In Which the Big Guy and I Venture Forth and Live Long Enough to Bake Cake  

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The Big Guy does not like to go to the doctor. Who can blame him? Neither do I. I especially dislike taking the Big Guy to his doctor (unless it is to see his psychiatrist where I have a captive audience for my uber-information type conversation). However, in order for the Big Guy to bowl every Tuesday with others of his ilk, a form needed to be filled out by his GP. Since doctors don’t like filling out forms gratis, pro bono or for free, an appointment needed to be made.

Sadly, the Big Guy has been foisted off of his regular GP with whom we were at least familiar onto Someone New. This is because the Big Guy is no longer a child. When I broke the news—very gently and in unison with his favorite spaghetti dinner—his reaction was “What!?!? Did you tell them that I am and always will be a kid at heart?”
(This is the Big Guy’s way of making sense of his lack of mental maturity, tho, truth be told, he is maturing even if it is at a slower rate than Dick Clark's face.)

The fact is, I did not explain. When one has been knocking down brick walls with her forehead for nigh on twenty years, one knows when to risk a bloody head and when to resist, cease and desist. So, off to visit the New Doctor. For some reason, I felt confident this would be an in and out kind of thing, certainly nothing compared to some of the Big Guy’s early marathon psychiatric appointments. Plus, we were on time, a miracle considering I had to get the Big Guy medicated, fed, bathed, changed and given a pep talk, all by 9:30 AM.

Our punctuality availed us naught as we didn’t get in to see the doctor for at least 30 minutes after our appointment time. Time that allowed the Big Guy’s anxieties to ripen and swelter, especially when he started asking questions like “Will I have to have a shot?” (I didn’t know). Or “What is my new doctor like?” (I didn’t know) And “How long before it’s my turn?” (For the love of Mike! I didn’t know!)

The doctor was nice but not knowing the Big Guy he had a lot of questions. This took time. I started to fret about the fact that I had a six layer cake to construct for the Little Guy’s birthday, complete with chocolate mousse filling, chocolate fudge frosting topped with blue frosting AND flowers AND hot rod cars but mostly I knew the longer we were with Somebody New, the greater the possibility that the Big Guy would blow.

That was when the bomb dropped. “You know he will have to get caught up on all of his shots if he wants to bowl with others of his ilk?” the doctor said, (I’m paraphrasing). We spent another ten minutes in deep negotiation. How many? What are they for? When? Where? Could any of them possibly wait? Of course, I knew if I waited on even one of them, the chances were slim to none that I could wrestle the Big Guy out of the house to have the shot at a later date. This was one big reason (come to think of it, the only reason) the Big Guy hadn’t had any shots since he was 13.

There was another long wait at the shot clinic even though we were there before some of those Others. I fumed a bit about why the Others got to go before us but worse, I could smell the pure animal fear wafting off of the Big Guy who is, naturally, afraid of needles (and knives—this is a good thing).

Finally it was his turn. We entered the very clinical adult shot room. The Big Guy looked around, panic filling his eyes. Where were the cuddly baby animal pictures to focus on when he needed to look away? Where were the stuffed animals to squeeze the stuffing out of? In spite of the room’s many lacks, the Big Guy managed to maintain his composure through a lengthy question/answer/form-filling-out period, and continued to do well(ish) until the second the nurse pushed up his sleeve. At this point, he let out a howl that was a cross between a yodel and the laugh of a hyena, a cry he kept up at a rippling high volume through all four shots, only varying it to yell Ouch! each time the needle punctured his skin.

The two nurses (the first one sent out for back up) didn’t flinch. Naturally, neither did I. I am used to the Big Guy, after all. In fact, I thought little of the hyena laughing yodel until we left the room and observed the Cluster of Concerned Citizens ringing the doorway. They were mostly aged, definitely anxious and some of them were nearly apopleptic. It occurred to me that these people had approached the shot clinic with some trepidation but with the attitude that they were adults, as would be everyone else in that clinic. Adults don’t carry on when they are getting a shot, therefore, something Very Bad must have been happening in that room to elicit such an incomprehensible sound, some kind of experimental treatment forced on the aged and infirm. Their eyes all registered the same fearful question: Am I next?

One old man, seated in a wheelchair, his hands and mouth slack but his round watery eyes alive with fear, will haunt me for the rest of my life. As we passed by, his hands began to shake and his mouth began to firm up as if he wanted to say something but clearly fear had robbed him of breath. If only he knew what we know so well; our large, 260 pound, nearly 19 year old guy is just a big kid at heart.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 15, 2008 at Monday, September 15, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Sweet post. I would like to meet that Big Guy. I am sure you have your hands AND your heart full. Thanks!

September 15, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Thanks Kazzy! The truth is, when we aren't frustrated out of our minds and not wanting to ring his neck or toss him out in the snow (only, it doesn't snow here and we would need a forklift, I'm pretty sure) he is very easy to love. That's the hardest part--when the loveable kid we all adore disappears and out comes Mr. Negative Big Guy.

September 16, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Oh, poor Big Guy. I hate shots too! I might even sound like that actually.
Your mom is from Hopkins? Such a small world! I say that as if I've met her. You know what I mean. :)

September 16, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Oh, no, she hasn't lived there in over fifty years and her family is all long gone, now. It's just that people from the midwest often find my sensibilities to be kinda midwesternish . . .

September 16, 2008 at 1:03 PM

I don't like shots either! My son is autistic and he has similar issues in situations. It is so hard at times. ((HUGS)) to you and big guy!

September 16, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Thanks Karolynn. When the Big Guy was little, it took six people to hold him down for a shot or blood draw, so things have certainly improved. They will with your guy, too. :)

September 16, 2008 at 8:13 PM

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