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.