|We are gonna die! |
Youngling deals with impending doom
After a while the doctor said - barely looking up - "Take care of him!"
"I am holding his hand" my Mum responded, squeezing my palm.
"No" the doctor nodded "I'm talking about your husband!"
Mum and I looked up. Dad was standing at the back of the room, reeling at the sight of the minor procedure. He had to leave the room - we found him later seated in the waiting area, his knuckles white from holding on to the armrests of his chair.
This same wimpiness has been passed on to the rest of the boys. We'll make more fun of me some other day. For now, let's talk about the Drift scions - Motorsandal, 10 and Youngling, 7.
Once Youngling had a pretty traumatic accident - he had a clean fracture of his tibia. It was on a Sunday and I displayed the bad judgement of taking him to a 24 hour care center. They put his leg in a ridiculous temporary cast with instructions to visit the orthopedic doctor the next day. I recruited Motorsandal who skipped school the following morning and kept a much drugged Youngling in good cheer in the back of the van while I drove them both to the doctor.
When Youngling's cast was to be replaced with a more permanent one, two doctors showed up. As soon as they touched his foot, Youngling began screaming.
"DADDY! MAKE THEM STOP! THEY ARE KILLING ME!"
This wasn't just once. It was like someone's favorite playlist on a loop. You could sense the alarm in the patients nearby and the panic that coursed through the attending doctors as Youngling's screams tore through the facility. Much to everyone's amusement, one doctor started flipping the lights on and off in the office to distract Youngling. "Look!" he kept saying "Your cast glows in the dark!"
Later when we were done and I carried Youngling out, I noted that the previously overcrowded waiting room had emptied out.
Perhaps, you might argue, my sons are scared of severe pain. Fair enough. But that still doesn't explain why Motorsandal once knifed himself under a table and refused to come out during a visit. For a flu shot.
When our kids were born, like any new parents we made a bunch of pacts about how well we'd treat our kids. Some we broke. Some we stuck to. One of those that remained unadulterated was that we'd always give our kids a heads up whenever something unpleasant might be scheduled. This applies to vaccinations and blood tests - or like the kids call them: "SHOTS".
Just recently we gave the boys days of advance notice about three shots scheduled for an upcoming wellness visit. One was a blood test - a prick on a finger. Another was a TB test - a scrape on the forearm. A third was a booster for tetanus - a shot in the bicep.
The Drift Memsaab tried to talk to the kids about pain and preparation. She talked about short term pain for long term benefits. She discussed relaxation techniques. She used personal touch to reduce anxiety. She tried to bribe them with candy.
I tried to take the edge off with some advice. "Remember when I once told you to deal with stage fright by picturing the audience in their underwear?" I said helpfully. "Well, picture the nurse in her underwear when she comes in to give you your shots" This might not have been the best parental advice to give, but hindsight is 20-20.
The kids were allowed to pick their comfort food when they entered the office. They picked sodas.
The nurse ordered them to wait in their underwear - a practice that I find particularly humilating and one that I've discovered adds an extra layer of vulnerability just when you need it least. We fussed over the boys - because we like doing that. Once the doctor had examined them, the boys were at least able to dress themselves up.
Then the nurse came in with a tray of needles, Youngling buried his face in the Drift Memsaab's scarf and said "We're gonna die!"
"Heavens!" exclaimed the nurse. "You're not going to die!"
Shots were administered. The boys clung on to me for dear life. The Drift Memsaab gave them massages. Youngling let the nurse know indignantly that each shot hurt him a lot.
The nurse left the room with a smile on her lips and a roll of the eyes.