A Day at the Doctor

Does anyone loath the waiting room at the doctor’s office as much as I do? If you’re sick, you feel guilty sharing your germs with the healthy, unfortunate soul sitting next to you.

And if you’re that healthy, unfortunate soul – you want to crawl into your clothes as deep as possible (pulling your shirt sleeves down over your hands and zipping your coat to your chin) and immediately shower in hand sanitizer as soon as you escape the germ bowl that is the doctor’s office.


Last week, I had to take five healthy children to the doctor so two of them could get their sports physicals. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong day to go to the doctor, because the waiting room was so packed with sick people that we had to wait two hours before we even got back into a room.

Luckily, Bianca had been to her Valentine’s party at school before, so she was hopped up on sugar with a bag full of candy to drop and then try to eat off the floor. I was trying no to yell at her in front of the room full of strangers, but I finally had to put my foot down when she attempted to pull a dirty Fun Dip stick out of the garbage.

Then there’s the bathroom. Oh, the bathroom! Bianca had escaped into the bathroom on the other side of the waiting room from where I was trying to entertain the babies. I sent Brennen to check on her and it was only seconds later that I heard Brennen telling her to unlock the door. I left Blake with the babies and rushed to the bathroom where I found Bianca walking out into the waiting room…with no pants or shoes – just her sock feet shuffling across the floor with a wad of toilet paper trailing behind her. Lovely!

Well…after our always-eventful trip to the doctor, imagine my surprise when Brooklynn woke up with a horrific cough five days later. I tried to let her fight off the cold at home – to build-up her immunity. She was eating, drinking and playing so I thought she might beat it herself. But last night she also started wheezing. Bianca and I still needed to get our flu shots, so I called and made us all appointments.

So here we are – back at the doctor’s office less than two weeks later. While we’re sitting in the waiting room – three less children, but three times the paperwork – I realize another part of the waiting room at the doctor’s office that annoys me; the people who talk too much.

I’d tried to prep Bianca for getting her flu shot the night before by reminding her of a Sid the Science Kid episode where Sid’s grandmother gave the class their flu shots. “Sid said it didn’t hurt, remember?” I asked Bianca. She was pretty comfortable about getting a shot until her loving brother came along and said, “A shot’s going to really hurt!”

“Don’t say that to her,” I said while consoling Bianca’s tears. “I was just kidding around,” he answered.

I can excuse him – first, he’s a teenager…second, he’s my kid. But when my daughter tells someone in the waiting room, a stranger…and adult at that, that she’s getting a shot and said strange adult tells her that it’s going to really hurt. Well, that just flies all over me.

First, why would you want to tell a small child that something’s going to hurt them? Do you think you’re doing them a favor by getting them worked up into a tumultuous uproar? I didn’t lie to her and tell her it was going to be the most enjoyable experience of her life, something she’d want to do over and over again like eating ice cream or going to Disney World, but I didn’t exaggerate either. Getting a shot takes all of ten seconds, and while it does stings a little – it lasts less than a minute.

When I hear parents tell their children how horrible getting a shot is going to be, I wonder if those are the kids who grow-up to be terrified of needles. My personal favorite example of this is when I watch the labor and delivery shows on TV – like A Baby Story – and hear the woman in labor contemplate getting the epidural because of how badly it’s going to hurt. “I’m terrified of needles,” these women say. I want to jump through the television, shake them, and remind them of how badly what is about to happen is going to hurt – especially without medication.

I let Bianca sit on my lap and watch me get my shot. She squeezed my hand and took a deep breath with me. And while she cried a little in anticipation of getting her own shot, she was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it was over. “That didn’t hurt, it tickled,” Bianca said as she bee bopped out to the treasure chest.

As we waited at the desk to checkout, a young woman walked out of the office with a horrible look on her face. “He had to poke me twice,” she said miserably. “It hurts so bad.” I watched her and realized the true power of Mind Over Matter.

If you think positively, you’re going to feel positive. If you think negatively, you’re going to leave the doctor’s office in tears every time.

Now, since we’ve gotten home I’ve remembered how crummy the flu vaccine makes me feel. (And if I didn’t have three little people living in my house, I probably wouldn’t get the vaccine at all.) But do you think I’m letting Bianca know this? Absolutely not!