We took both kids to the doctor’s office today. It was time for their annual well visit. We have had the same pediatrician for all of Peter’s years, and most of Emma’s, She is terrific, and we count ourselves as fortunate to be under her expert care. Her keen senses lead to identifying & addressing Peter’s PDD-NOS issues extremely early. She sees Peter once a year, unless he is sick. We have been very healthy for a few years now, so she rarely sees Emma and Peter.
Emma’s visit was routine – zero issues. Maturely handled by our 10 year old.
In previous years, Peter either screamed endlessly, or sat unwillingly and mute. Weighing Peter has been a physician’s assistant’s nightmare. Measuring his height had to be an estimated value, since he would not hold still for an instant. Taking his temperature traditionally took one parent to apply a full-body lock on him while the other tried to calm him verbally. The doctor had to work quickly & stealthily as to not let Peter know he was actually being examined.
Today’s appointment (6 year old Peter) went like this:
- Checked in and sat in the waiting room – quietly.
- We were led to an examination room, where body temperature was measured with an ear thermometer. Peter sat still and did not flinch.
- Blood pressure was read with a traditional squeeze-bulb sphygmomanometer and stethoscope. Peter sat still and did not flinch.
- Peter stood perfectly still on the scale so an accurate weight measurement was possible.
- Peter stood still against the measuring stick, allowing for (likely) his 1st accurate height measurement ever.
- Peter replied appropriately when his hearing test was performed.
- For his vision test, Peter stood still and read the letters back to the Physician’s Assistant. He covered the appropriate eye when asked.
- The doctor asked Peter questions. He answered in clear, plain English. When instructed to take a big breath, he did so.
Our doctor was (I believe) a bit taken back at how dramatically he has progressed in the past 12 months. She was clearly impressed. We were as well.
After the doctor finished, she indicated to Kathy & me that both kids would need one shot each. Uh-oh – this could be the end of what was (so far) an amazing well visit. Emma is a pro by now, and knows that the worst part of any injection is worrying & bracing for it. They are over in one second. Bang – done. How to handle Peter…
Dad: “Peter, you were great at the doctor’s office today. We’re so proud of you. There’s one more fast thing, though. You need to get a quick pinch on your arm before we go. It’s really fast. Do you want the slow one or the really fast one?”
Peter: “Fast one, dad.”
The nurse entered the room with the pre-loaded hypodermic.
Dad: “Peter, tell the nurse which you want – the slow one or the really fast one.”
Peter: “The fast one.”
Dad: “OK then – If you’re a big boy for your arm pinch – no crying – we’ll go to Starbucks for a scone. OK?”