I have been trying to get my foot out of my mouth for the last six hours. My son had an appointment this afternoon with a pediatric ENT doctor. Is that redundant? Is it just pediatric ENT? Is pediatric capitalized?
A year ago, my first grader had his tonsils removed and tubes put in his ears. We went to our follow up appointment, but haven’t been back since. The tubes were lodged in his ear canal and needed to be removed.
That is the only reason I was willing to drop a $35 co-pay.
There was a knock on the exam room door, but it wasn’t our usual doctor. A tall woman, with curly brown hair walked in. Her sweater was speckled with lint. It took great restraint not to pick it off. She didn’t introduce herself. Instead, she sat down and immediately began rattling off question after question to my 6-year-old. She barely glanced in my direction. “How is your acid reflux?” I answered, “He seems to be doing much better.” She looked at his throat, “Your throat looks awful. Are you taking the medicine? Sticking to the diet?” The diet for acid reflux is avoid all foods that a 6-year-old wants to eat. Pizza? Nope. French fries? Nope. Hot dog? Nope. He can have plain bread and bananas. Awesome! “Can you estimate how many days in the week you are eating foods you shouldn’t be eating?” My son still says things like “I losted the game.” Do you really think he knows the definition of estimate? Oh, I am on to you sister,I thought. You are trying to bust me for being a horrible mother. “He is only 6-years-old you may want to direct your questions at me,” I snapped. She softened her tone, “I know it’s hard. My son has been dealing with this since he was a toddler. I just want to help him get it under control before it causes real problems.” She gave me some good advice, I cracked jokes about being a negligent mom and together we sang Kumbaya.
Before she removed the tubes from my son’s ears I inquired about our regular doctor, “Is she still with the practice?” The nurse whipped her head around and glared at me. There was an awkward silence that seemed to last forever. It was like a scene from a bad Telenovela. “Let me finish this and we will go back into the exam room to discuss it.” I immediately assumed there was an ENT doctor cat fight. Was she forced out?
“Was there an ENT doctor love triangle?”
She closed the door to the exam room, sat down and looked straight into my eyes, “Dr. (Blank) had an accident and it’s unlikely she will be returning.” Some people would have left it at that. I had to know more. What kind of accident? “A freak accident,” she said. “She fell.” Fell?
I fell up the steps a week ago and besides losing my dignity, I only had a few bruises.
“She is okay?” She is not. The accident left her unable to walk or talk. I was stunned. She was a well-respected, brilliant surgeon who operated on both of my boys. “How awful! I can’t even wrap my brain around this,” I said a loud. The new doctor was teary eyed. Wrap my brain around…I did not just say that. I did not just say that. “We were colleagues for over 30 years,” she said wiping away a tear. It was incredibly sad and awkward. “I am so sorry,” I said, leaning in to hug a woman I just met and whom still had not told me her name. She thanked me for being kind. I promised not to let my son eat chocolate and resisted another urge to pick the lint off her sweater. I cannot stop thinking about our doctor. Say a prayer for her and her family. Then, count your blessings. Everyday is a gift. You never know what tomorrow will bring.