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Cathy: Of pediatric mayhem

Last week, my son K, now 14, was scheduled for a pediatric meds check, because for the first time in his life since going on them at age 7, he has not gone in for illness for the past six months. That was a surprising call I received, during which I realized, omg! he has been healthy for six months in a row! Hallelujah! It’s been a long time.

To satisfy curiosity, he has environmental allergies and asthma, nothing exciting for the gossip mill, like ADHD or childhood depression and anxiety. I have often been asked why I don’t put S on meds for his Asperger’s, but frankly there are none except to cover symptomatic behaviors, of which his can be dealt with through a behavioral approach. Either that or I’m a glutton for suffering. And I’ve heard too many horror stories of wrong meds from the Asperger moms who’ve gone that route. Really, he’s a good guy, just needs some redirection and support — often. But back to K: generally, I’m against meds if another way can be found, but he needs them to breathe.  I’ll concede on that one.

So back to the story: in the lobby, I’m signing him in, making a co-payment, having all three kids with me because it was a half-day of school, and I was up for the adventure. For once, I was able to put C down for her to explore, K is responsible enough to watch her while my back is turned, but apparently he decided to read Compound instead.  I heard a vague sort of squeal, the sound C makes when S picks her up. I checked briefly, gave the usual speech, of arm under her butt, be safe, don’t be too rough, and I turned back to what I was doing. By the time I turned back around, a moment really, S had plopped her precariously on a chair edge and walked away. She was quite happily tipping off the edge and I flew, honestly, my feet didn’t touch the ground, to catch her before the thud and scream. Okay, survived that one. Phew! Another speech:  babies need to be placed all the way back in the chair and supervised carefully, S!

The rest of the waiting room went relatively uneventfully in my book, but probably seemed a cause for concern in others’. S  hummed and ran circles, twisting through any available floor space and intermittently asked random questions or recited whatever cartoon, movie, book was on his mind; K occasionally piped up with a stop it, you’re embarrassing me kind of statement; C was crawling, cruising around, and banging on bead rollercoasters, while I watched it all, letting the noise roll over me, because this is just another five minutes in my life, nothing to stress about. Thank goodness, it was only five minutes. Often, that waiting room can be equivalent to a ring in Dante’s Inferno.

I’ll skip the on the way to the exam room bit for expediency’s sake, because really, this is all just my normal – except, at the weigh-in and measure, K is now officially my height, soon to outgrow. In the exam room, S shot questions at the nurse who I tried to signal to ignore him while providing the answers to her questions that K was not fully providing and telling S that the nurse and K and I needed to talk, could he please just hum in his head for a change, and managing to keep a squirmy girl on my lap. Multitasking at its finest. As a teen, K was basically just saying no or grunting a non-committal response. He hates when I ask how he enjoys being a stereotype.

By the time Dr B arrived, S had rearranged all furniture in the room (so he could look out the window, and he likes to spin and wheel around on the doctor’s stool); C had explored the whole floor and drawers of the exam room with delight; K had sat on the exam table, and helped her, also opening drawers and pushing buttons, because he’s a very tactile, hmmm, what’s in here/what does this do?  kind of guy, and C pooped. At the moment Dr B walked in, S was playing dead, lying on the floor, K was sitting in the corner admonishing S for being on the floor, and I was changing C’s diaper on the exam table.  Having left the diaper bag in the van, I was using the newborn one I found in a drawer.  But you can see why I left it in the van, huh?  I don’t need to keep track of another thing with these three in tow. The look on Dr. B’s face was priceless. I responded cheerily, “Never a dull moment!”

Finally we settled back into appropriate seats, so to speak, as S still had one pulled up to the window and was watching traffic while pretending to be a 50-foot tall monster. Dr. B acknowledged S’s spinning of his stool down, so that he dropped like a rock practically to the floor, and there was a whole discussion about little people and if one was a doctor, wouldn’t they want to have the stool at a higher rather than lower setting thanks to K’s penchant for debate.

So we made it through the appointment. Near the end, S had enough of the room, and Dr. B’s son has painted beautiful nature murals, including lots of under sea creatures in the inner halls. S went out to check that out, and came back stiffly hopping and announcing he was paralyzed by the Portuguese man-of-war sting. I just laughed with Dr B and proclaimed, “Jon and Kate plus Eight have nothing on me!” as C squirmed to get down and the boys chased each other out of the exam room.

Dr. B, always one for a good debate, shot back with “How would you feel about fourteen?”  This launched us into an animated discussion about the irresponsibility of the Octo-mom’s infertility specialist and medical malpractice, to say very little of her mental capacity or financial capacity and why the heck the infertility doctor thought any part of the situation was alright to do what he did, never mind the fact that John and Jane Doe have to pay ten grand to go to the corner clinic to try for one. But the kids were shooting down the hall, K turned into a zombie to scare the bejeez out of S and chase him through the place, C was starting to whine vociferously, and I had to leave this very impassioned discussion, as did Dr B, who needed to rush to his next patient. Amazing what can transpire in an under 30-second doorway conversation.

