Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pediatrics Theatrics

When I was a kid, the doctors, nurses and staff used to laugh at my family because the only time we ever visited the pediatrician's office was to get stitches. My brother and I had exceptional immune systems, but were (are) very accident prone. Jarred and I were always so nonchalant about our childhood injures. As bad as our newest gaping wound appeared to whatever adult was in charge of us (because they never occured on my mom's watch), Jarred and I had always seen worse. We mostly focused on getting our stories straight so that we wouldn't get in trouble for the horseplay that led up to the injury:

Jarred (age 7): You can't tell Mom I was swinging from a tree branch...we'll say I slipped on a mossy rock.
Me (age 10): Got it.

I blackmailed Jarred for years with this information.

Now that I'm a mom, I am learning what a big deal it is to visit the pediatrician.
  1. The first time I used the phrase "My son..." was when calling to schedule his first appointment.
  2. The first time I was called "Mom" was by a receptionist asking me to fill out paperwork.
  3. The first person to call Robinson by his full first and last name was a nurse.
  4. Newborn check-ups are one of the only opportunities/excuses a new mom has to get herself fixed up, dress up the baby, and get out of the house.
  5. Finding out baby's current weight, length, and percentiles is exponentially more interesting than I would have predicted.
Robinson and I have each had a few doctor's appointments in the past two months, and I've learned something very important: Rob will give me one hour of "perfect angel" behavior. After that, we're all on borrowed time and he can come unglued and be inconsolable at any time, without warning. My anxiety levels increase as I sit in the waiting room watching the clock tick, knowing that we're wasting our window of "good" time. When that little nugget becomes hysterical in the exam room, the doctors have nobody to blame but themselves. I'm pretty sure I received the world's least thorough skin check at my oncologist's office last month thanks to Robinson's hysterics.
Rob's first newborn check-up didn't go well at all. Steve came along for this visit, and as soon as Dr. N. walked in to begin the exam, Robinson began to scream as if on cue. Unwilling to discuss anything with us in such a hostile environment, Dr. N. suggested leaving the room for a few minutes while I nurse Robinson.

Steve: Did that just happen?
Me: He's a pediatrician and father of four and he becomes rattled by the sound of a crying baby? We've only been doing this two weeks and we're way calmer!
Steve: I know, right?

Fast forward to last night, when I am holding a screaming Robinson:

Steve: So, Bean's been reading your blog--
Me: What?! Why are you even trying to talk to me right now?! I can't hear an effing word you say!

Maybe Dr. N. knows what he's doing after all.

Back to the 1st visit:

Steve: We just took his diaper off for the nurse, and he's bleeding a little bit. I think it's from the circumcision.
Dr. N: Ok, so there's red stuff in the diaper?
Steve: Yeah, there's blood in his diaper.
Dr. N: Well, there's a fluid, and it's red but until we examine him we can't assume it's blood.
Steve: Uh huh. There's blood in his diaper.

Later, when Steve and I are alone:

Steve: Red stuff? I thought you said this guy came recommended.
Me: He did.
Steve: Are you sure he went to medical school?
Me: Yes!
Steve: What kind of doctor calls "blood" "red stuff"?
Me: Seriously, I'm a 28-year-old woman and I've given birth. I didn't go to a fancy medical school, but I think I can correctly identify blood in the britches.

Sure enough, the "red stuff" proved to be blood. Score 1 for Mom and Dad! On second thought, there are no winners here.

I flew solo for the second check-up. During the exam, Dr. N takes a hard look at me from head to toe:

Dr. N: Well, you look very put together. You seem rested.
Me (laughing): Oh, thank you. I wouldn't say that I'm "rested", but I did manage to take a shower.

At first I thought it was an oddly-worded compliment. Then I realized he was sizing me up to determine if I was buckling under the strain of newborn care demands or suffering from Post Partum Depression. It's kind of a weird feeling to be examined when you dont' know you're being examined, but at the same time I'm grateful that pediatricians look out for mom too.

No comments:

Post a Comment