Thursday, February 11, 2010

Doctor's visit

Melly had her three year old doctor's check-up today and I couldn't have been more proud of her. She sat quietly while the pediatrician measured her height and weight, took her blood pressure, listened to her chest and tummy (and she told the doctor where her heart was), looked in her ears, and looked in her mouth. It got to the point where I was wondering what this obedient child had done with my daughter.

Then she had to get a fingerstick and I knew this was when the tears would surely start. But to my utter shock, she didn't even whimper when the nurse stuck her and squeezed out a tiny test tube's worth of blood. "I bet she'll cry when the bandaid comes out," a nurse said. But she didn't.

This is a kid who is routinely reduced to tears by her desire for chocolate milk. I'm kind of confused.

Back in my peds clerkship, I would have been blown away by a kid like that (little do they know what goes on behind the scenes). Looking in the ears was always a guarantee for screams. I remember I would just take out a tongue depressor and the kid would cry bloody murder.

I'd like to think part of the reason she's so good at the doctor is that she knows her mama is a doctor. She's got a doctor's kit and we play with it a lot. I look in her ears with the toy otoscope and tell her she's got a family of owls living in there. She cracks up. If she's really good, we pull out my real stethoscope and I let her listen to her own chest. There's a toy syringe in her doctor's kit and after her doctor's visit, she pretended to give us all shots.

"I shot you, Mama," she said.


  1. I actually have never gotten my kids toy doctor sets, because I feel like I'm pushing my job down their throat. But they do love playing with my old stethoscope. I don't think it's contributed to any better behavior at the well child checks.

  2. Cute! You must have been SO proud. Even at that age, I think she probably has a sense of who you are and that the doctor's office is your professional space.

  3. I agree with you. So true. My son had his adenoids out when he was three, and he handled the nose/ENT scope fine when he was diagnosed in clinic - the ENT was shocked. He was also relatively calm during the long pre-op - unimpressed by all the bells and whistles and hustling. I think part of why that happens is our response to pain and hurting, as mothers in the medical field. I'll bet nurse mom's, etc. can relate. We are CALM in situations - Dr. visits, bloody noses, etc. Big difference. We usually know what type of response to give in various levels of acute care, and how to relate to the health care professionals on a level other than as patient.

    Having said that, my son is now four and screamed bloody murder the other night when he pinched his finger and drew blood, way out of proportion to the injury. And I noticed he didn't wail until he saw the tiny drop of blood and wouldn't quit his hysterics until I covered it up with a Spiderman band-aid. I held him until he calmed down, and pointed to a two-day old cut on my hand - told him how it bled when it happened, then it stopped, now it was healing with new skin. Maybe that will help for the future, maybe not.

    So I think there are just natural stages of fear over pain, bodily fluids, etc. that kids go through, no matter what. But being calm and present for your kids in moments of stress sure helps, and it is easier to do that with our knowledge base.

  4. I think you have taken her through an exercise in "mental rehearsing" her prior experience playing doctor with her mama may have prepped her for the visit. It's all good and a very heart-warming story.

  5. After all that, she tripped in the street and wouldn't stop crying till she got a bandaid on all four extremities.


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