I am naturally a very positive person. Definitely glass-half-full rather than glass-half-empty. And one of the things I refuse to do is worry needlessly about things that may or may not happen in the future. I might think about them, I might try to do some contingency planning just in case, but I flat out refuse to sit around moping about things that may not come to pass.
I have a lot of confidence in my ability to remain calm in a crisis, and cope with whatever life throws at me. A career in IT technical support will do that to you. I am logical, and you can throw me into an unknown situation and I’ll sort it out somehow. I’ve done it since I was a kid. Once when I was in my early teens, my Mum managed to cut her hand open with a kitchen knife when I was the only other person in the house. We both remained calm, she sent me to find something to stem the bleeding and then had me phone her best friend to drive her to the hospital. I very politely made the call, opening with “are you busy?”, and then being somewhat taken aback by the reply of “actually we’re just having dinner!”. Something in the way I paused must have made my Mum’s friend realise there was a problem, as she asked me what was wrong. Before the words “Mum’s cut her hand” had left my mouth she was in the car heading to us.
I digress. Anyway my point is – me, good in a crisis. Not a worrier.
The geekdaughter’s been suffering with what I am about 90% sure are just growing pains. An average of maybe once a week she wakes up crying in the middle of the night, complaining of pain. Mostly in her knees, but a couple of times in her feet or hands. It doesn’t happen in any kind of pattern – one week we’ll have 2 or 3 nights of it, then she’ll be fine for a couple of weeks, then it will start again. Her knees are never swollen, and Calpol sorts it out and gets her back off to sleep again. I’ve been relaxed about it. Well, 90% relaxed anyway.
You see, whilst I am 90% sure that it’s growing pains, there’s that 10%. That 10% that thinks it might be something more serious. The trouble is that on the geekdaddy’s side of the family is a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis. His Mum, his sister, his uncle, one of his cousins… Quite a strong family history, which particularly seems to affect the females. So every time the geekdaughter complains of joint pain, that 10% sits in the back of my head saying “what if it’s arthritis?”. And I know that it’s on the geekdaddy’s mind permanently.
So yesterday we took the first step in trying to find out more about what’s going on. We went to see our local GP. We are fortunate to live in the same town as my sister-in-law, and we purposefully went to see her doctor so that we had the advantage of someone who knows the family history. And I must say I was half expecting him to say “it’s growing pains, go away and stop worrying”. But he didn’t. He had a very quick feel of her knees and then said that given the family history, and the fact it had been going on for in excess of six months, he would refer us to a paediatrician… I sense we’re starting down the road that will lead to my gorgeous, beautiful little girl having blood tests for Rheumatoid Arthritis. At just 4 she seems far too young for this.
I am glad that there are blood tests that can help to diagnose RA. The GP did warn us that, particularly with young children, they can give false negatives, so even an “all clear” result now may not mean she’ll never get the disease. I do believe that it’s important to get as much information as possible. I am confident in my ability to cope, whether we get the diagnosis we fear or not.
But when I think about it too much, it scares me.