The Best Medicine

Took my daughter to the pediatrician today for a mystery illness that’s had her coughing and feverish for the last four days.

Nothing surprises me about the medical profession anymore, so I’m not sure why this struck me today, but here you have it.

We’re sitting in the waiting room waiting for the doctor and my girl wants to know what’s going to happen, will there be shots, will they swab her throat, will she have to take gross medicine, etc. She’s never been keen on all things medical, so she’s always nervous leading up to the visit, during the visit, and then has an enormous release and feeling of relief once it’s done, sometimes to the point where she forgets all of the negative associations and replaces them with fond memories (case in point: lobe-embedded earring back surgical extraction saga). I even asked her on a scale from one to ten with ten being great and one being the worst how she rates doctor visits–she said two for seeing the doctor, and one for seeing the dentist.

So the doctor arrives soon after the polling, mostly looking at the ground or her laptop screen, asks me what’s going on, at which point I prompt my daughter to speak directly to the doctor which throws the doctor off her game a bit, but she proceeds to ask her questions about what’s going on, how she’s feeling, checks her eyes, ears, throat, listens to her chest.

After several deep breaths, the doctor returns to her laptop and plugs in some information and then starts describing what she plans to prescribe, mentioning something about hearing a slight crackling in her lungs leading her to diagnose bronchitis. My girl looks at me and asks what’s bronchitis. I motion her to ask the doctor, but she hesitates because she can sometimes be shy about speaking directly to adults.

So I make small talk with the doctor in the meantime, talk about the rounds we’ve made over the years with the kids and various antibiotics, amoxicillin, zithromax, augmentin, etc., that we were wagering augmentin would be the prescription du jour, and then the doctor starts moving toward the door.

I give a nod to my girl to ask her about bronchitis and she chirps her question which majorly throws the doctor off of her equilibrium and outbound trajectory and back into the exam room to explain to her, this time looking her in the eyes instead of facing her laptop, in a few simple words what bronchitis is. I can tell the doctor is a little frazzled from having to field a question from her patient without hiding behind her laptop, and, at this point, I sense she’s a bit self-conscious in front of me for failing to give the patient her full attention when she chuckles and asks her somewhat exaggeratedly, “Are there any more questions?” before she leaves.

Despite the rapid-fire diagnosis and lack of bedside manner, overall the outing with my girl brings a bit of relief to both of us. She said she actually could feel the “crackling” in her lungs that the doctor described, and the fact that the doctor’s description of the symptoms matched what she had been feeling comforted her. Of course, no strep test/swabbing is always a successful visit in her book.

The post-doctor-visit grilled cheese, lemonade, fries, and side of bacon at Holsten’s were definitely the best medicine.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Diane says:

    Bedside manner has apparently gone the way of the horse and buggy and I hold no hope for its return any time soon. Glad that you encouraged Bella to exercise her patient’s bill of rights. Yet another teachable moment….for the pediatrician. Now the question is, how is Bella feeling???

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