As I grew older, my dislike turned into a downright phobia. When I had my tonsils removed at age 19, the nurse recorded in my medical chart: Patient has a phobia of needles. (And, yes, there is a term for a phobia of needles: trypanophobia).
I tried to believe people who told me when I got pregnant and had children of my own that these fears would lessen.
And, in some ways, those people were right. Not even trypanophobia kept me from the needle-intense fertility treatments or from bending over and gladly accepting the epidural before my c-section.
I confess: I still don’t like it. I know all about medical necessity, especially as a parent, but it doesn’t mean I can’t avoid it when possible. For example:
I confess: I’ve closed my eyes during every vaccination my kids have ever received. (And, with twins, that’s a lot of eye- closing). I passed the thermometer to Marty when it was time to take their temperature “that way.” I let Marty measure the Tylenol and force down all of the other yummy medications. I leave the nebulizer treatments to him.
I confess: I justify this sharing of responsibilities to myself by reasoning that Marty is
I confess: Marty doesn’t mind; in fact, I think he enjoys playing doctor and being important. And, for my part, I avoid the icky stuff that makes me cringe, all the while knowing that my Babies are in good, less nervous hands.
But, every now and then, I find myself squarely in a 9-1-1 situation where I can’t close my eyes. Last Thursday was one of those situations…
I confess: I knew as soon as Emily fell in the lobby of the Cheesecake Factory, onto the hard, cold marble floor, that we had a problem. In that slow motion, yet blink-of-an eye moment, I remember setting my wine glass down (good forward thinking, Melissa), scooping her up in my arms, and cringing as I saw the blood. I knew it was going to take more than a bandage to cover this boo-boo.
I confess: As I heard the wine glass break, I realized I hadn’t moved it far enough out of the swinging feet of the uninjured twin, Drew.
I confess: The broken glass was someone else’s problem, and I am grateful for my family who watched over Drew and the manager who handled the glass clean- up.
I confess: I was also grateful for Marty, who with the eye of a
I confess: I surprised myself with how calmly I handled the situation from there. I looked up the closest doctor’s office, arranged for Drew to stay with my family at the restaurant (where we were gathered to celebrate my mom’s birthday), and then drove us safely, in a cold, almost icy rain, to the Urgent Care that was thankfully less than a mile away.
I confess: Marty and I took turns holding Emily as she vacillated between wanting me and wanting Daddy, and as hard as it was to wipe the blood and hold the ice pack while she cried, I did it, even though, I was crying right along with her.
I confess: I got a little queasy (and a whole lot of emotional) when the PA decided the gash was too deep for the Dermabond glue and instead recommended stitches—three of them to be exact.
I confess: I let Marty hold her while she got the stitches while I nervously paced, back and forth, just out of view of the action.
I confess: Thirty minutes later, when we rejoined the family at the Cheesecake Factory, I sat amazed at the quickness of the whole ordeal, the bravery and resilience of my little girl, and the strength of my nerves when tested. (I was also grateful for the replacement glass of wine that tasted even better than the one broken earlier).
I confess: Five days later, as I sat alone in the pediatrician’s office with Emily, waiting for the doctor to come in and remove the stitches, I tried my best to put on a brave face.
I confess: I held Emily tightly as the doctor did a piss-poor job of trying to remove stitches from a wiggly, frightened two and a half year old. When his hand slipped and he snipped her little chin with the scissors, creating a new gash, it took everything in me not to yell at him to stop, to openly question how he ever received a license to practice medicine on children, and to request he send in someone more qualified. But, for the sake of my child, I remained calm, talking Emily through the worst of it, and remembering that any scar would be just that—a scar. Nothing more.
I confess: Hours later, at opening night of our favorite NHL hockey team, the grisly memories of our doctor’s visit earlier in the day seemed so far away.
Until Emily decided to lean too far forward and popped her forehead on the seat in front of us... And, I thought, “Oh, ^&%$. Here we go again…”
I confess: The pre-mom Melissa might have freaked at this point. But twin-mom Melissa has responsibilities—namely another child who needed me to get him safely up the stairs. I remained calm as I gathered our stuff and wrangled Drew up the stairs. Marty, with Emily cradled in his arms, was already halfway to the first aid station.
I confess: Relieved doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when the nurse could find no signs of a concussion—a big, blue bruise, yes—but no concussion.
I confess:While I contemplate buying a bubble in which we can enclose Emily, she seems to be taking all of this doctoring in stride, perhaps even using it as an opportunity to explore a future career in medicine.