Counting my alligators before they're hatched.
By Elizabeth Thompson
As a child, and unfortunately as do my children, I suffered from high fevers and persistent tonsillitis. Back then (no, not when dinosaurs ruled the earth, but closer to around the time man invented the wheel) nearly every one of my visits to the pediatrician’s office usually meant three things:
1. My parents’ wait would be no less than three hours long.
2. I would throw up at least once.
3. And receive a shot of penicillin in the ass for my troubles.
My parents took us to a nice old country doctor from Hungary who, besides insisting on visiting with all parents ahead of actually examining his patients, usually asked tons of questions about the folks (immediate and extended) both home and abroad.
'Zew, how iz your femly?"
**my mother looking at watch**
“Um, fine…just fine, thank you.”
**nodding head and scratching notes on a pad**
**putting down pen and clearing throat**
“End, how iz your Mah-der?”
So, is it any wonder, by the time the good doctor got to me, I was a total wreck…burning with fever and ready to wet my pants at the mere gesture of his getting up and going to the white cabinet where he stored the band aids, gauzes, rubbing alcohol and his…his…
After a while, good 'ole Doctor Frederick limited the chit-chat to only after his treating me and not before the receptionist properly announced our arrival on the intercom with, “The Katkics Family is here,” and, “I’ll ready the smelling salts, doctor.”
I’ve never been very good at dealing with wounds, especially the bloody sort, either.
And I have been fairly lucky in dodging my fear of injury beyond the typical cut, scrape or bruise imposed upon the children.
Not so much.
I mean, the fear of needles is a very difficult thing to overcome.
Until I started having children, that is.
And after living through four full-term pregnancies, raising children in an immunization friendly environment and enduring dozens of tests that involved anyone of the five of us being poked and prodded, sometimes in some pretty curious areas I might add, left me no choice but to find a way to get over it.
And I did.
By either turning my head and/or turning down the use of an epidural -- not for ethical but more for obvious reasons -- each and every time, I had no choice but to learn to be brave. Promising that, “It’s not so bad,” and “It won’t hurt,” when I full well knew that it was…going to hurt…a lot!
But, I have been able to remain reasonably calm over the years and there would be days where I actually felt as if I wasn’t such a wimp, after all.
Until…the Saturday when my poor six-year-old son was stung by a bee, recently, AND I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!
Yes, I have this thing about bees, too, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s where Little Man got stung (just below the tear duct of his left eye) and the fact that he still looked terrible, three days later, which caused me physical anguish!
We were giving him Benadryl and icing it the first day, and our Pediatrician said that it should be better by Monday.
In fact, it was much worse and spreading to the other side of his face and to the inside of his mouth and I tried to keep my composure every time the poor boy asked me to look at it, but I couldn’t help but cringe and quickly turn away after saying, “It’s really not that bad, bud!”
Poor Little Man…I couldn’t even look at him...makes me want to cry! It’s just that it’s gotta hurt and he was being so brave…and I’m not, and…well…I just want to cry, that’s all.
And, believe it or not, so did the Pediatrician.
**rolling her r’s**
“Cum here, Lee-tall Man, and geev me a hug!”
She put him on steroids and went out of the room and retrieved the first dose to administer right in her office. And as she’s explaining to me how I should administer the dosage at home, I notice that she was holding an elongated packet in her hand.
**ripping into package**
“Vat…diz? Eats a syr-eeng.”
**eyes go wide**
**using teeth on second packet**
“For Lee-tall Man, of course.”
**ears start to ring**
“I vant you to tek diz home and use it on Lee-tall Man.”
**bile rises to throat**
**ripping into a third packet and popping off the head**
“No, you see-lee voman, you need 6 cc’s and I need you to use the chamber to git the acc-you-rit dosage.”
**eyes glaze over and limbs go numb**
Oh thank God…I mean…you know…if I had to…you know…I would…
And the next thing I remember was my two oldest girls laughing at me, my four year old thrusting a lollipop in my face and Little Man saying, “Geez Mom, chill out…even I know that with needles, all you have to do is count to 5 alligators!”
But, you know, I have this thing about alligators…
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