host of vag*na troubles~

Jenni said...

Oh, you're poor, poor baby. I can't imagine having to take a toddler for a pelvic exam, even as a mom.

CrackerJacks said...

Antifungal's work great! That's a great OTC remedy to have.

No Bubbles Baths! And I am not sure if you are potty training but when we were teaching our 2 year old to wipe, we would sing "front to back" over and over. And now, yes even in public, she sings, "front to back". Izzy has had one UTI and she got it one week after potty training. They say it's common when they start to learn to pee in a potty. Izzy's wasn't very bad, but I knew she had one as soon as it happened. She would cry and you could tell she was in pain. She also was peeing less often.

Just to keep things on the safe side, Izzy gets a glass of cranberry juice once a week at least.

Douglas said...

Seems like most comments focus on the content of the post more than what I read as it's intent.

I'll extend my sympathies to Erin before I revoke them from Dad. In my experience all vaginal problems are uncomfortable and take too long to go away.

Seems a little unfair to assume that just because you've passed the threshold on comfort with being the primary care giver (and a Dad) that you'd expect the same comfort level from everyone else. And on short notice without already knowing your inclinations.

Being a stay at home Dad is the exception not the rule. That's at least one of the reasons I enjoy this blog. Certainly Dr. Courageous could be cut a little slack?

Backpacking Dad said...

Douglas: not "from everyone else". but from a pediatrician? a professional? yes, I do expect, insist, and demand that they be absolutely comfortable discussing their professional expertise with whomever it is comes to them, even if that person is a father. I did cut her some slack. I didn't call her out on it, or try to make her uncomfortable about her demeanor while I was speaking to her. I didn't correct her. I took her card and I interacted professionally and politely, with good humour and grace.

And then I blogged about it. Because I was annoyed. And rightfully so, I think.

Sam (TEOI) said...

GAH! I give you credit where credit is due... when my son got bit by a tick on his "gomez" (long story, don't ask) and had some kind of reaction, I made Mark take him to the doctor.

Elisa said...

Ouch. Yes, my daughter had that too on and off, bubble baths would trigger it, so we would just let her splash around in water with no soap and then when she got bored washed her, rinsed her and took her out. poor baby.

And you are totally right. A doctor should not be embarassed to discuss this with the primary care giver. Next thing you know they will consider vajayjay and peepee medically correct terms. Give me a break.

Natalie said...

oh yeah...the inevitable yeast infection. we've all been there before. not fun...and very itchy. way to be a grown-up with the doctor. good for you!

Jennifer said...

What a man you are, LOL.

Maggie had a yeast infection (I think) back in Feb when she was on antibiotics. Though it was more in her butt-cheek area than her 'girl parts'. A little Lotrimin-type stuff and she was good as new :)

dorothy said...

I couldn't use bubble bath until after high school for this very reason.

Way to go, Dad! You rock.

Douglas said...

Fair enough. For your doc. At your normal clinic. But I gotta think that expecting a doc at an emergent care place to suit up for some out of the norm cultural interaction is like expecting the lady at the DMV to wave and call you by name when you come in to renew your license.

Those folks experience an aggregate view of humanity and present back accordingly. I suspect that nearly every other dad that brought in a daughter in you daughter's condition welcomed the spy novel hand-off.

I agree with Dorothy, you do rock. I'm just a little contrary today.

SciFi Dad said...

@Tight Pants:
the anti-spam term is v@gina. I looked it up. ;)

I'm with Shawn on this (and I'm your "rule" as a work out of home dad, not your "exception"). If I take my daughter to the doctor, the hospital, or anywhere for medical attention, I expect to be treated like the person I am: her parent.

Her behaviour perpetuates the belief that men are somehow not the same kind of parent as women. Do you think she would be equally as awkward discussing a son's peni$ (that one's for you too, TP) with a mom? I doubt it.

Kyddryn said...

Hmm...funny how my son's doctors had no problem inspecting his...erm...junque and discussing it with me with the assumption that Mum is just fine with whatever they have to say, while they hem and haw around his father.

I hope the lass feels better soon, and that your Pedi gets over her daddy-shyness in a hurry.

Shade and Sweetwater,

MereCat said...

I had to try and describe the symptoms to a pharmacist in Greece who only spoke Greek. Think about itchy charades with three burly Greek men. Or maybe you shouldn't.

Aunt Becky said...

I remember when Ben was a baby, he had a rash on the tip of his weenis. The doctor informed me that it was a yeast infection. So, for some reason, as I asked the 17 year old pharmacy tech for Monistat, I felt it was a great idea to tell him that "it wasn't for me" and "it was for my son."

Like that made it any better.

Danielle said...

I agree with BP Dad here.

I have had to take my son to the doctor to have the foreskin on his penis ripped back, because it started to stick together after a circumcision.

What the hell do I know about that?

But I was pretty damn sure it hurt. And I (and my pediatrician) were able to use the words foreskin and penis without giggling.

It's their profession. Anatomy is their profession. They should be held to conduct themselves professionally.

Nicole said...

You are absolutely right in being annoyed at the doctor. You are the parent, you are obviously responsible & educated & care about your daughter's well being. Just wait until you get to the parent-teacher conference when your daughter begins school and the teacher only looks at your wife. Ugh. Hopefully that is an overly pessimistic comment, but really, SAHD's & caring dads in general deserve some credit.

