Taking my son to the doctor has never been easy. Aside from the usual vaccinations which of course are unpleasant, from the time he had to have a blood draw at 18 months old, every appointment since has been awful. (The blood draw was done by a person who couldn’t find a vein – 4 times.) And by awful, I don’t just mean inconvenient. Awful to the point that he cowered on the floor hiding in fear under chairs, full on meltdown freak-outs. It was so bad at one appointment that the doctor recommended we have him evaluated for Autism spectrum disorders.
It was a crushing recommendation and one we did not take lightly. It is a horrible feeling knowing your child is terrified, and doesn’t trust you to realize that as his parent, you aren’t going to let anything bad happen to him. Through the process (he is not on the spectrum) and his growth since that appointment, I am constantly reminded that he is simply a kid that does things in his own time.
Fast forward to the past two weeks of all three of us being sick and we’ve been to the doctor for pink eye. It was as if he was a different boy. I told him that we had to go to the doctor for his eye. There would be no shots, but the doctor would have to look at his eye and ask me some questions. I also asked him if he would like to bring his favorite video to show the doctor. (He actually likes to just hold the DVDs!) It worked! He chatted up the doctor like they were old friends. I found myself feeling very proud, and overwhelmed with gratitude as I watched the interaction.
And then we had to go again today. (I’ve had enough, it’s been a week, my teeth hurt, and we aren’t improving.) Off all three of us traipsed to our new clinic’s urgent care. I was anticipating a frustrating appointment with all of us feeling yucky, waiting in a waiting room for who knows how long, and then culminating in Jake not cooperating. I wasn’t exactly trying to expect the worst, but rather bracing myself. I’m usually an optimist by nature, but I have learned by experience to expect the unexpected.
Again, I was humbled by and proud of his behavior. Luckily we were the only ones in the office, had no wait and both kids cooperated beautifully. If anything I am grateful for this round of sickness, because it gave my son two positive experiences with going to the doctor. It also helped that when the doc looked in my ear, both kiddos saw that Mama was fine, it didn’t hurt and there was no need to be afraid. Hannah fussed just a bit, but then Jake leaned up right next to her, rubbed her back and said, “It’s okay. You don’t have to be afraid. You can be brave like me.”
More than thankful, it goes way beyond gratitude. Yes, it makes appointments so much smoother, but more importantly, I am thankful that my son seems to be letting go of fear.