Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Going to the doctors office these days makes me feel so deficient as a mother.  To start with, the past two times we've been, it's because I've left Oli unattended for a split second, and he has used that nano stroke to endanger himself.  This time it was a wooden door, the hinge side.  He'd crawled in to the downstairs loo, (not the actual loo, obviously, I'm not that incompetent...well...I don't want to tempt fate here, quick close the brackets).  The thing is, Oli's got a fixation for steps these days, even though he's not yet walking.  There's a lot of hauling up the stairs with me playing goaly behind him.  But on this occasion he had spotted the step we use so Max can reach the sink.
'Ah' he thought, 'I'll just crawl in here and while pulling myself up, stick my fingers somewhere where they can be crushed.'
That's when Max decided to swing the door closed.
I confess I cried too. I know I shouldn't have. I should have been telling him he was fine, it would all be OK. But there was so much wailing and so much snot across the face. It looked agony, his fat little finger swelling as the tears leaped from his closed eyes. There was no blood and I made sure he could still make fist, but it was nastily swollen. I searched desperately for the arnica cream which I've obviously put, for easy access, in a place where I expect bruises to take place, but of course, now I can't remember where that is. I'll add that it's quite hard to rummage through the medicine cabinet with a child on your hip, when that same child (who's stopped crying) is also trying to find something in this new and exciting cupboard he's never had access to before. 
During all this time, Max had shut himself in the bathroom where the injury had taken place. In a way I was quite glad. I couldn't really be angry with him, he'd only been shutting a door, after all.  Even so, a cross word might have escaped me if I'd seen him. Even though he didn't know Oli's hand was in the way, he was also shutting him in the bathroom with the lights off.
In the absence of arnica, I used ice. Then I called the nurse. I was hoping she'd dismiss my worries and reassure me, but she started talking about x-rays and splints. The only available appointment she could give me was slap bang in the middle of nap time.  As soon as she'd said 'x-ray', I'd known the finger was fine, but now I had to take the booking didn't I?  I could hardly refuse.
So there I am, in the waiting room, taking my deficiency on the road.  It's hot and we wait and wait some more. Max starts lying on the chairs, then crawling under them, he makes sqwarky loud noises despite my attempts to silence him.  Oli seems delighted to be in the pediatric office again.  He thinks Max's noises are the perfect soundtrack and tries out his own.  The sharp syllables hurt my ears and presumably other people's too.  I bribe Max with Rolos, the ones I'd promised to buy him if he did a pee in a public loo earlier that morning. The child has a phobia of automatic loos, the ones which flush without you touching anything.  I get it, but it makes extended outings problematic.
We are ushered into one of the doctor's rooms where it is even hotter and the wait seems even longer. Both boys are now flushed and hyperactive. Oli's on the bed, Max is crawling around on the floor. I try to protect the tissue paper covering the doctor's bed.  I try to protect the expensive-looking equipment the doctor uses to check eyes and ears; both have coiled cords hanging down which are endlessly alluring to my children. I try to protect my children from themselves.  I feel like I'm in a library full of glass books and they're all falling off the shelves and I'm the only one there to catch them.
When the doctor finally arrives I forget the niceties and start rattling off the details of what happened, desperate as I am to get out.  He has a slow measured style that makes me regret not pausing at least to wish him a happy new year.  I've told Max to sit on the chair while Oli's finger is assessed. That's when he gives me away by asking if he'll get more chocolate. The bribery is out.  The doctor pretends not to hear.
The assessment is brief and I hear the magic words; The finger's fine.  I scramble for the door and even though our exit is delayed by Max's protracted thoughts on sticker choice,  I can already feel the joy of rain on my face and the relief of taking my deficiency back to the privacy of my own home.

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