After 10.5 years of being a mom, there are very, very few people who I still care to impress with my keen parenting skills. Of those, are my pediatricians. I’m sure it stems from the series of well-visits when my kids were babies. Whenever their height and weight were charted, I felt like I was doing an amazing job. Oh look, I must be doing something right: they are growing! I looked forward to their validation with every visit.
Now that the kids are older, I still need the reassurance that I am not COMPLETELY screwing them up. At least with their physical health. Of course, the majority of the time that I think my kids are faking, they really need medical attention: raging double ear infections, mono, dislocated elbow and a rare dirt-residing parasite that screws up white blood cell counts and causes crapping and puking — often at the same time — for two straight weeks.
Yesterday, Aidan had a nasty, technicolor phlegm cough and sore throat. Eileen was feeling lousy with sharp stomach and chest pains that sent her howling when she got home from school. All the kids at school must be licking each other because there have been a lot of strep cases. Between that and the thought of leaving my house for anything during the predicted Snowmageddon, I broke down and brought them to the doctor.
We get to the office at 7:30 pm and are placed in our examination room to wait for the doc. Two minutes later, Eileen yells at Aidan for making squeaking sounds with his boots. He proceeds to get up and does a dance in the middle of the room. “Is he really sick?” she snottily asks while hypnotized by her iTouch. In retaliation, he pokes her and she throws a fit — her former weak, pained voice is now a crystal-clear screech.
“You two owe me $30 each for the co-pay because I don’t believe that either of you are really sick!” The doctor enters the room just as those loving, motherly words diarrhea out of my mouth.
We go over Aidan’s issues (health, not mental) and she asks if he’s been coughing during the day. I answer “No” and Aidan turns and replies, “How would you know? I was coughing all day while you locked me in my room.”
“Oh, ha ha ha,” I am about to explain how I work from home and loaded him up with DVDs, water, a vaporizer and snacks in the comfort of his bed, with the door unlocked, but she was on to the next question. So I just remained Evil.
She swabs his throat and steps out of the room to run the test. Eileen starts asking why I seem so annoyed and I try to explain how I am just frustrated that she was so sick after school and now she seems to be honky dory. “Mom, I am sorry that you think I am faking and you find me irritating.” Doctor walks in at that exact moment.
The pediatrician asks Eileen some questions and my dear daughter explains that she has been feeling very gassy for a long time. “It is an inherited trait,” Eileen nonchalantly explains. “On my father’s side.”
The doc laughs, checks Eileen out and can’t find anything physically wrong with her, but does a swab to be on the safe side. Again, she leaves the room to run the test and daddy’s little girl lets one rip. Aidan starts giggling, then begins bark-coughing. Eileen lets one go again. And again. I explain how the pain was probably gas bubbles and that since she was holding them in all day at school, they probably built up and that’s what hurts. “Yeah, I don’t want to be mortified by tooting, so I squeeze them in until I can go to the bathroom.”
“Uh, guys, can we not talk about this here?” asks Aidan.
“We’re in a doctor’s office, of course we can talk about this!” snaps Eileen. So we discuss gas issues all the while being accompanied by her trombone arse.
The nurse pops into our stinky room and lets us know that the strep tests are negative and we can go home. Please.
So Aidan has croup. Eileen has gas. And I have a headache.
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