Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The White Coat Effect

A few weeks ago, we took Ellie to the pediatrician for a consultation that included nothing more invasive than a check of her weight, a look in her ears, and a little conversation. However, with all the wailing, gnashing of teeth, and flailing of limbs, the experience was roughly on par with flaying a live wolverine, or perhaps artificially inseminating a badger. Not particularly pleasant.

Fast forward to this morning.

Me: "We need to take Jimmy to the doctor today, buddy."

Ellie: (perking up) "To the doctor? He got a.......broken LEG?"

Me: "Um, noooo. Where did you hear that?"

Ellie: (brightly) "He's sick with GERMS?"

Me: "Well, he needs to get a shot..."

Ellie: "He! Needs! A Checkup!"

Me: "Yes."

Ellie: (practically singing) "Come on, Jimmy! Let's take you to the doctor."

And, as I watched her gleefully herd James towards the door, I remembered that feeling, that delicious kind of schadenfreude when your sibling had to get a shot or procedure or (cough) small toy fished out of his nose and you couldn't help but feel as though you'd dodged a bullet. Better you than me, sucker, but I'd love to watch. You just sat on the sidelines, safe from scrutiny, thumbing through the dog-eared copy of Illustrated Bible Stories, occasionally giving your mother a solicitous shrug while your sibling wailed or wanted to go home. Goodness. What's all the fuss about? I do wish he weren't giving you such a difficult time, darling mother. And, if you got really lucky, your sibling required a prescription and you scored a roll of Mentos (The Freshmaker!) at the drugstore while waiting on the pharmacist.

At any rate, Jimmy just needed the second injection of his flu shot, and he took it like a tiny, little man with minor squalling. After it was over, Ellie patted him on the back, kissed his head, and declared him "very brave, buddy." On our way to the elevator, we stopped to look at the waiting room aquarium, and spent five extra minutes watching the clown fish and blue tang (clever doctors!). Eventually, I had to tear Ellie away.

"We have to go, but we'll come back soon," I promised. "We'll come to see the doctor another day."

"No," she corrected, "JIMMY see the doctor another day. Ellie sees the fish."

I just hope she doesn't break his leg to make it happen.


Jozet at Halushki said...

Ah, sibling love! Lol!

And I so remember that same copy of The Children's Illustrated Bible. And I think it came with tear-out forms in the front so that you can order your own copy...and play Doctor Office Waiting Room in your own home, lol.

Mrs. G. said...

Jozet beat me to the punch...the brief mention of that Children's Illustrated Bible took me straight back to the dreaded pediatrician's office...that and Highlights magazine.

Ellie's desire to see her little bro suffer warms my heart...I had no siblings as a child and it's situations like the one you describe that make me thank God for it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the fond memories of my childhood. Watching my sister, sitting back with my Highlights (generally I had read it at home because Mother felt we needed a magazine, she had Ms and the New Yorker ... all we got was...), and then scoring a sticker for doing nothing.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Mine like to come along, not for support, but to score the free lollipops and stickers.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

Actually, inseminating badgers isn't that hard. It's the porcupines that really smart.

KCB said...

I loved going to the doctor as a kid not only because of Highlights and the trip to the drugstore but because my mother would give me the whole day off from school. Our pedi office was downtown and Mom hated freeway driving, so we'd take the surface streets for miles and miles, hitting a light every.single.block.

Pure bliss.

Melanie said...

jozet: Ha! I distinctly remember those tear-out forms never being taken. I loved those illustrations, though.

mrs. g: Yes, always the Highlights. I always made a point to read "Goofus and Gallant" and think, "Man, that Gallant is a brown-noser." I'm still sad that you had no siblings. All your pediatrician visits were for you and you alone. What's the fun of that?

standing still: We, too, got Highlights at home. Loved it. See above "Goofus and Gallant" comment.

tootsie: I was holding out for Mentos.

blc: Please, please tell me you inseminated porcupines in the circus. As an act.

kcb: Sadly, our small town doc's office was only three minutes from my school. Always a bummer.

Lisa Milton said...

Zack always grins a wicked smile when Lexi has to do anything unpleasant. It's a little disturbing.

Family Adventure said...

She's a clever one, that little girl! I loved how she perked the thought of a broken leg.



Sheila Ann said...

It is always funny to see all the kids and their siblings march through my office.

Some kids literally run at me yelling to leave their baby alone! Mean ol' Dr. Cason! It really is sweet.

I thought my oldest wouldn't be as affected by her baby brother getting shots but she was very distressed kept gasping and wringing her hands with each new shot and then when it was over rushed at him to offer comfort. It brought tears to my eyes!

Some are just so happy to be out of the line of fire though!I can relate! :)

Carol said...

Found you via Jozet at Halushki. Love your blog! CUTE kids!

"Schadenfreude" is SUCH a great, untranslatable word! Do you have German heritage, like me?