Mr. Peanut, Revisited
Back in January, I found out the hard way that Cade is allergic to nuts. And afraid of bubbles. But the real nemesis is the peanut. After weeks of waiting for an appointment with the allergist, I finally got him in.
As instructed on the doctor’s office robocall, I arrive 30 minutes early for the appointment to do the new patient paperwork. Upon arrival, I am told that because the allergist is part of the same practice as our regular pediatrician, I didn’t need to come in early after all. The robot told me nothing of this on the phone.
I realize that I forgot to bring a toy, a book, or anything that might keep Cade entertained for a half hour. I should also mention that this half hour of forcible boredom was taking place when he should have been having his morning nap. This is key to what happens next.
- I let him do his toddler Frankenstein walk around the waiting room. Upon sensing freedom, he tears down the hallway like his pants are on fire. The charm is lost for me after the first 13 times. Time spent: 10 minutes.
- I find a children’s book in an empty exam room. It’s an author he likes! We get through half and he whines and squirms off my lap and careens down the hall again. Time spent: 5 minutes.
- His regular pediatrician walks by and sees that I am having, er, challenges, keeping him occupied. She offers us a wooden train in her office. Salvation! Time spent: 15 minutes.
- It’s appointment time!
The allergist is running late, I’m told.
- Cade looks at me with a mixture of anger that I won’t let him run amok, and exhaustion from missing the nap. I wonder if anyone will notice if I sneak into an empty exam room and let him sleep.
- I finally surrender and let him wander into the big waiting room. I had been avoiding it because it’s full of visibly sick kids, and visibly dirty toys. Whining turns to loud crabbiness. He wins, and I let him play in Germville.
- He watches other kids with keen interest. Some smile back, some toddle over to play with him and the filthy toys. These are fleeting friends, and they all get called back before us. Cade watches them go with sadness. And renewed yelling.
- Grand total wait time: One hour, 15 minutes.
We are called back to the office. Hooray!
- The allergist tries to buy Cade’s admiration with a coyote puppet. Cade: not buying it.
- Cade gets a skin test that makes his forearms look like he has been attacked by a really symmetrical octopus. Wait time for test results: 10 minutes
- I cajole him into waiting patiently (READ: I let him play on the floor with a toy car, where there is also a dirty band aid. I put my foot over the band-aid to prevent Cade from grabbing it. I fully expect him to come home with the plague).
- Side note: How is a doctor’s office this filthy?
The doctor demands blood.
- I scoop up Cade and the lab slip and head back to the lab. We make faces at the fish tank until his name is called. Wait time: 5 minutes.
- Nurse tells me that Cade is old enough that blood draw will come from his arm and not his heel. I see where this is heading.
- Nurse asks me to hold him and his arm. Seeing as I can’t do this even when putting on his jammies, I know this will be disaster. Needle goes in. Screaming ensues, followed by wild thrashing. This jerks the needle out of his arm. Blood all over him, me, and the lab table. A ray of hope –there’s a trickle of blood in the test tube. Although I already know the answer, I ask, “Did you get enough?”
- Nurse lets out an annoyed sigh and calls for backup. I’m pretty sure it’s me she’s annoyed with.
- Backup arrives. They swoop down on Cade and me and lock us both into the chair like the Jaws of Life. Howling, screaming, sobbing. I silently plead for this to be over as fast as possible. Total trauma time: 5 minutes that feel like 50.
And then we are free. I gently snap him into the car seat, give him a kiss, and tuck a blanket around him. I get in the driver’s seat and see that I have his blood all over my hands. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something, but am too jittery to ponder it.
Time until Cade is asleep in the car: 30 seconds
Time until I have recovered: never