Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: I Hate You, Mom

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Hate You, Mom

We made a trip to see Dr. Mike, the silver fox with a DDS, yesterday. Erik and I arrived early, of course, as I am pathologically early to everything, and he amused himself with the spinning wheels of a giant wooden bus in the matchbox-sized waiting room. Two female assistants who seemed to despise each other led us back through a short maze of tiny hallways to an open room containing two reclining examination chairs, a few matching chairs on caster wheels, and a craptastic collection of dolls, stuffed animals, balls, books, and Magnadoodles. One assistant closed a nearby examining room door to prevent any shrill noises from upsetting Erik following the short version of my speech regarding hyperacusis. They asked me questions, which I answered halfassedly as I chased my crawling son, who found a metal cart of dental tools and suctioning equipment much more enticing than any toy or book available. As I maneuvered around the brightly colored clutter in the office pursuing Erik, I caught the tip of my pointy-toed boot on a large wooden play center that was apparently screwed to the floor at a jaunty angle. I tripped, of course, and recovered by following up with a spectacular hop-hop-hop-hop-hop type of maneuver on one leg while one assistant looked up from Erik's chart with a dryly amused look on her face. As I was on edge anyway, I only narrowly avoided screaming, "There's your lawsuit, bitches!" I regained my balance and composure and sat with Erik in my lap as Dr. Mike emerged from his work on a small patient with a rather impressive, bass-like gape.

Dr. Mike's routine makes my skin crawl. He is kind but barks sharp yet barely audible orders through a wall of white teeth to his assistants, and they obey, jumping as if the floor is suddenly one thousand degrees. Dr. Mike began by examining a doughy-faced Cabbage Patch-type doll with a small, plastic mirror. He then announced to Erik that he was going to examine my "pretty finger" and, to my horror, took one of my man hands in his own, making it readily apparent to all I am in desperate need of a manicure. Nice. He then asked me to hold Erik down as he forced his mouth open and examined Erik's teeth, never letting his own wide smile falter in the slightest. Tears squirted from Erik's eyes, and his face became a deep scarlet. His strange infant cry began and intensified, breaking my heart into a million pieces. Thankfully, as I am a veteran parent of many of these types of pediatric examinations, I smiled my own plastic smile and cooed reassuringly, knowing Erik was far away in that place where he can no longer hear my voice. I went through the motions, anyway, like any good parent should.

The exam was over before I knew it. Dr. Mike said no lacquer was necessary, despite the fact the assistants had it ready and insisted Erik received it before (he has not). Dr. Mike made it quite clear I was taking perfect care of Erik's choppers, and, amazingly, his permasmile widened a little as he patted me firmly on the shoulder and made his exit. We were handed a bright blue balloon with the name of the office printed on it and asked to schedule our next appointment for the summer. The girl at the desk, obviously a meteorologist in her spare time, informed me it would be warm and sunny the next time we came to see Dr. Mike in July. I said that I hoped it would, giggled vapidly along with her, and led Erik out into the main lobby. He smiled at everyone as we left and charmed them all.

Seconds later, Erik's smile faded completely. He glared up at me and began to demonstrate the strange hand flapping I have read about in all of my WS literature but had never witnessed. His face reddened once again, and angry, hurt noises came out of his mouth and throat. Words were no longer adequate or necessary.

No doubt about it. He was PISSED.

It was quite apparent that he was angry at me and me alone for bringing him to this awful place of Nazi medical techniques festooned in primary colors and bobbing helium balloons. My boy may have his challenges, but he's far from an idiot. He knows a medical facility when he sees one. I next attempted to coax him out the door into the parking lot, but he stood there raging at me, hands flapping wildly as if he was planning on taking off into the air. When I approached him, his hands began slapping against any part of me he could get his hands on. He continued his miniature slap assault, some of which actually hurt, as I stooped down to his level to whisper that he needed to calm down. Instead, he shoved me and actually growled. I freed the helium balloon from my sweaty palm to settle against a scratchy panel of acoustical tile in the ceiling and picked him up under one arm, attempting to balance my purse and the ridiculous, Barbie-sized bag of crap pediatric dentists hand out in my other arm, readying my car keys. I very calmly carried the screaming, kicking 35-plus pounds of livid boy into the slushy parking lot, where I held him down to strap him into his seat and made it to my place behind the steering wheel without spilling a tear, even though my heart was injured. I found my iPod and pressed play, turning up the volume and trying to ignore the flailing soles of the little tennis shoes behind me wreaking havoc on the seat in front of them.

By the time we completed our five-minute drive to his grandparents' house, he was a singing, giggling, delighted angel, ready to charm the world again.

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Blogger Life's a peach said...

Hi Nancy, hope you, Erik and Brian have a wonderful Christmas. Love Sue

2:44 PM  
Blogger brendan said...

