Best visit to the doctor ever!

“Your card was declined.”

My bowels loosened at the receptionist’s words. I burbled a response. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. I’m not sure what to do.”

It was just past eight on Wednesday. Philip stood beside me at the counter examining the display of Children’s Advil coupons. He was in a surprisingly good mood. I had expected tears when we woke him forty minutes earlier, but he greeted us with smiles. And coughs. That’s why we were at the pediatrician’s office.

The receptionist offered to bill me for the copay. I led Philip to the waiting room, grateful I had a gift card for our pharmacy in case we left with a prescription. Philip began to play while I watched rain pound against the window. My fingers shook as I dialed the toll-free number on the back of my bank card.

“Philip?” the nurse called. I shoved the card and phone into my purse. “To the right,” I prompted when he headed toward the exit; he turned without protest. I guess multiple visits this winter have alleviated anxiety about going to the doctor.

I chose this practice because it offers a walk-in clinic for established patients. The convenience is great, but you can’t request a specific pediatrician. We have our favorite, the one who understands Philip best, but there was no guarantee he would be on duty. Imagine my relief when I saw Dr. M inside. I crossed my fingers that he would be the one to examine Philip.

Philip plopped on the chair beside the scale to remove his shoes. He unzipped then dropped his coat on the floor. He hopped on the scale then stood still. Usually, the hopping continues so he can watch the digital numbers change.

Weight recorded, we were escorted to an exam room. The nurse asked about symptoms. “Is the drainage yellow or green?” she inquired. A well-timed sneeze from Philip allowed me to confirm yellow. A slow grab for the tissues allowed Philip to wipe yellow snot on his sleeves.

Philip sat without complaint to have his temperature taken, but I had to smile when he scrunched his shoulders as the nurse put the thermometer under his armpit. I’ve always hated having people touching my neck and shoulders, too.

“No fever,” the nurse announced. “Someone from the clinic will be with you shortly,” she said before closing the door.

Ignoring the “NO CELL PHONES” sign, I called my bank. Philip pulled a toy truck from the diaper bag to entertain himself. Cursing under my breath that I couldn’t reach a human in the automated phone system, I jumped when there was  a knock on the door. I snapped my phone shut.

“It’s just me,” the receptionist said. “Your card went through.” I ‘fessed up to having been on the phone. “I thought you might try to call,” she said, “so I wanted to let you know everything is okay. You can pick up your copy on the way out.”

Philip and his more relaxed mom were alone again. Philip exchanged the truck for a notebook. He drew and flipped pages until there was another knock on the door. I smiled when a familiar voice called, “Hello?” and Dr. M entered.

“Say ‘hello,'” I prompted. Philip said “hello” on his iPad.

“Hello,” Dr. M responded without a condescending “good job” or “how cute.” Things just got better from there.

First, we ruled out flu as a cause for his symptoms. Knowing that a student at his preschool was recently diagnosed with H1N1, I thought this was cause for celebration. Second, Philip sat by himself as Dr. M listened to his chest with the stethoscope. He’s done this before, but you never know. I then prepared to hold Philip for the rest of the exam. Unable to tell if rubbing his right ear was a stim or a sign of an infection, I knew I would need to hold his head so Dr. M could peer into the ear canals.

Dr. M had other plans.

“Watch this, Philip.” Dr. M pressed his index finger over the end of the otoscope before turning on its light. Dr. M’s finger glowed red.

“Your turn,” he said to Philip. Philip placed his finger on the end of the otoscope, but light leaked from the side. Philip adjusted his finger until it glowed red, too.

“Okay, I’m going to look in your ears,” Dr. M announced.

Philip cringed when Dr. M moved the otoscope to his left side. I hovered nearby. “One, two, three!” Dr. M counted.

And Philip giggled.

He giggled.

The process, complete with giggles, repeated on the right side. I stood by in amazement as Philip smiled. Dr. M declared his ears free of infection. I refrained from doing a fist pump.

There were more smiles when the otoscope was aimed toward Philip’s nostrils. But there was one more hurdle to overcome: examining Philip’s throat.

