Topics:  family taming, wendy's world

Brave medic toes the family line as guardian of secrets

OUR doctor is the keeper of our family secrets.

I'm not talking credit card balances or how many wine bottles are in the recycling bin, I'm talking dark secrets, the underbelly of family life.

During the years, he's had to see things no man should ever have to see. He's been coughed at, puked on and had to lance pus-filled things.

In caring for my family's medical needs, our doctor has had to deal with acne, asthma, eczema, mumps, measles, migraines, flu, flatulence and fungal infections, ticks, Tourette's (suspected but never definitively diagnosed) and tinea, burst ear drums, broken bones, sprained ankles, chicken pox and chicken curry poisoning.

He knows exactly how much I weigh, how much hubby snores, how many pieces of popcorn my youngest shoved up her nose at her seventh birthday party and how quick my eldest's reflexes are when you wave around a vaccination needle.

So it was with some sympathy for our doctor that I took a seat in his waiting room this week. The receptionist gave me a polite but heavily guarded smile alerting me to the real possibility she had sighted my family's medical records.

By my side was my youngest - the patient, who was anything but. As we sat down in the doctor's office, the air was filled with anticipation.

He knew he had to ask the question. He also knew he would probably regret it.

"So, what seems to be the problem?" he finally summoned the courage to ask.

That was the cue for my youngest to dangle her infected big toe in front of his face and to his credit, his years of training kicked in and he resisted the impulse to dry retch at the sight (and smell) of that angry, throbbing, infected in-grown toenail.

Instead, he turned to me.

"Don't look at me," I shot back with one hand over my heart. "One minute she was being told to stop digging at her toes with the nail clippers and snapping back at me to 'stop skitzing'. Two weeks later, she can't get her shoes on."

I'll spare you the gory details but by the end of the small and loud procedure, the lady in the next cubicle was clutching her mobile and one digit away from dialling Child Protective Services.

"Here's a script for antibiotics and you'll have to get her to soak her foot in warm soapy water at least once a day until the nail grows out."

No clue as to how I'm supposed to strap my youngest down long enough for her foot to be soaked. And as for antibiotics? I'm happy if I can remember to feed the kids three times a day. Now I have to remember to medicate, and at specific times?

We have to go back in two weeks. And when the doctor asks if my youngest took all her antibiotics and at the right times and soaked her foot daily, what will I say?

"Yes of course."

He then can add lying to that list of family secrets to take to his grave.



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