Hi Nancy, I've loved reading your words (it's so much more than a blog!) throughout 2007; laughing, crying, sighing, growing with you. I hope you find the strength to continue your writing into 2008 and beyond.

Reading your latest entry reminds me so much of Emma, but mostly when she returns home from a trip out ... it's never pretty, returning home, knowing how upset she will become ... we are still trying to find ways to circumvent the outbursts she has, but for the time being we continue to have her screaming, kicking, thrashing all the way up the road and driveway and into the house; wondering all the while what the neighbours must be thinking! The hardest thing though is for her brothers, sitting either side of her, trying to console her and stay out of her way at the same time ...

Have a wonderful Xmas and New Year. Lots of love from Down Under.

5:02 PM  
Blogger camille said...

Oh my word, I was cracking up out loud during that post. Especially the hop hop hopping part. It must be so funny because I can totally imagine my non-graceful self doing the same thing. And then the part about your man hands...which I'm sure is not true...well it just had my laughing out loud. My nails haven't seen a manicurist since my wedding. Those pampering days are few and far between now.

There are times too when I realize I underestimate Connor and have to tell myself, he's not an idiot, because like any other 2 year old, he will make it QUITE clear if he hates where we this past Mon night when he was getting his ears checked. Oh yes.

Anyway, what a long comment. Thinking of you and wishing you a Merry Christmas!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Oh Nancy, i know so well that look of utter disbelief and hurt which screams at you Why mummy?? why?. You are very brave - at times like that i am usually reduced to tears. Luckily - they get over it long before we do...
Eric will never hate you. Ever.

5:38 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I know that must have been awful for you, but just imagine all the smiles you gave with the sharing of your near fall. :)

Merry Christmas, babe. Love you muchly.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

it's so hard when they are upset at us for putting them through things that are medically necessary. I'm sorry he raged against you, but how quickly he seemed to calm down on the drive. Kayla fights anything medical related too. She's way overdue for the dentist, but I haven't had the energy to take her back after the first appt. I think she'll need to be knocked out for any type of dental exam!

8:09 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

What a fun day for you! I hate the dentist too, although I never get a balloon when I leave.

I used to marvel at my friend's children (mostly girls!) who would tell their mother "I hate you!" Well, my angelic 9-year-old son has now said it to my husband. Fabulous! Can't wait for those teen years.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Holy crap! I have dental phobia and I'm not prepared for a visit like this with Julia. Perhaps daddy will have to come along!

5:27 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Yes, I can say first hand how tough times like that are. I am proud of you for getting through it without you, yourself breaking. It is so hard. You definitely are becoming seasoned. Its not that it gets easier. It still hurts. It just gets easier to get through at the moment.
ps. our dental visits used to be a nightmare, with caleb needing laughing gas to get through a cleaning, now he is totally fine, with a tad bit of anxiety afterward. It gets better.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I felt my shoulders tensing as if I was going through the experience with you. Erik is a very sensitive and smart boy, that makes for some challenging times and some wonderfully special times. You're a strong person Nancy, I am proud of you.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Your post had me laughing at the beginning, then by the end I felt like I was with you - my stomach was all takes me to the times when Payton does that with me. By the time I get her in the car I am covered in sweat and just trying to drive. I'm so sorry the appointment ended that way.....Erik seems very similar to Payton...she does "okay" thru the process (she cries and such to let us know she's not happy) but WOW we pay for it afterwords - she really beats on me. It's awful to go thru that...I hope you are doing okay today - and I do hope Erik slept okay last night after his appt.
I hope you have a very merry Christmas.

9:10 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Nancy ~ You have such a great way of drawing a picture of a situation and making (at times) even a little TOO REAL! My best friend in the world is a dentist and he specializes in pediatric dentistry. Thank goodness his name is Steve and not Mike though. One time I saw Steve with a huge bandage on his index finger. When I asked what had happened to him, he told me that he was bitten by one of his pint-sized patients and was on disability because of it for almost three months. It wasn't as much what he had done to the finger, as it was the infection that set in from the bite itself. So at least Eric took his lack of gratitude out on someone he LOVES and not someone who may have litigation on his mind against a parent of a patient. Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope that Santa is good to all three of you. ~ jb///

11:53 AM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

I am so proud of you! You handled that situation perfectly. Gosh, you are such a good writer, Nancy. My favorite part of todays post:


Merry Christmas!

1:49 PM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

Boy, I have been in the same place so many times too. Abi is like Erik, very smart and knows just how to make you feel what they are trying to get across to you.
I am gald that Erik cheers up quickly too. It is amazing what a few notes of a favortie song can do to improve their moods.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!


6:36 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

I am soooo with you. Keith does this meltdown from the time we enter any dr. office until the time we leave. It's just so awful.

I am glad Erik went back to his happy little self and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

7:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Crazy Ass Kids!!!

10:59 AM  

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