Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's that time of year...

It's doctor appointment season.

All the yearly appointments for myself, Bill and the kids seem to always fall in October and November, probably because I don't think of it until the end of the year. That's how overwhelmed my brain can get some days. The end of the year looms and I realize I've gotta get on that.

My kids and I have spent our fair share of time in various doctors' offices and waiting rooms over the last few weeks. Good times.

I made appointments with a regular family doctor for Bill and myself. Bill went last week. I tried for an 8 a.m. appointment for me so that I could go by myself and Bill could watch the kids and take the older ones to school. No luck. The earliest appointment they had in the near future was a 9:00. Bill has to leave for work by then. No problem. I decided to bring George and Annabel with me.

This is a new doctor for us because we just moved to Ohio last year, and although the kids have a pediatrician, Bill and I delayed getting a general practitioner because life is busy. Like I said, my appointment was at 9 a.m., but I was supposed to arrive at 8:45 to fill out the paperwork. I arrived at 8:50. Shoot me.

The receptionist at the front desk was put off, to say the least. "Didn't you get the message that said you were supposed to arrive at 8:45?!?!" she greeted me. (Well hello there! It's nice to meet you! Welcome, New Patient!)

"I'm so sorry!" was all I could muster. Like I said, it was only 8:50. I was five minutes "late" even though my appointment didn't start until 9:00. Then I tried to break the tension and I lightly said, "It's always tricky getting out the door with kids!" At those words she violently swiveled around in her chair and spat out, "OH! You brought your KIDS with you?!?"

Seriously. She said it in the exact same shocked/exasperated voice that someone would say, "OH! You brought TWO GOATS AND A BURRO with you?!?"

"Umm....yeah? Sorry?" I said kind of meekly. Did I just apologize for bringing my kids with me? Is there a "No Kids" rule here at the office entitled: (blank) Family Medicine?

(big harrumph) "Well that is just not going to work. Can you do something with them? The doctor CANNOT be distracted during your physical!"

What do you suggest? Should I shove them in the supply closet for 45 minutes? Can they play behind the desk with you, Cranky Pants? I promise they won't spill coffee all over your lovely poo brown blouse and computer keyboard.

I was a little bit shocked, and all I managed to squeak out was, "I'm really sorry." (Enough with the apologizing, Clare.) "I sometimes have no choice but to take my kids to appointments with me, and they're usually pretty good," I said as I turned around and noticed George and Annabel chasing each other around the coffee table in the waiting room.

Okay. I did say they're usually good.

"I have four kids, so at least I only brought two of them with me today!" I chuckled.

She was not amused.

She continued, "Well, then can you call someone? This is going to be a 45 minute appointment and the doctor is not going to be happy about this."

Again. This is (blank) Family Medicine. Surely they have seen a shorty or two in here at some point. I understand that I can't bring my kids everywhere. I'm not the type of person that insists my kids go where I go. There's a time and a place. But come on. It's a freakin' doctor check-up. All the before 8:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. appointments are booked until January. My gynecologist has never balked about it, and that's way more....ahem...intimate. Surely my kids can sit in a chair in the room while they weigh me, take my blood and ask questions about my overall health.

I'm not a confrontational person, so I didn't say what was on my mind. Luckily I have my blog for that. But I thought about saying, "Well, our live-in nanny is at the grocery store right now planning tonight's gourmet meal, and then after that she has to fold all the laundry, so it's all me today, lady."

But I just apologized again.

And she harrumphed again.

Fortunately the doctor was able to concentrate with my kids present, because after the nurse took my blood work, (2 minutes) the physical took a whopping ten minutes. I was out of there by 9:25. And I don't think I'll be back again because the doctor also had the worst bedside manner I've seen in a long time. Clearly it wasn't just his office staff.

And they say we moms don't take care of ourselves. We make appointments to stay healthy, and then get yelled at for bringing our kids. Like it's a choice. Like we want to bring them with us. Like we want to walk around a tiny room with a gown that opens in the back while our kids sit in chairs reading "the Pokey Little Puppy" and squirming. Sounds like my idea of a good time.

On to the dentist.

Our new dentist is a very nice man, and his office is modern and comforting, but some dentists have a way of messing with a mom's self-esteem.

I said some dentists. Not all.

Bill took the kids to their 7:00 a.m. appointment, and then I met him there at 8:00 a.m., so he could go to work and I could take the kids to school. When I arrived, this dentist, who I had never met up until this point, looked shocked and said to Bill, "This is your wife? Nice to meet you Mrs. so-and-so." Now that I look back on it, after the news he gave me after I met him, I think he was just shocked that Bill did not have a wife from the back country with most of her teeth missing and rotted out of her head.

Because then the dentist pulled me aside and whispered to me that my kids' teeth look like crap.

And of course, it's always the mom's fault when there is a cavity. Or two. Or twelve.

Okay, maybe he didn't use the word "crap". But what he did say was, "Um...I need to talk to you about Charlie and Henry's teeth." Okayyyyy...Bill is right in the other room with the kids, but I guess this isn't his fault, so please, continue doctor. And I kid you not, he said, "Yeah...it's...um...really....um...how do I say this?...um...it's really...bad." Bad? Bad? Like what are we talkin' here, doc?

And here's the part that cracked me up. He continued, "You know how a car can get rust and corrosion over time? Well, that's kind of like their teeth." Um...you had me at "rust" and "corrosion", doc. Moms LOVE when you compare their kids' teeth to an old clunker.

What do you say after that? How do you top that? How do you bounce back from "rust" and "corrosion"?

You don't.

Then he asked if I brushed my kids' teeth for them. I answered, "I help the younger ones still, but the big guys can handle it." But clearly, they cannot handle it. Because their mouths look like a '76 Dodge headed to the scrapyard.

And it's all my fault.

He looked surprised. "You have to help them brush their teeth! Kids cannot be trusted to do this properly on their own!"

Really? An 8-almost-9 year old boy can be trusted to shower and wipe himself, but I have to sit with him at night, and say, "Open wide for Mommy! Pretend the tooth brush is a train and your teeth are the tracks! Chugga chugga choo choo!"

As if.

Needless to say, the boys had a few cavities, like I'm sure most kids do, and they had them filled. Which will last until THOSE BABY TEETH FALL OUT. A dire situation indeed.

I learned my lesson, however, and went out and bought an arsenal. Agent Blue Cool Rinse is what they use before they brush, then they brush with real toothpaste (not the Spongebob kind), and afterwards they use Inspector Hector mouthwash and teeth flosser sticks.

Rust and corrosion be gone.




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