Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh, Fart! The Ped's Office was a bust!

Ah, woe is me! We have all been struggling with all the symptoms of a common cold for about the last 10 days, but one of my little guys, John, has really had a tough week with fever and persistent cough, not to mention the avulsion ("A type of wound where skin is "torn" partially or fully away. This type of wound tends to bleed a lot") on his right index finger which had necessitated a visit from Medic 102 and a visit of intermindable duration at the local ER.

I finally thought the cough, cold, wheezing, sneezing, febrile state had gone on long enough and called the pediatrician's office first thing and scheduled an appointment for 11:00 a.m. At 10:15, I finally went in to wake both boys, scrambled through the resistance of getting them dressed, and marched them out to the van. After several return trips back into the house (1 for Big City Engine and Mama Kitty, 1 for the little red car and the little green truck, 1 for two containers of yogurt milk and two breakfast bars, 1 to pick up a few extra diapers for my dear son who is regressing, and 1 for my coffee, which had already been reheated 6 times since 7:00 a.m.), we sailed off to the ped's office. I scored a premium parking space (i.e., one that empties onto a sidewalk) directly across from the fire station and secretly wished for a commotion in nearby 7 Corners which would require an all out 3 alarm response, so as to distract my children from the notion that we should race into the Pharmacy to get lollipops.

I loaded up one side of the double stroller with a huge purple backpack laden with the potty seat, clean clothes, diapers, first aid supplies (see avulsion, above) and snacks, and the other side of the double stroller with a huge bag of children's books and grown-up magazines to donate to the office. I stuffed the bottom of the sagging basket beneath with Mama Kitty, Big City Engine, the green car, the red car and a huge plate of freshly baked brownies for the pediatrician's office. Feeling quite clever and well-prepared, and satisfied to be pushing the big load of heavy crap in my stroller rather than schlepping it and pushing the children in the stroller, I was, to say the least, deflated when both boys insisted on riding in the stroller, the short 50 foot walk to get where we were going. Insisted, of course, means one of them falling to the cold cement and wailing, while the other one was angrily tries to hoist the aforementioned heavy objects out of the stroller and into the nearby tree box and suffering TFS (toddler frustration syndrome) as a result of his inability to do so.

We navigated the Doors that Wouldn't Open Completely, the "elevator button is too high for me would you please pick me up for God's sake don't touch it Mama" crisis and the unfortunately placed water fountain outside the ped's office and pushed our way (after rearranging the chairs within) into the "sick" side of the office at exactly 11:00 a.m.

I think I forgot to mention that at some point, David dumped an entire bottle of yogurt milk onto the floor of the van as he was getting out. Absent any rags or paper towels or dirty laundry or our dog to aid in cleaning the mess, I swept most of the thick, sticky stuff out into the parking lot with my bare hand and needed, upon entering the ped's office, to wash them before touching anything. Bravely, I dashed away from my two children while pleading with the front desk staff on (to whom I had just bequeathed the brownies, books and magazines) on my way by to Keep an Eye on Them! I was pleasantly surprised that the office was neither on fire nor tornado struck upon my return 14 seconds later.

After a few minutes in the waiting room, punctuated by 3 year old questions, (like Where is the Truck Book from Last Time? Is that fat lady with the long hair a nurse or a mama? Is that man with the baby a papa or a doctor? Why is that girl's skin yellow? What's wrong with that baby? He's too loud! ), we were invited into the exam room, which turned out to be on the opposite side of the office building as the entrance to the sick room, and through a narrow doorway which would not allow the double stroller to pass. Forced to abandon one of my Primary Containment Devices, we set out on foot for the rest of the journey.

How pleased we were to see that there was not one, but two tables covered in crinkly white paper to climb on, courtesy of the not one, not two, but three hard plastic chairs in the exam room which slid effortlessly across the floor to allow convenient access to everything except the fluorescent lights affixed to the ceiling. We settled in, so to speak, for our turn with the doctor and waited.

And waited and waited and waited. It finally occurred to me that there was no clock in the exam room because they probably don't want you to know how long you've actually had to wait, lest your complaint about waiting be too specific, rather than an expression of general dissatisfaction.

During what turned out to be a 25 minute wait for nothing, I "examined" both boys, they "examined" me, jointly and individually. We washed David's hands several times, filled the sink with bubbles, and we learned that the spinny top on the trash can goes around and around and around, pretty fast and that if you stick your hand in there, your finger will get pinched. We determined that one of the exam tables was, in fact, a table, with four legs (which we counted while crawling around on the examination room floor on our hands and knees), and could readily be used to pull the calendar off the wall and send the solitary clear push pin flying to an undisclosed location to be found at a later date by an unsuspecting child who previously had not been impaled by or swallowed a push pin.

