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Monday, October 30, 2006  

Examination Room

M. Small's been fighting a cold ever since we landed in New Mexico two and a half weeks ago, so Trash and I finally decided to take him to the doctor yesterday.

We were glad when they put us in an examination room that's bigger than they normally do. In our experience, the examination rooms are never quite big enough. As it turns out, that's because there is no such thing as big enough.

This isn't just us being first time parents, either. When we brought him in for his fifteen-month physical last winter, we remarked to the NP that he was pretty active. She was like, "Okay, good, whatever." After fifteen minutes of her only being able to talk to Trash, because I had my hands full wrangling the toddler, she realized, "Wow, you're not kidding." More bouncy than normal, is what I'm saying.

I think it might be a combination of the close quarters, the unfamiliar surroundings, and the fact that he has to spend most of his appointment wearing only his diaper. Near-nudity makes anyone feel a little crazier, as any frat-party attendee will recognize. Within five minutes, he's bouncing around the room like an untied balloon, and within ten, he's got his hands wrapped around the door handle, repeating, "Open it! Pleeeease!" so he can go wreak more havoc in the hallway.

The first thing he did yesterday was crawl into the cabinet under the sink. It was completely empty, so it's not like he was going to ingest anything. We figured the worst thing that would happen would be that he'd bump his head on the pipes, which might at least slow him down for three or four seconds. After a minute though, he crawled back out and ran over to the examination table to play with the stirrups. I tell you, I've learned more about how those things work in the past two years than I had in my whole life. Have they always been there?

Oh, and don't insult my intelligence by saying we just need to bring toys or books from home to keep him entertained. Doesn't work. He already knows that stuff, and like any toddler he's drawn to a) stuff he hasn't played with already, and b) stuff he isn't supposed to play with. So basically, the Holy Grail in these rooms is the otoscope.

Thus it falls to us to distract him with the other crap in there. A tongue depressor is good. All fifty, he assures us, would be much better. Same deal with those really long q-tips. But the biggest item isn't always available.

Generally, when we go to urgent care, we go to the one in Golden Valley instead of the one near our house. The wait there tends to be about a third as long. Even better, they have something that the one near us doesn't have: latex gloves in the examination rooms.

Think back to the first time you saw Howie Mandel blow up a rubber glove, and how goddamn hysterical that was. Now imagine you were two at the time, and the height of sophisticated comedy was pretending to sneeze. This may give you some idea of how vital these things are to keeping M. Small happy in the examination room. Trash tied one off and let him bat it around, a balloon with fingers and a thumb. At least until he bit it and said, "What happened?"

After we blew up a half-dozen or so, Trash told me to quit it so we didn't get in trouble. We threw away the gloves, and let M. Small crawl back under the sink. Where he began splashing merrily in the large puddle he found there.

Yes, I don't know how he did it, but he somehow caused a leak under the sink. Trash pulled him out and entertained him with more glove-balloons for a couple of minutes while I turned off the drip and sopped up the mess with fifty or so paper towels. The advantage of this was that the wet paper covered up all the gloves we'd thrown in there.

Surprisingly, I got finished before the doctor came in. He took a look, told us we'd caught it in time, and wrote a prescription, so M. Small is fine.

Or at least he will as long as that sink doesn't start leaking again and they figure out it was him.

posted by M. Giant 9:43 PM 4 comments


Oh, for the love of all that is right and holy, WHY WHY WHY do they hang the damn otoscope from the wall directly above the exam table, WHERE THE SMALL CHILDREN MUST SIT FOR ENDLESS MINUTES WITH NOTHING TO ENTERTAIN THEM WHILST WAITING FOR THEIR ETERNALLY LATE DOCTORS???? The office we go to most often even has a sign above the stupid thing warning parents to not let their children play with the instruments. THEN MOVE THEM, YOU ALLEGED "PEDIATRIC PROFESSIONALS" WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!!!

Not that I have strong feelings about this or anything...

Glad M. Small is doing well!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 31, 2006 at 6:23 AM  

My cat does the exact same thing at the vet's. When he was a kitten, it took two people just to hold him down for his shots. It got to the point where the assistants automatically come into the room when they see him on the schedule. When they aren't holding him down, he'll be crawling under the exam table, ripping apart boxes of supplies, and trying to tear down the door. It would be embarrassing but everyone thinks it's hysterical.

At least with a kid, there is hope that they will eventually grow out of it. My "kitten" is five years old now and still he does it. Sigh.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 31, 2006 at 3:08 PM  

My sister designated one of those bead/wire frame toys specifically for doctors' visits and never let her two kids see or play with them at home. It provided at least five or ten minutes of distraction, guaranteed.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 2, 2006 at 8:12 PM  

Yeah, the 'out growing it' thing might be a little iffy. About twice a year I have to have my mother drive me the ER due to an extremely persistant migraine, and she still gets bored and plays with the instruments. She's in her 50s. I have got to start bringing toys with me.

By Blogger Mags, at November 3, 2006 at 3:01 AM  

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