This will only hurt for a minute

by CountryFriedMama on February 16, 2011

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We waited in a windowless room that smelled strongly of stale cigarette smoke and something else that was harder to identify. Desperation, maybe. The office space was dominated by workers’ compensation doctors, and we happened into it on a big screening day, apparently. Every chair was filled with someone ready to plead for disability benefits. Many moaned in the waiting room, loudly listing their symptoms for each other and boasting about the many narcotics that barely touch their pain.

I distracted Miss D. with a game of Dots & Boxes on my phone while we waited to see the one doctor in the office who works with kids and does the occasional kindergarten admission testing here and there. After Miss D. had been called back, I settled in to fill out a lengthy form full of intrusive questions.

While Miss D. showed off her pattern recognition and memory skills in a small office far from the waiting room, I wrote answers to questions like, What drugs did you take while you were pregnant? How often did you drink? Who lives in your house? How often do you leave your children to work? What kind of damn mother are you anyway?

Around me, I heard snippets of others’ conversations.  If I don’t get my insurance money, I’m gonna shoot ‘em up...Ambien don’t do nuthin’ for me…How do you spell ‘pneumonia?’…P-H-U-N-O-M-I-A.

I got up at one point to use the bathroom, but found it was marked drug screenings only. So I sat back down and waited and worried about what all this crazy testing is doing to Miss D.’s head.


Days later, in another waiting room in another doctor’s office, The Belle played with another app, Vocal Zoo. We listened to the sounds of swans and elephants and camels. We moved to an exam room and I found crayons on the bottom of my bag so she could color the crinkly paper that covers the table.

We waited for the doctor, who eventually told me — as I hoped he would — that The Belle’s recent string of fevers has probably been just a whole lot of bad luck, separate viruses that strangely happen to have no other symptoms but fever. But just in case, he had a nurse stick a big needle in The Belle’s arm while I held her down by draping my whole body across her legs.

She was mad and scared and hurt, but she forgave us all immediately. All it took to win her over again was a pretty red bandage to match her Valentine’s Day outfit and three pink lollipops. She waved bye-bye to everyone on the way out, like a parade princess passing her loyal subjects.


At the end of last week, I went back to the shrink who operates out of the workers’ comp. office. She told me lots of wonderful things about Miss D.

Did you know Miss D. has a great sense of humor? I did. Did you know Miss D. is quite smart? I did. Did you know when Miss D. gets stumped, she will make up elaborate tales to get past whatever challenges her? Why, yes. I did.

I’m not going to lie. It made me feel really great to have a doctor tell me all the things I already knew about my big girl. I took the five-page report detailing my four-year-old’s IQ, put it in an envelope, and mailed it off to the kindergarten Miss D. will likely attend next year.

That’s it. No more school screenings for her. She’s done.


The Belle has been fever-free and happy for three days. I’m hoping she’s done, too. But she’ll get one more visit to the doctor for a re-check, one more stick in the arm. I don’t think she’ll be so forgiving next time, no matter how pretty the bandage the nurse brings her.

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The More, The Messier: A Cry For Help
February 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

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Rachel @ Grasping for Objectivity
Twitter: objectivityrach
February 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Wow. I had no idea that Kindergarten was so brutal. Seriously, wow.


Stacia February 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Could be worse, I guess. The Belle could have P-H-U-N-O-M-I-A. => (And yay! for Miss D.)


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