“Let’s see how this goes,” Dr. M said to me. “Even the bigger kids hate this.” During a previous visit, Dr. M got a look at Philip’s throat by making him gag. That strategy wasn’t his first choice.

“Look,” Dr. M said before opening his own mouth and pointing the light toward it. “Okay, your turn.”

Philip clamped his mouth shut.

“Say, ‘aah'” I added. Philip didn’t respond, but Dr. M included “aah” in his next demonstration.

And Philip opened his mouth and said, “aah.”

He opened his mouth!

Dr. M diagnosed Philip with bronchitis and prescribed an antibiotic. Philip and I said “thank you” and “goodbye” in our own ways. Considering the circumstances, you’d think I wouldn’t have a silly grin on my face as we dodged raindrops on the way to the car. But look at all the things for which I could be thankful? Plus, it didn’t stop there. I had a short wait at the pharmacy, so we made it back home before the rain turned to sleet and then into snow.

There are at least ten things of thankful in this post.

Ten Things of Thankful


This post is doing double duty. I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful as well as the Yeah Write #152 Weekend Moonshine Grid.

56 thoughts on “Best visit to the doctor ever!

  1. I read this other post by a friend a few days ago about ‘Being Grateful’ and your post today touches on the same chord. It is amazing how many things we take for granted. Watching you and Philip make the little moments count is such an eye-opener. I am very glad that he actually giggled through an ear-exam! And I dislike people looking down my throat, same as Dr.M 🙂

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  2. I think this is my favorite thing you’ve every written. I was sucked in. I felt like cheering every time something went your way, every time Phillip did something worth celebrating, every time the doctor did something right. You just wrote about this so eloquently. What a pleasure to read it.

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  3. My son has a very hard time at the doctor, too. A great pediatrician who knows how to reach each patient and get the exam done is invaluable. I’ve had doctors tell me how “abnormal” my son is for his extreme reactions and his “excessive” fear. Even if it is all a bit much, how is that helpful? So happy you had a successful visit and that Dr. M knew just what to do to help the process!

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  4. I’ve had that happen to me,It sucks every time. You feel like everyone is staring at you even though in reality they aren’t. This is a good post and reminder that positive thinking and some good luck can turn a bad situation around.

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    1. The receptionist was so sweet. Her card was recently declined due to the Target brouhaha. She gave me advice on how to contact the bank. But I appreciated her double-checking to see that the card was still good.

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  5. WAY TO GO little guy! Oh wow that’s so awesome. And I loved how you told it 😀

    I remember taking my Niece to have her throat looked at. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve done – holding her down while the doc went in with the wooden stick thing to check. She was so scared and shaking and we all hated it.

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  6. Yes! Here’s to GOOD doctors. Doctors who know. When we went to our first pediatrician in this area, it was the first time I didn’t have to fill out the Ages & Stages Questionnaire. I didn’t even know there were doctors who didn’t insist on that complete deflation at the beginning of each wellness visit. I swore I’d never leave this doctor, but now she’s moving away. Starting over…

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  7. That is wonderful! I’m so glad for you. Sounds like your doctor is really trying, which is wonderful.

    Also, I’ve thought about linking up with the Yeah Write Moonshine. I’ll have to give it a go sometimes.

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    1. I know. I was a nervous wreck when they mentioned H1N1. When I took Philip for his wellness check, they were out of the flu vaccine. He’s been sick once a month since then and never got a shot. I was worried that I was going to regret that.

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  8. TEN things? Why, I think there were dozens and dozens of thankfuls in that post! (Although your card being declined sucked; even though it went through later, you still had to suffer that humiliation of being told it was declined.) And even bronchitis is a thankful, since it wasn’t the flu, especially H1N1, which my kids had four years ago. You rock, Philip!

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    1. Sorry to hear that your kids had H1N1. I’m grateful Philip didn’t have flu.
      Thanks for stopping by. I ended up getting sick after linking up with TToT, and didn’t visit anybody. I appreciate everyone who stopped by from the blog hop.

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  9. Ok having a son who has NEVER opened his mouth for the doctor, and not having a doc that we love as much as Phillip does his – I have to say that there are AT LEAST 1,000 thankfuls in this post. Wow. Here’s to big cheers for gigantic progress. Awesome stuff.

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