We verified, again on hands and knees through the cumulative germs of the current cold and flu season, that all three of the handy chairs also had four legs. The other table, however, was a counterfeit table and was in fact a defunct infant scale with a measuring device that if you laid flat on top, would tell you how tall you are. We determined how tall each child was, although David declared, that he is Zero and is, in fact, very, very tiny, like a baby who is zero years old..

"We" counted the stripes on the wall - orange, yellow and white, and the beach umbrellas on the lovely border near the ceiling. With the help of the handy chairs, we found the Foaming Alcohol Based Disinfectant Antibacterial Requires No Rinsing Soap on the counter and learned that with the right amount of pressure, you can squeeze out a dollop in the shape of a penis. We also learned that you most certainly do need to rinse the goopus off of your hands.

"We" found the Poison Control magnets (about 50) on the counter, read the letters and numbers over and over again out loud, stacked the magnets up, then laid them out all over the exam table count them. "We" also found the wooden tongue depressors and the scotch tape dispenser and were entirely dismayed that that these items could, in fact, be placed out of reach, but not before securely scoth-taping the exam table to itself and hurling a few tongue depressors across the room to observe their aerodynamic properties.

"We " found that the light switch, readily accessed by the handy chairs, went off and on really, really fast, and that both boys could fit comfortably in the nook under the faux table if you emptied all the books and magazines onto the floor with gusto. Sadly, the nook under the table was our demise, as an ill-placed foot and forehead collision set off a bite and hit sequence, which was followed by a That's Enough! and a visit back to the waiting room determine whether the doctor had left for lunch, had been eaten by a creature or was actually an invisible practitioner who had slipped into and out of the examination room unnoticed.

As we navigated our entourage back to the sick room out front, I curtly mentioned to the back office staff that it was wrong, just plain wrong, to leave a woman alone in an examination room for 25 minutes with 3 year old twin boys.

At 11:40, we were welcomed with open arms by our brownie pals at the front desk, and after explaining our dismay at the predicament in which we had found ourselves and that we had pretty much torn the place up, we were invited to again join the infirm in the waiting area. We were assured that the doctor would be ready soon, and to prove it, the nice lady at the desk called the doctor's nurse to inquire: "What gives back there?"

Before we had actually crossed the threshold of purgatory, my little darlings found a 5 month old baby trapped inside of his own Primary Restraining Device. Cute fellow, he was. Cute enough to draw loud, ferocious Diesel 10and Big Bad Wolf growls from my two terrorists, interspersed with exclamations of "You're Gonna Get A Shot Today, Baby!" While his bedraggled, exhausted and perfectly mortified mother looked on (as she managed her incredibly beautiful, obviously ill, highly irritable two-yeard old child), I quickly and vigoursly re-restrained the boys with a stern admonition: Keep it up, and I'll take you home! Hmmmf. Not my most effective parenting moment of the day, I'd say.

After ten whole minutes of fussing and squirming in the Primary Restraining Device, and while watching a veritable parade of wheezing, sneezing, hacking, coughing, febrile children being called back for their roll of the dice with the other doctors on staff, the nice nurse again ushered we three musketeers back to the same exam room we had previously disassembled to wait for our doc. It only took a minute or two for the hurling of unsafe objects from the perch of a handy chair to begin anew. While I was hissing and trying to keep pace with the madness, my two fine young men grabbed the entire roll of very cool, very loud, crinkly white paper and began unrolling as fast as they could. Guessing it would be unsanitary to roll back up the paper on which they had done an Irish Jig, I instead fashioned several delightful balls of crinkly paper, with the hopes that other objects, not meant to fly, would be left alone. Shortsighted, it turned out, since David needed a lot of consolation after smashing his head on the underside of the table while trying to retrieve the Biggest Ball of Paper underneath the four-legged table. Imagine my surprise when I turned around to find poor, sick, John, high aloft the counter top, having elevated himself from a handy chair, clutching the entire box of latex examination gloves (which were, as it turned out, no good for inflating at all). After agreeing to don a single pair and put the rest back, Mama the giant super crane removed poor sick John from the counter top and assisted him in getting his medical gloves on properly. No sooner had this been accomplished when the first blow was struck by one to another, for no apparent reason other than there was someone available to sucker punch. At that moment, I declared defeat and retreated to the waiting room for the pediatric infirm, loaded the rascals back into the double stroller and backed my way out of the same narrow doorway through which we had entered, just as the clock struck 12:00 noon. All the while the front desk staff was politely and abashedly encouraging me not to take my ball and go home.

But after the previous hour of chaos and destruction, I felt reasonably certain of two things: John was well into his recovery and there wasn't a damn thing wrong with David, unless you consider being three a condition in itself.

1 comment:

Luciferush said...

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