kids and doctor’s offices are like kids and dogs. in my mind, like oil and vinegar. they don’t mix well and should, in most cases, remain separated. just as a general rule, though, don’t go and start hating on me, pet people. I have always been a pet person (until I had kids) and I plan to always have pets around my kids, even if I want to kill them half the time (the pets, not the kids). if you have pets with kids, perhaps you understand what I mean. but this post is not about pets. it’s about doctor’s offices. or, one specific doctor’s office. the urgent care at henry ford right by our house that I found myself speeding to take ruth to the other day, forgetting my phone, and leaving no note.
it wasn’t really an emergency, though, at the time, you could’ve fooled me with the way that ruth was screaming and crying and ASKING to go to the doctor. that was my big sign that something was truly wrong: this kid would rather bleed to death than go to a doctor’s office half the time.
she had been fine pretty much all day, though she has never been one to drink (or eat) much for whatever reason. in the winter, she gets these really gross chapped hands that crack and bleed because she simply WON’T DRINK. well, she also has issues with urination. as in, every now and again, she complains that it hurts to go, or she goes a bunch, like every hour. I think I wrote a blog post about taking her in last time, though, and what a mistake that had been, and so, for the most part, I have resorted to baking soda baths (does that actually DO anything? I dunno. it seems like my mom was always prescribing baking soda baths for one dang thing or another), joel’s diaper cream to help with irritation, and pleading with her to DRINK MORE. I also started buying cranberry juice.
suddenly, she started telling me (not unusual) that it felt funny when she urinated. so, I broke out the baking soda bath (it had been like a week since I had bathed either kid anyways, and probably two since the last time I had washed ruth’s hair) then applied some desitin. everything was ok for a minute, when she all of a sudden started in with this terrible crying. like she was in REAL pain, which is weird, because ruth is one to never let on that she is in pain of any sort. she often falls down, is clearly in pain and gets mad if you try and console her about it. but this was different. I tried to comfort her and tell her that maybe we could go into the doctor’s office after dad got home from work. but she was almost screaming and then she started asking to go NOW.
so, I did what any even-keeled person would do and I got ready as fast as I could and took us all out to the car and gunned it to the urgent care, trying to figure out if I should instead head for the ER, that’s how bad it sounded. by the time I had walked in the door, I still hadn’t made up my mind, but then I was struck with the reality of our situation and which place was more likely to be aggressive and freak her out and potentially make things ten times worse, and I opted for the urgent care. “if it really is that serious,” I thought, “they can just refer us there.” so up I headed, poor joel strapped into the stroller like he almost never is these days, and ruth still howling like an injured wolf.
we checked in, sat down and waited, people looking over at ruth and wondering what the hell was wrong with me, like why hadn’t I taken her to the ER? joel had busted free of the stroller and was now climbing all over the waiting room chairs. I shuddered to think of the multitude of germs colonizing on his chubby little moist hands. finally, we got called in.
most people would be relieved, but I knew that, for us, this was only the beginning of the problem. first, they wanted her weight, which was ok as long as I went with her. she stepped up there and clocked in at 36 pounds, fine. but then they wanted her blood pressure and temperature. and I saw her stiffen and retract. here we go, I thought. she wouldn’t do it, started to panic. the lady looked at me like, “what’s wrong with your kid?” (at times like this, I wish I had been raised more, as I say, like a man, so that I couldn’t hear people’s thoughts as though they were spoken crystal clearly to my face). then she went in for reinforcements. she brought another nurse type who looked at ruth sternly and said, “we’re going to do this now. and you have to let us.” (they were going to play the old “bad cop, badder cop”. not a smart play, guys). her eyes got wild like she was going to maim someone soon. if there’s one complaint I have for the people in urgent care its that they have no bedside manner for kids. at all. I had to step in then. at first I tried to flat out refuse, but they were insistent. so, doubtfully, I reasoned with ruth. it looked bleak and took me a good ten minutes, but she finally allowed me to take her temperature, under her arm, as long as I told her to pretend she was a tree (that made her smile), and put on the pulse ox finger thingy. “thanks for your patience,” I said to the two nurses as they left (15 minutes later). they rolled their eyes and said nothing.
now all ruth had to do was pee in a cup and then deal with the doctor’s poking and prodding and we would be scott free. a kindly nurse (the first we had encountered) came in and put a plastic hat in the toilet for ruth to sit on and make collection easier. she talked about her own child with frequent UTIs and I was very grateful for this woman for lending a sympathetic ear for a moment so I could feel less like a freak show for a second. I’m not really sure what people thought about me in there. I was dressed as usual, like a bag lady, ruth was in grubby clothing and joel was kind of dressed like a girl. luckily, I had just bathed them earlier that day so at least they were clean, though in truth, joel can only stay clean for less than five minutes. sometimes, and this is going to sound stupid, I think the only thing that gives me any sort of legitimacy in strangers’ eyes at times like that is my wedding band, my saving grace, as usual. greg. softening out my harsh edges and making me socially acceptable.
finally, after what seemed like an eternity of talking to ruth who was now very excited to be a patient since all the touching part was over, and keeping joel from sticking his hand in all of the dirty crevices he could discover, the doctor came in and announced, to my great relief, that it was indeed a UTI (urinary tract infection). I say relief because I was just freaking myself out that if it wasn’t an infection, I didn’t know WHAT the hell it was and I was shuddering to think of what other tests they might suggest. plus, I felt a little validated, I’m not going to lie, because, even though ruth was screaming like she was dying the whole way there, after she calmed down, she seemed, for all rights and purposes, fine, and I was wondering just how stupid I was to rush off to urgent care and put us all through this for nothing. he wrote a prescription for an antibiotic, felt ruth’s kidneys and belly, which she wasn’t very happy about, but went along with, then sent us on our way.
ever since, ruth has been bragging to all her besties (her grandmothers) all about her UTI and how she’s got to take this really awful tasting medicine because she’s SICK and all, you know.
me? I’m just happy to have survived a doctor’s office visit. needless to say, that night I collapsed into bed and was asleep before I could even untangle myself from my massive clump of hair. just another day, though, here in paradise.