Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pediatric Follies

This one goes out to all the moms, dads, and other brave souls who have ever had to take more than one child to the doctor at the same time

Our pediatrician is, in a word, awesome.  When you enter the waiting room, you first notice that the walls are lined with low wooden benches, and identical benches run the length of the middle of the room.  They are easy for kids to navigate, scoot down, crawl on, and are not too high to risk losing a tooth if fallen off of.  Although, for my kids, losing a tooth is always a distinct possibility.  There are a good number of toys to play with including several of those plastic wrapped wire contraptions with the multicolored beads that you have to guide through twists and turns to get through to the other side.  There are Melissa & Doug puzzles - the kinds with locks so no pieces can be lost.  Open the sliding chain lock, find a horsey in the barn.  Yay!

When we are called back by the nurse, she recognizes us.  She knows who we are, and she didn't even have to refer back to the chart in her hand.  She asks the kids questions about school and praises them for their height, hair, headbands, whatever sticks out that day.  Miss W directs us to an exam room, and, if we're lucky, we get the under-the-sea room, aka the mermaid room.  The fish, crabs, mermaids, and other aquatic life are painted with glow-in-the-dark paint, and the kids can entertain themselves for at least twenty minutes flipping the light on and off to find all the creatures.  After that, there are lots of books and climbing on and off the exam bench using the convenient child-friendly stool.  Fabulous, and I don't mind the wait.  Really.

Yesterday was A's quarterly diabetic appointment.  This is a practice that specializes in children - children with lifelong diseases and otherwise major health issues.  When you walk through the door, the first thing you notice is that it is a waiting room.  Standard issue, stain-resistant seats with metal arms linked together.  They are easy for kids to climb on, and the arms present a great temptation to climb over, which prompts many moms' hushed "Get off that right now...please."  There are no toys.  Zero.  So what's a kid to do?  Why, crawl under the chairs, of course.  I see no problem with this.  Obviously, the space between the seats and the floor is much more interesting than the baby Zhu-Zhu- pets we have brought with us because...there are NO toys...and so my kids play.  In the complete and utter silence that is this waiting room.  Towards the end of our "get to your appointment twenty minutes early" time period, I really want to turn my cell phone back on and check the time.  The receptionist has already collected my insurance card and picture ID, so she is safely ensconced in her glass lined area, her eyes averted from the waiting room.  Finally, we are called back by a nurse we've never seen before.  She smiles and points us to the room wherein my daughter's vitals will be checked and her A1C taken.

By the time we get to the exam room, I am vacillating between giving myself a gold star for patience and removing my mommy license for risk of head implosion.  Baby boy has missed his nap (don't even get me started on actually getting an appointment here, and yeah, I guess I could have planned better, but dang), and he has exhausted playing with the scale, the doctor's stool, the stirrups on the exam bed...and now the kids are drawing on the exam table liner with crayon remnants in the color scheme of a funeral parlor.  Not a mermaid to be found.

Do I expect too much?  When I was little, my pediatrician's office had a gigantic fish tank with sea anemone, lion fish, and all kinds of other cool stuff to look at.  My brother and I loved it.  Now, I'm not asking for an expensive aquarium, but, you know, one Melissa & Doug would be nice.  I thought about complaining, but I went from not wanting to be difficult to just wanting to get the heck out of there.  Perhaps that's their intention.

Baby girl's A1C came down by .3 points.  We went for clown ice cream at Baskin Robbins.  They deserved it.

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