What am I getting at here? Beats me, except that with Mother’s Day now behind us this year, I think we all deserve to pat ourselves on the back for the things we oversee and endure on a day to day basis. Some of it is fun, some of it is full of love, some of it is excruciating, some of it is a comedy of errors, some of it is barely hanging on by our fingernails, but most likely, at any given moment it’s all of the above.

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    hmmm…i thought i had a another paragraph before the last one the end: i guess i saved it into a later version, but here it is:

    I’m going to take a moment now to mention the moment that the exam room stood still in quiet, when S threw his arms around Dr B for a hug, and Dr. B hugged him back. S appreciates that Dr B just treats him like everybody else that walks in the room and engages him in S’s random and wild ideas.

    couldn’t let it go w/o mentioning that.

    May 11, 2009
  2. Jen #

    awww, I’m glad you took the moment to mention that. And what a story! (Even if it is really just another set of moments in the busy mom’s life, right?) Good for you for getting through with good humor and grace. And I agree — pats on the back are definitely in order! Oh, and congrats on the healthy 6 months — YAY!

    May 11, 2009
  3. Cathy #

    thanks, jen! yea, six months..doesn’t seem like a big deal until i realize that he usually has missed school and been to the dr every school quarter since 1st grade.

    and you deserve a pat on the back for tagteam toddlerdom!

    May 11, 2009
  4. cathy jennings #

    what a great guy your dr is!

    <> LOL!!

    you are so patient. i would have been freaked out by all the germs on the floor and the baby crawling on it and Shea laying on it.

    tell Kenny, congratulations for 6 healthy months! that’s awesome.

    May 11, 2009
  5. cathy jennings #

    i am such a dip. the lol was for:

    Often, that waiting room can be equivalent to a ring in Dante’s Inferno.


    May 11, 2009
  6. Cathy #

    i think it’s true of many ped offices! one weirdly sick kid or set of stitches can throw the whole schedule.

    May 11, 2009
  7. Liz #

    Cathy – you SO need to have a blog. 🙂 Do it, all the other cool kids are…. and then we’re all going to meet at the bridge later on.

    May 11, 2009
  8. Cathy #

    as long as you don’t tell me to jump off of that bridge, liz!

    i’ve been considering it for a long time, but just didn’t feel like i had anything to say beyond usual motherhood, frustrated writer, daily whatnot, who would want to hear it…but i think i’ve gathered the courage in the past year here to just maybe step up on that ledge….

    May 11, 2009
  9. Cathy #

    Okay. it’s done:

    is my new blog

    May 11, 2009
  10. great story, cathy! i love how you tagged it “normal chaos”. 🙂 isn’t that what most of us live day to day? and congrats on starting your new blog. i love the title!

    May 12, 2009
  11. Cathy #

    thanks, kelly! i agree, it is normal chaos. sharon creech has a wonderful children’s novel called ‘absolutely normal chaos’. i mean, i don’t have 5 kids like in her book, but miranda does…

    May 12, 2009
  12. Yeah…and speaking of those five kids, four of them have physicals this week — so let’s just say I’ll be feeling your pain!!!

    May 13, 2009
  13. Cathy #

    holy cow, miranda! you are a martyr mom.

    May 13, 2009
  14. “while I watched it all, letting the noise roll over me, because this is just another five minutes in my life, nothing to stress about.”

    Ain’t it the truth? Going to check out your new blog now…

    May 14, 2009
  15. Cathy #

    lol! thanks, jacquie, i sure enjoy yours!

    i’n ‘doing my stuff’ now 😉

    will blog about it for tomorrow!

    May 14, 2009
  16. Cathy, I just checked out your new blog. It’s great!

    I can sympathize with the doctor’s visit, and I love how you describe it. The six months of health is a plus. My two-year-old and five-year-old daugthers both have a daily maintenance of allergy medicine. My five-year-old also has asthma. It’s no fun, but so far we seem to be managing it pretty well. I just hate having such young kids on medication of any kind, but I suppose it’s better than watching them wheeze and cough. I hope to eventually be able to phase them off of it.

    May 15, 2009
  17. Cathy #

    thanks, lisa. so sorry that your girls have it so young. k didn’t really get going w/allergies til 7, then asthma at 10. the good news is that in having it as young as they do, they can likely outgrow it. K will definitely have to deal w/asthma for the rest of his life. my nephew was an early childhood asthma kid, and by 14 he was completely done with it.

    May 15, 2009

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