Friday, December 31, 2010

Pediatricians Are Very Patient, But Mama Needs Valium

We took Zane for his three year wellness check today. His birthday was in October, but he was sick, and you just can't do a wellness check when a kid isn't well. Really--it's in some manual somewhere. Almost immediately after I made the appointment, Zane developed s very croupy sounding cough. No fever, no significant congestion, just a honking cough. He sounds like the Aflac duck, as a matter of fact.

"It's whooping cough," announced my husband.

"It is NOT whooping cough," I replied. Larry remained unconvinced, and I had to explain that since Zane had received a vaccination against pertussis, which is whooping cough, he did not currently have whooping cough. I also pointed out that Zane did not have a fever, and that pertussis was called Whooping cough because the cough does NOT sound like the Aflac duck. Larry was still unconvinced, but at least he stopped talking about it.

We finally got back to the exam room, and the nurse told us that we needed to strip Zane down to his underpants for the exam. She then left the room and closed the door behind her.

Zane did not want to strip today. We took off his shoes, and he started crying and protesting. We took off his socks, and Zane upped the decibel level. The pants and the shirt required extra effort, because Zane was as much determined that these articles of clothing should remain on his body as we were to get them off. By the time we got everything off, Zane had worked himself into a fit of epic proportions. He made that girl in the Exorcist look like calm. There we were, wrestling a screaming, writhing, mostly naked child, and all I could think of is that the entire staff, and any other patients, were likely thinking that we were Very Bad Parents indeed. Of course, nobody came in to check on us, but I suppose they figured they would avoid being collateral damage.

Zane tantrummed himself right to sleep while we were waiting for the doctor. The doctor came in eventually, and we talked pleasantly about the cough a minute or two, and the doctor spoke to us about a new vaccine that he wanted Zane to have which would offer more protection from ear infections and other pneumo-baddies like meningitis, and about the flu shot. We decided to postpone any vaccines until Zane was not honking like a duck; no sense in tempting the fates by introducing a new set of viruses when the immune system is off fighting Orcs in the Pellinor fields.

Then the very nice doctor, who has known Zane since right before he left the NICU, wanted to listen to Zane's lungs/heart. Zane woke up and was not agreeable to that, and started crying again.

If you've ever played with a stethoscope, you know that it amplifies sound, which is great when you need to hear what is happening in someone's chest. Not so great when the chest you are listening to happens to be carrying on a tantrum.

"Zane, sweetheart, please don't make the doctor go deaf," I murmured. I was pretty sure that they charge extra for that, and definitely sure that such an event would not be covered by our insurance.

But the doctor maintained his happy demeanor while he checked Zane's abdomen for hernias and his muscle tone and such, then gave us a couple of free samples of cough medicine so we didn't have to worry about a prescription over the holiday weekend. He was smiling, and I was a nervous wreck after all that screaming and crying! I decided that he was probably happy because we were his last patient for the day. Well, that, and nobody had thrown up on him.

In his line of work, any day that nobody throws up on you looks good. Actually, that is a good day for most jobs.

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