When you have a child suddenly something happens. Everyone expects you to know everything. You gave birth, but apparently you also were supposed to pass your medical boards too.
Your husband asks, “Why is the baby ____?” (You can fill in the blank with anything here, crying, pooping, screaming, making that weird noise, blue, grey, yellow, smelly, refusing to look at me etc.) And you feel like you are supposed to know the answer, how to fix it and why it’s happening. But you don’t.
So you take them to the doctor, which is what I had to do this week when Bre fell down the stairs and busted up her eye, Rocky style. I get there, pay the co-pay, and sit with children who are looking slightly green.
The waiting room has signs up that clearly say “WELL CHILDREN” and “SICK CHILDREN”. We all sit across from each other, staring at the invisible and apparently impermeable division between the areas. Personally, when I wait, I envision the germ exchange between the sick hacking child across the room and my own less sick, less hacky child.
When I’m finally called, I rush to get all my stuff, grimacing when Bre’s sippy cup falls to the floor. I grapple with whether the dishwasher will clean it or if I should just burn it. For whatever reason they make my child take off her socks and weigh her. I shudder.
In the waiting room, the surfaces are all vinyl, but I’m seriously doubting they’ve sanitized it to my standards. I cautiously sit, and my daughter who was acting as if she was in major discomfort now finds the energy to dance barefoot all over the small room. The nurse asks me what happened. I am forced to say, “She fell down the stairs.” I feel her judgment.
The doctor comes in, asks me what happens, and every time I repeat “She fell down the stairs.” I feel myself overcompensating with a high pitched laugh. Being a nervous laugher is really a disability. She watches me until I abruptly stop laughing and asks Breanna, “What happened, honey.” Bre refuses to speak. But the purple eye that is swollen shut really does all the talking. The doctor gives me the once over with her eyes, and checks Bre head to toe for other signs of how I beat her.
Check up over, Bre is fine. The doctor lets me know I can leave, but as I walk out the door I see her fishing in the filing cabinet. She takes out a neon yellow piece of paper and begins filling it out. The receptionist gives Bre extra stickers. The people in the waiting room are all staring at me. I feel like screaming, “She really did fall down the stairs! That really does happen!”
We get out to the car, Bre sneezes. Of course.