Since her operation, my daughter has had an increasing fear of doctors, not that I blame her. Doctor visit phobias are fairly common in children, and she certainly comes by it honestly.
And perhaps it is hereditary as well, along with her unusually strong legs. When I was a child, two nurses and my mother had to hold me down for shots and I still managed to kick the stool and send it flying across the room at the pediatrician.
Last time we visited my daughter’s cardiologist, he said he needed a clear picture from the echocardiogram. If we could not keep her calm, they would have to sedate her.
So, since our last appointment, we’ve been reading about doctor’s visits and practicing with our doctor puppet and kit to alleviate doctor fears.
When I called up to schedule, the doctor told me to make an 8am appointment and to give nothing but clear liquids.
Of course, this makes total sense in case she needs sedation, but I was concerned that it also makes sedation more likely. Two year old, plus no food, plus doctor’s office, equals cranky.
When we arrived, they said, “We need to get you registered.” But…we’re already registered. “Okay, let me call registration.”
Apparently, one supervisor was on vacation and the other was in another building so the woman at the desk just disappeared.
Over the course of the next hour and fifteen minutes, the waiting room filled with other patients who also either needed to be registered or have their information sent over to the office.
And, of course, my daughter started to grow hungrier, and more impatient. She was so very good, coloring, reading, playing, but I could see her attention span growing shorter, and I knew what was coming. My daughter is sweet as molasses 95% of the time, but her tantrums go from 0 to 60 in a millisecond and, once we’ve reached the edge, there is no turning back.
FINALLY, we go into the room. I convinced them to delay taking vitals so we would be fresh, but the hour wait had already sabotaged that. The doctor made a remark that if I was concerned about the vitals, he thought that sedation would need to happen. I think the doctor believe sedation to be a foregone conclusion.
The technician points to the television, “Who is that?” Unfortunately, my daughter doesn’t know big bird from, well, a big, scary, yellow bird. At that moment, I start to see the advantages of introducing television earlier.
We get her up on the examination table with her pillow, Cat-Cat, and Yorick the Duck (my husband named him). For some reason, she kept wanting to grab her legs. Finally, we figured out that we had told her she would be lying down, just like a diaper change. So, she was holding her legs up in the air, like she does for a diaper change.
Two year olds are logical, we’re the ones who don’t make sense.
She was a little calmer, but still cried when the technician touched her with the “tickle wand.” Maybe, I asked, I could give her just a little banana?
Uh-oh, bad question. The technician looked nervous and got up to ask the doctor.
The situation was getting desparate, so I climbed up on the table (35 weeks pregnant) and held her. I asked my mom to call the technician back in.
We were so close, and yet not quite there.
Finally, the technician asked, “What colors do you see?”
Baby answered, in a voice approaching awe, “Blue and orange.”
“Good job,” baby repeated.
“You’re making those colors,” the technician told her.
From there, it was a quick snack and smooth sailing through another hour and a half of tests.