When a Trip to the Pediatrician's Office Makes You Feel Bad

by Cheryl Maguire September 05, 2016

It’s going to be easier, right? I try to convince myself of this as Nemo darts by a cave in the fish tank. Even though we are seated in the non-sick section of the waiting area, I feel germs crawling all over me.

My twins’ well visit has always been challenging. As babies, they cried the entire time. As toddlers, they sprinted in opposite directions while I attempted to corral them back into the office. As school aged children they still dashed out of the room but their longer legs enabled them to outrun me. Now that they’re older and capable of following directions (most of the time), I’m really hoping for a more mundane experience.

Thirty minutes tick by. My positive outlook diminishes.

“I’m bored.”

“So am I.”

“When are we going home?”

“Yeah, I wanna leave.”

Before I can conjure up a reply, the nurse calls their names and leads us to a 10x12 windowless room. At least they can’t escape this space.

“Now remember, today you have a new doctor,” I state sternly.

“I don’t want another doctor.”

“I wanna go home.”

“Are we getting shots?”

My son eyes the door, definitely constucting an escape plan. He is infamous for exiting unexpectedly when the nurse with the needle enters the room.

We hear a knock on the door. I feel like saying, “Finally,” but instead I answer, “Come in.”

The doctor’s questions begin routinely, but then take an uneasy turn towards my parenting techniques (or lack thereof). He vigorously records his observations.

“Do they play video games?”

“Yes, Minecraft.”

“Do you know they kill each other in that game?” asks the doctor.

“Yeah, but there isn’t any blood,” my son interjects.

We soon become well-versed in the evils of Minecraft. That 30-minute wait is starting to make sense.

“Do they watch TV?”

“Not really.” Because they’re too busy playing video games to have time to watch TV.

“Do they watch TV before bedtime?”

“No. We read books.”

“We watch TV,” my daughter objects. Great, now the doctor thinks I’m lying and letting them watch TV. The doctor glances at all of us and then probably scribbles, “Mother allows violent video games, TV before bed, and is unaware of the dangers of both; felt the need to lie, schedule follow up.”

“Do they eat all meals at the kitchen table?”

As my daughter would say, “I got this.” I’m fanatical about eating only in the kitchen since I despise cleaning crumbs from the couch. But I’m guessing he's asking due to some “health” benefit from eating at a table instead of an ottoman.

“Yes,” I respond cautiously, staring at my children.

“She won’t let us eat in the family room,” my daughter offers with a tattling tone, without realizing she is finally making me sound like a competent parent.

“Do they eat green vegetables?”

“They like corn.”

“I don’t eat corn,” my son protests.

Fortunately, the doctor focuses on my inability to answer his question instead of my erroneous response.

“No, green vegetables. Do they eat green vegetables?”

“Not really.” They aren’t even offered green vegetables since I gave up trying to get them to eat green vegetables years ago.

The questions end and he begins the actual physical examination. Being a stickler for taking showers and general cleanliness, I relax a little bit thinking it will all be over soon. This state of being is interrupted when I notice that the doctor is scrutinizing my daughter’s lower appendage. My pulse quickens when he bends closer to study it, clearly concerned about something. Then things take a turn for the worse.

“Can you take a look at this?” the doctor asks.

I almost utter, “Gross!" There's a horrible, angry rash all over my daughter’s leg.

“It looks infected. I am going to prescribe an antibiotic.”

He furiously transcribes for at least five minutes without looking at us. I can only imagine what is going on over there. By the time he's done with this “well visit” he will have an entire book written, possibly a best seller. I’m guessing his note states something along the lines of, “Mother doesn’t understand yellow corn is not a green vegetable and she is oblivious about proper bathing procedures. Recommend parenting classes, stat.”

In the next room a baby is crying, most likely getting shots, and I can’t help but feel envious.

Cheryl Maguire


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