Notes From Mother’s Journal: To The Doctor’s Office And Beyond

I do have a new doctor all lined up. I have not yet met him. 1. I am lazy, 2. All we wanted was flu shots and it seemed simpler to go to the doctor I don’t like rather than take up valuable appointment time with a new doctor whose office has no history or knowledge of us. (Yes, basically I didn’t want the receptionist to have to make up 3 new charts just so we could get a shot. I am true to my Receptionist Sisterhood.)

So to our doctor we went three weeks ago. We all got jabbed for the H1N1. Our doctor is very uncomfortable with making babies cry so when Fresco started screaming (he moved his arm when the needle went in, you see. Don’t do that.) she high-tailed it to another room, Trombone by the hand, saying, “Should we find a treat for you?” in her very highest-pitched overcompensation voice. I was surprised, I admit. She did not strike me as the kind of person who gives lollipops after every shot, in fact our only souvenir of Fresco’s previous immunizations was the sticker he almost swallowed, oh and the bandaid she handed him to put on himself, I guess? anyway, off they went while I tried calming Fresco down and then they came back,

“Mommy! Look what I got!” said Trombone, brandishing two boxes of Children’s Ibuprofen. One in each hand. “Can we open my treats?” he went on, already scrabbling at the plastic wrap on the boxes.

“Uh,” I said, “uh, no. No, we’ll wait till we get home.”

“Here baby!” said the doctor, handing Fresco a box of Infant’s Tylenol. He batted it out of her hand and continued screaming. I slipped it in my purse.

I mean, I know there’s no way that a kid either of their ages could get the wrapper off, get the box open, get the plastic off the bottle, get the lid off and swallow the contents without me noticing. I am not a helicopter parent but I think I would probably stop them before it was time to call Poison Control. But where I come from, you don’t tell a preschooler that medicine is a treat. And if you can avoid letting small children handle medicine, AT ALL, it’s probably best to do so. The more practice they get at opening packages, the quicker they’ll be when it’s time for the Overdose Olympics.

Besides, you had stickers to give out when the baby was 6 months old and in danger of choking. Don’t you have stickers anymore? Might I recommend stickers? The ladies at the fruit market on 6th Ave. give us stickers all the time. We love that.

(Not that I don’t appreciate the free Ibuprofen, as we do go through buckets of it.)

I had hoped that would be our final visit to that doctor but she told me to come back in 3 weeks because Fresco-aged children get their vaccine in half doses. So there we were at 8:50 this morning in the car on our way to the doctor’s office. We all have head colds and are pretty seriously grumpy about The Entire World. Fresco is the healthiest of us all, since his cold started 2 days ahead of the rest of us. While we drove, the car radio played this commercial for the H1N1 vaccine, featuring a woman singing,

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly / fa la la la la / cough cough cough cough
’tis the season to be jolly / fa la la la la / cough cough cough cough”

…then The Voice says that it’s easier to feel festive when you’re not flu-ridden and you should go get immunized because now that the hysteria is over there’s lots of vaccine and no one going to get it and hey, we’ve got money to burn on advertising!

(The Voice didn’t say all that. I extrapolated.)

We must have heard it 3 or 4 times during our 10 minute drive. Money to burn, I say.

On our way up to the office in the elevator, we encountered two women of the Office Party Planner variety. One had a box full of cookies. The other had a box full of oranges.

Completely out of the blue, one of the women said to Trombone, “Who’s coming soon?”
“I don’t know,” said Trombone.
The women laughed.
“What day is it going to be next week,” I hinted.
“I don’t know,” said Trombone.
The women laughed.
“Santa!” said the woman, “SANTA is coming next week!”
“Ohhhh!” said Trombone in his “I’m going to humour you with my tone matching” tone.

Sure but I think the thing I miss second most about working in an office is the crazy ass elevator conversations.

The doctor was happy we were on time. Then she spied Fresco’s running nose.

“Does he have a cold?” she said.
“Yes, but it’s day 4,” I said, “he’s fine.”

Fresco, meanwhile, was panicking because he remembered 3 weeks ago. “Walk,” he kept saying, “walk, walk, go.” The doctor got out her nose and throat checking instruments to inspect his cold for flu-like symptoms, I guess, so to distract him I sang the first song that came to mind.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la… ”

And he coughed. Cough cough cough cough. Just like the commercial.

The doctor looked up. “Does he have a cough?” she said.

“No, no, just the stuffy nose, he’s just imitating this commercial from the radio,” I said. Trombone started to giggle. Fresco liked this.

“La la la la la cough cough cough cough,” he sang, all by himself. Beaming. Was very proud.

The doctor was confused. Tried to listen to his chest. Took out a tongue depressor and coerced him into opening up his mouth.

“OK, he’s fine, looks OK,” she said finally.

Fresco got jabbed. While he yelled, she took Trombone by the hand again and came back with a box of Infant Tempra and a tin of Boost (high calorie) Pudding. Then, “Oh!” she said, “come with me,” and off she went again and called back, “can he have chocolate?” Sure enough, there was a box of Pot of Gold from the receptionist’s desk and Trombone’s hand trembling over it in ecstasy.

“Sure,” I said. Yeah, it’s 9:15 am. That’s how I roll.
“Oh – but does he have a peanut allergy?” she said.
“Can the baby have chocolate?”

Well – sugar suppresses the immune system and we are all obviously sick and it’s 9:15 am and he’s not quite 20 months old but hells yes, let’s eat chocolate.

So we all had chocolate. And now my kids think she’s the best doctor ever.

Fa la la la la.

Later this morning we took a walk to the dollar store to buy glitter glue and pipe cleaners (and NOT a small notebook with a dog and a guitar on the cover, reading “ROCK DOGGIE” and yes I want some kind of medal for not buying it). The radio in the store played the H1N1 commercial again and both children sang along. The other customers looked at us like we were a traveling circus of viral insanity.
We pulled up to the cash desk where another customer was bagging up his purchases and he and Trombone had the following conversation:

“Hello!” said the man.
“Hello!” said Trombone.
“Who’s coming next week?” said the man. (Again – is this common small talk? I have never had this conversation before today.)
“SANTA!” said Trombone, obviously relieved to know the answer this time.
“That’s right!” said the man, “It’s almost Santa-Time!”

We came home and covered ourselves in glitter glue. It was all we could do.

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