After three visits to the pediatrician, my son is finally starting to feel better. The problem stemmed from the fact that it was I, the father, who has taken him in each time to see the doctor. See, the thing is, if you’re not a “father” then you may not understand it when I say that doctors don’t put much stock in what dads “think” about their kids. Call it ignorance about today’s dads; call it ambivalence…whatever; the truth is that unless a doctor can physically see or hear the symptoms that a “father” claims his child has, it simply does not exist.
For whatever reason, mothers are these perfect little diagnosers who only bring their children in when it’s an emergency, as compared to fathers who apparently run right in with the child at the first sign of a fever.
So it was that I was profoundly ecstatic when after our name was called, and I cradeled my sick son in my arms and walked to the back where the waiting rooms are, that my son started hacking like there was no tomorrow. Immediately, no fewer than six women turned towards the sound and upon seeing my pudgy little blonde-haired, blue-eyed son coughing his lungs out, all crinkled up their foreheads in a concerned look and let out a collective, “Oh…”
I knew in that instant that I was FINALLY gonna get some satisfaction “up in here.” I looked around and said as loud a could be, “See, I’m not imagining it!”
The doctor, upon hearing the cough, feared the worst and thought perhaps the cough had travelled into his lungs, but thankfully that was not the case. The diagnosis: a sinus infection, for which I blame myself of course. I’ve had a deviated septum corrected and my sinus cavities roto rootered out, and I continue to be plagued by polyps for which only a daily steroid spray is my last defense (even as I write this, the bumps on my forehead indicate the signs of an ongoing struggle against an infection and I can “smell” my own sinuses, which indicates that indeed, I am not right in the head (that’s so gross!!)).
After this little episode during which a father was shown to not be completely inept with a child, and as I quietly sat with my sick child in a tiny little room and kept him relatively happy for 30 minutes, I’d like to think that maybe my stock has gone up at the pediatrician’s office. I would like to imagine that somewhere in my son’s chart the pregnant doctor who saw us wrote:
“Child was brought in by an especially astute, caring father.
Child was given 10-days worth of Amoxicillin at 400mg for
a sinus infection.”
“Oh and also: dispensed a size 2 diaper because the aforementioned
father forgot the diaper bag.”
Ah credibility. So hard to earn…so easily lost.