Saturday, June 22, 2002

What I Heard

A few weeks ago I let a minor hearing loss in my right ear escalate to complete deafness and minor pain. "Hmmm," I pondered, "maybe it's time to have this checked out." The gravity of my situation paled in comparison with my firm desicion not to drive to my good reliable doctor in San Diego. Too far, especially in Friday traffic. So, aided with my trusty phone directory I procured an urgent care clinic. Good enough. Naturally there was a long waiting room delay and my three sons were dismayed to find that the television was permanently programmed on 'Health Watch TV." Two beautiful physicians dispensed thoughtful medical wisdom like; 'wear sunscreen everyday, bran is your colon's friend, look both ways before you cross, and feed your children.' Max tugged my shirt sleeve, "Did you feed me breakfast? How about lunch?" Once your children can count and speak, you can't get anything passed them. I promised them food after the appointment.

Other than being bored, it is only fair to credit the boys with exemplary doctor office behavior. They were sitting, reading and discussing good lunch options, when the doctor let herself in. I always extend my hand to introduce myself to anyone that proposes listening to my heart and knowing my weight. She hesitantly accepted my greeting, but all the while watching my boys, and then she gestured as though to indicate a litter, herd, or flock, she asked, "Are all of these yours?" Dang, lady. You'd think I had a dozen shoeless kids running around the examining table. I laughed, "ya, ALL of them." The rest of the visit was classic medical paternalistic wham bam, and then she let her medical assistant shove a prescription in my hand. I actually had to find the doctor in her office and request the diagnosis.

The pharmacy is well stocked with all the things you didn't know you needed, and toys, which three year olds are sure to remind you they 'very much need.' I made yet another futile attempt to find the ideal moisturizer. It has to have spf, anti-aging, and be nongreasy, good smelling, inexpensive, but not cheap. I like the ones that don't do animal testing, clog pores or have ingredients that once were animals. And I really enjoy that rush of social activist empowerment that comes from buying "All Organic." I may have been close, but my hope of ever having a beauty regimen was foiled again.

I was dragged to the toy aisle. "Let the negotiations begin!" Alex, our accountant, reasoned that he could buy a toy with his own money. Fair enough. William has learned to reason that there isn't much point in settling for a toy you don't really want and he chose to refrain from spending the last of his cash. Excellent. Max would take it all. He barely laid his eyes on the first toy he embraced, and moments later cast aside for "the one I actually want." Initially Max comes off as greedy as any child his age, but he is equally as easy to satisfy with the smallest token. I knew we could count on stickers to delight him. The sticker rack was a visual feast of color and graphics. He grabbed Darth Maul, saber poised, and glaring viciously. I offered Blues' Clues. He considered thoughtfully and replied, "Star Wars is cool." No sooner were the words out of his mouth, when he dropped Darth and reached for baskets of kittens and puppies. "Aren't dey soo cute?" he cooed. Very nice.

Back at the pharmacist's counter, with the boys in tow and reminding me that I still haven't fed them, the clerk is checking on my prescription.
I was tired, hungry and frustrated that every sound came as though through a wall of yogurt. The children were hungrier and quickly losing orbit. I had more errands to run. My husband would be working through the weekend, again. The kitten needed booster shots. And then the clerk uttered the words that inspired this very anecdote; "Wait here. She'll be here to counsel you in a moment." In the smallest fraction of a second my brain construed a couch and me lying on it, in a room of tasteful and reassuring decor. There may have been music, soflty playing. And the psychologist, wise and kind, understanding my challenges and emotional scars, began to dispense her counsel. She would sympathize and have marvelous, genuine solutions, remedies and encouragement. She would unravel the mysteries of my psyche and reveal the intricate and infinite hidden talents, long suppressed by life's mundane burdens. "Counseling, " I marveled to myself, "what a relief." My revelry was interrupted by a voice, "Have you ever used ear drops before? Be sure to use them for the full ten days, and if you aren't better, you might want to try something else."

My health insurance copay is ten dollars, and I think that is a small fee to pay for a good laugh, which is why I think I will borrow some of my friend's children and go back to that doctor at urgent care with at least half a dozen kids in tow. I'll be sure they're real hungry, and proudly claim, "They are all mine."

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