P.S. I de-lurked today to comment. Love the blog.

Miss Grace said...

The last time I was at my "lady doctor" appointment, I was in the waiting room, and I starting reading the VAGINITIS flyer (yes, it's the worst word EVER). Then I got all paranoid because people were watching me read it, and did they think I had it? I didn't! Then I didn't want to put it back because then for sure they would know! That I had it! Unless keeping it meant that I had it! It was a rough day.

crazymumma said...

what Nancy said, and no soap as well (YES! she will get clean with just water).

Have her eat lots of yogourt and I have heard tell that a bit of vinegar in the bath is good.

AEA said...

Wow. Philosopher, best dad ever, and now . . . passive aggressive gender warrior. Quite the Renaissance man, aren't we Burns? Or, should I say, Miss de Beauvoir? Your indignation at the doctor who handed a slip of paper to you with a remedy for a typical woman's problem scrawled on it is righteous and ought to inspire us all. Truly, it is you, the downtrodden, the forgotten, universally maltreated and selectively ignored whom Simone had in mind when she penned "The Second Sex". Vive l'équité des hommes!

Backpacking Dad said...

AEA: Dude, I'm going to send you some hateful texts now, Baldy :}

GeekMommy said...

a) no bubble baths - with the exception of infrequent "gentle, fragrance-free Mr. Bubble" (white bottle)

b) Jarro's Baby Acidophilus for the win!! - whenever yeast infections occur, this is a MUST for little girls. Easy to use, fast to work, all natural. Can be used along with Nystatin or what have you.

c) total sympathy - K used to get these all the time - we keep acidophilus in the fridge... they lesson in frequency with age at least!

d) antibiotics of any sort will also bring them on - if on antibiotics, counter with acidophilus in between doses (as far in the middle as possible) to avoid.

e) wow - you are the rockinest dad!! :)

Redneck Mommy said...

I'm still remembering your tweet about vaginitis and your usage of said word in a sentence.

I do believe you have harmed my delicate psyche with said tweet. It's all I can think about as I read the post.

But can you just tell your friend AEA that I officially love him now?

Chicks dig balding dudes.

And for the record, in the future I shall refer to you as Miss de Beauvoir.

Suits you and your girly hands.


Tootsie Farklepants said...

There should really be a warning on bubble bath: Caution! May give your toddler daughter v*ginitis! We aren't making this shit up.

The Microblogologist said...

You got out easy. My sister dropped her fishbowl while cleaning it and cut open her knuckle. Dad took her to the ER to get sewn back together and her needle-phobia made this extra pleasant. One nurse threatened to tie her down which freaked her out even more and she started screaming, "Don't tie me down, I promise I'll be good, please don't tie me down!!!" Another nurse walked in as the sibling started screaming this.

Not long after we get a visit from child services, Dad answered the door and assured the woman that he does not make a practice of tying up his daughter(s), Cheryl backed him up and they went on their merry way. I am convinced if Mom had taken her that we would have never had that visit. This was 10 or so years ago, guess we haven't gotten very far in those years...

I hope poor Erin feels better soon!


Anonymous said...

Our previous paediatrician (not the use of the word 'previous'), used to always say to me -

"Go home and tell your husband I said XYZ and if he has any concerns he should call me".

If I rang him with a concern he'd said -

"but what does your husband think?"

Apparently as a stay at home mum my opinion didn't count.

We now have a new paediatrician who treats my husband and I as equals.

Hope Erin is getting better now and the treatment worked.

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm not sure if it's been luck, or having boys, or a lack of yeast infections and/or UTIs in my house, but I'm glad I've never had this kind of experience with a doctor. You'd think professionalism would be part of the whole white coat thing regardless of who was with their child at the time.

On the other side of things, I hope Erin is feeling better.

Wendy said...

I detect a little reverse sexism. You're her dad, for goodness sake! Naturally you realize that she has a vag*na!

My son kept a spot on his groin that I thought was excema for a couple months. I finally mentioned it to the doctor and he said it was a yeast infection. The male version is jock itch, btw. He said to use athlete's foot cream. Apparently you can get a yeast infection pretty much anywhere. Thrush is yeast infections of the mouth.

Vaginitis is different, though, so I guess that entire paragraph is a tangent and can be ignored. Thanks. I'm done now! ;)

Anonymous said...

Backpacking Dad,
Not to give you TMI, myself and both of my daughters have been through the same thing. We do NO bubble baths, no soap "down there" and are careful with wet clothing or in your case diapers being on too long. As far as bath time with my 5 yo. I wash her first with the plug out of the tub so the soapy water goes down. Then we fill the tub with clean water for play time. Just wanted to give you some ideas.


BTW, this is Butterflygirl but for some unknown reason I can't sign into my account!

Backpacking Dad said...

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. The problem has cleared up, there was no bacteria at all. Erin is much better now.

Vaginitis vaginitis vaginitis vaginitis.

Let's see how many hits I get off of this one.

kittenpie said...

Isn't Lotrimin also used for manly afflictions like Jock Itch and Athlete's Foot? You could always tell the guys it's for one of those. Maybe something you picked up fencing.

Robert Goodman said...

Not pervy, but how about an entrepreneurial Google search? I invented a formula for bath foam (US pat. 5,336,446, now expired) that doesn't cause vulvovaginitis even in those most sensitive. Too bad no big company picked it up, but you can read about it at the URL I left.