Normally, I do not like going to the doctor. Not under any circumstances short of perhaps impending death (and even then maybe not, the jury’s not out yet, thankfully).
However, with my wife returning to her job teaching in NYC the day-to-day homecare of Padawan is my responsibility and that includes the routine trips to the pediatrician.
We’ve all gone together as a family for the previous visits, so there was a lot to my first solo flight that is noteworthy.
I enjoyed going as a family. It helped quell some of my anxiety and overcome my nervous fears of dealing with doctors and billing agencies and insurance companies and the whole interwoven mess of modern medicine’s intersection profit grab.
First, and foremost, the idea of spending that time as the three of us was a bonding experience. Ever visit is a first for all of us. It’s a learning experience where every poke of a needle prod of a speculum is brand new for Padawan while we, as parents, experience it through fresh perspective.
We learn of growth and development progress gaining a broader understanding of what’s going on beyond our own observations or that we read in books.
It’s given rise to a great many interesting conversations between my wife and I that we would normally never have the opportunity to have.
The front-office, the nurses and the doctors in the group are all very personable, patience and persistent about making sure you are well informed and have ample opportunity for asking questions. So, it’s not as if it has the opportunity to be frightening or overwhelming really if you follow along.
We leave, I believe, feeling empowered by the experience at helping Padawan be a healthy and vibrant human being.
So, when I began preparing the night before it was more about my own ideocincries than it was anything else. I made a checklist of things to do to get us out of the house safe and secure. I made another list of things that needed to be addressed at the appointment. I made another list of things to get us back home safe and secure. And, I made a list of random other shit. Because that’s what I do.
The next morning I packed Padawan in the car for our next check-up it was kind of sad that it was only the two of us on this adventure. I was armed with a few notes from my wife and we were messaging throughout the morning so it wasn’t like she wasn’t there in spirit.
At this point, if it were a movie, it would look like some kind of buddy-style comedy. The reality though was everything went off pretty much without a hitch. Padawan gets all the credit for the outcome. All daddy did was follow the checklist he made.
When we arrived the nurse greeting us immediately noted that we were “flying solo.” My initial interpretation was that we always came as a family so seeing a single parent made it a solo mission. I just assumed she’d’ve said the same to my wife had she come alone. So, for me, it didn’t feel condescending like when people refer to dad’s as babysitters.
And, my treatment the entire time for the most part felt as if it was quite normal for a dad to bring their offspring to the office alone even though I hadn’t yet observed that at all there. They complimented Padawan on his demeanor, on his growth and development. And, yes, even on his outfit. Which surprisingly enough no one even asked who picked out. Which makes the whole interaction pretty routine since it’s essentially all the same things we normally heard as a family.
I imagine had we not previously visited so many times as a family it would feel more intimidating for me. The fact I have the reporte with the staff and have an understanding of their routine as they of my style and it’s quirks things could be perceived much differently. I image a less personable staff might not even create a welcoming environment for a father – I’ve read the accounts and heard the stories to be aware of how lucky I am to have had such an experience.
There were some difficult parts to the check-up for Padawan but all-in-all it was a pretty seemless affair. The checklist I made was definitely a saving grace as had I not written everything down before hand I likely would have forgotten half of what needed to be mentioned, asked or followed up on among other things. The check-up diary we have was immensely helpful as well.
About the only kink in the whole experience was leaving the office building. As we were leaving a woman sans children stepped directly in front of me as I went to position myself to open the door while carrying Padawan. At first I figured she was trying to be aggressively polite and get the door for me but no, she was just so self-absorbed she opened the door stepped through it and let is close on me without so much as an excuse me as she cut me off to make the maneuver. The teenager that was leaving behind me reached out and held the office door from behind which was kind of him.
I’m sure the woman was probably a mom with a lot on her mind so I wasn’t initially going to even mention the experience. Save for the fact that she pulled the same exact thing as we were all leaving the building door as well. This time cutting off the teenager who was stepping ahead of me to hold the door for Padawan and I without so much as an acknoladgement of her own rudeness. I’m not surprised in the least after hearing (and seeing) the crappy treatment my pregnant wife experienced near the end of her term.
But, I digress, this was my first solo trip out of the house with Padawan other than walks to the park down the street and nearly everything about it surpassed my expectations. Here’s to hoping it’s the first data point in a positive trend!