Back in November my son became sick with the normal runny nose, cough, etc. It started with a fever and then no appetite. I decided to not make any hasty decisions by making a doctor’s appointment just yet. Day 2 – still a fever. “But surely it will be over soon,” I thought to myself. He would not eat and within those two days all he had was a couple fruit roll-ups, a few vanilla wafers, and milk. Day 3 came – still a fever. I finally decided to make an appointment but was doubting the decision and thinking to myself, “I just hate to pay that co-pay when he will probably be just fine tomorrow…it’s just a virus…there are a lot of things going around…this is a waste of time today.”
But I decided to take him anyway.
The waiting room was crowded and all I was thinking about was, “I DO NOT want to be here!”
Eventually, they called us back and the doctor examined him. I heard an audible intake of breath from the doctor. He said, “have you looked at his throat??” “Ah…well…actually no. He never complained of a sore throat.” I reply. The doctor asked me to look.
Something alien was growing inside my precious child’s mouth. Something I have never seen before. I vaguely remember hearing words float around my head saying… mucus…infection…swelling…pus…discharge. Then I heard more audible words floating around my head saying things like… loser…bad parent…I can’t believe you didn’t think to look inside his mouth…moron…lamo.
However, this was my mind talking to me instead of the words of the doctor. In MY mind everybody there was thinking I was a lousy parent. In MY mind, the doctor was shaking his head at me and calling me stupid. In MY mind the visit went like this:
“You couldn’t have taken 5 seconds to look at this throat?”
“Well – I didn’t think about it.”
“You didn’t think about it? Your son has been fevered for three days and is not eating and you didn’t think about it??”
“He never told me his throat hurt”.
“Did you ask him if his throat hurt?’
“Because, trust me stupid, his throat hurt.”
Then I started imaging what other people were thinking about me.
Hindsight. It serves no good purpose other than to make you feel like a loser. My son’s diagnoses? A very bad case of Strep Throat. They handed me the antibiotic and I read the label to educate myself on the dosage.
Parenting is hard sometimes. I am good at making wrong decisions. But when this happens, I need to train myself to spend equal amounts of time recalling the moments when I made the RIGHT decisions.
Hey, we can’t win them all, right?
Disclaimer: In reality, things were not this dramatic as in my portrayal. It is just an exaggeration to show how bad I felt over not making the right decision at the right time. In fact, our doctor is a woman. I have no idea why I drew a man.