From the time we moved home after college up until I got pregnant with Ethan, I worked at an animal hospital. It was a huge animal hospital with forty-million employees and a zillion doctors and specialists and was open twenty-four hours for emergencies. Without fail, every single day someone would be checking out and, upon trying to stomach the total owed attached to their bill, would make some seemingly witty retort about how they should have a wing in this hospital designated to them and their pet. Everyone who said it always thought they were making a unique and original joke but, really, it was as tired and fried as I always was after stressful eleven hour shifts. Still, I did the whole polite laugh thing back like a good employee and kept my eyerolls in my head.
Point being, I have to stop myself from making the same tired joke each time we step foot into Ethan's pediatrician's office. I've become that person. That person who should just pack up some clean clothes and a few necessities and relocate to an air mattress in the lobby of the office. Ethan would like that -- they have plenty of stickers, and plenty of ducks living in the lake outside. Oh, the ducks. These trips to the doctor have become synonymous with rounding up some stale crackers, some old bread, anything that Ethan decides the ducks would like to munch on as he sits lakeside and laughs at their overactive hissing, quacking.
Of course, I've written before about how much I love Ethan's pediatrician and the entire staff. They're awesome. They act like Ethan is comparable to cuddly kittens and a box full of freshly baked cupcakes when he's throwing himself on the floor and screaming so loud that I feel my eardrums quivering. They let him spend twenty minutes at the sticker box, analyzing which one he'd like to choose: a red choo-choo? Elmo? Mickey Mouse on rollerskates? But these sick visits, man, they are draining. Today we rode an elevator with a woman who recognized us from an elevator ride last visit. She thought this was a remarkable coincidence. I thought it was a sure sign that we are overdue for a clean bill of health -- and a nice run of it!
Still, I carried a glassy eyed, sniffling baby out of the elevator and down the hall, trying to keep our written prescription for antibiotics free from the Thomas the Train sticker he'd unpeeled and was eagerly trying to find a place to stick. "Boo boo, mouth. Ethan boo boo, mouth." His little cries were pitiful. His belly peeked out from underneath his way-too-small pajama top which I mismatched with a pair of way-too-big pajama pants. Inner ear infection, both ears. Same tired fight with the pharmacy technician that I really don't think it's unreasonable to want to fill the prescription today, rather than before the end of the day tomorrow. Holding a little clammy hand through the bars of his bed as I lay next to him on the cold tile floor, head resting on a box of diapers that are for some reason strewn across the room. Realizing it's almost five o'clock and there's nothing for dinner and I'm about twenty minutes away from a "would you mind picking up Chipotle?" call to the husband. Or my mother. Or anyone who answers the phone because in my tired, stressed out stupor I've sent the wrong text message to the wrong recipient a good seven times today.