One of the things you might not expect when you have children is all the time you will spend in doctor’s offices. Maybe they prime us for that in pregnancy; you do have to see your ob/gyn an awful lot, especially in the later months. Both of my daughters were born at teaching hospitals and with the myriad of medical students, interns, residents, nurses and attending physicians, it sometimes felt like there was free general admission to my birth canal. Someone was constantly poking around up in there.
Once you have the little bundle of joy, there are all the regularly scheduled well baby check ups, plus all the unscheduled not well baby visits. I’ve taken my daughters to countless doctors appointments over the years – vaccinations and skin rashes, ear infections and broken arms, febrile seizures and stomach flus. Hours spent in waiting rooms and exam rooms, reading the books we brought from home or the tattered ones provided, drawing on the chalk boards painted on the walls, not using the exam gloves as balloons, however temping. I was always present, the advocate and note taker, the explainer of symptoms and rubber of backs. I did this as the stay-at-home parent, but truth be told, even is my Husband was the one staying home I’m sure he would find a way for me to attend the doctor’s appointments. Doctor’s offices and hospitals make him uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable.
Last week I had the very new and very strange experience of being left in the waiting area while Daughter 1.0 followed a nurse back into an exam room. Remember, Daughter 1.0 is now 18, legally an adult, so I am no longer required to be in the room when she sees a doctor. She had been having some pain and scheduled the appointment on her own, another new experience.
It’s hard to be left behind. It’s hard to sit on the dingy padded folding chair and half watch Reese Witherspoon choose between Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey in Sweet Home Alabama. It’s even harder to have that movie end and then Monsters, Inc. begin and still no sign of Daughter 1.0. I trusted that they would come and get me if something was wrong. But maybe they didn’t know that Daughter 1.0 and I have a fairly open relationship. She tells me (almost) everything. And I love that, except when I don’t. She is an 18 year old so sometimes when she’s sharing I want to plug my ears and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at the top of my lungs, because she’s my baby and all I can think of is that little monkey who used to wrap her arms and legs around me so tight when I picked her up and would squeal when Winnie the Pooh came on TV.
Maybe the doctors didn’t know that about us, how Daughter 1.0 tells me everything. But surely Daughter 1.0 would ask for me if she needed me. But maybe she wouldn’t. She’s not always the best self advocate. She often hates to put people out, hates to make a nuisance of herself (except with me, of course, but I’m her mom). I began to think that I really should be in the room with her.
Halfway through Monsters, Inc., just when I decided to ask to see her, Daughter 1.0 poked her head out of the door to the exam rooms, eyes red, cheeks streaked with tears, and waved for me to come back. I met her just inside the door, in front of the billing/scheduling person’s desk. “What?” I asked. She couldn’t speak, started to sob, pointed to a yellow piece of paper. They suspected she had something and had run tests and would have the results in a few days to a week. We needed to make a follow up appointment for two days later to see how she was doing. I didn’t quite understand. I wanted to talk to the doctor she had seen, but she was on to another patient and Daughter 1.0 just wanted to get out of there. And I wanted to get her home. I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and keep all bad things away.
We found out at the follow up appointment that her test results were negative. She just had a run of the mill infection that would be cleared up with the antibiotics they had given her. This time I went into the exam room with her. She asked me to, but I would have insisted anyway.
Easy dinner, one of our favorites.
Sausage and Peppers
1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds of mild Italian sausages
2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced
Five bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or a combination) seeded and sliced into thick strips Do not use green peppers.
1/2 cup of dry white white
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, stirring frequently. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the onions start to turn golden brown and the peppers soften, again stirring frequently. Scrape the cooked onions and peppers into a bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and d a tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sausages to the pan and brown on all sides. Once the sausages are browned, cut them into pieces one to two inches long in the pan. I use kitchen scissors to do this, but a knife works as well. Continue to cook the sausage for another 2-4 minutes, then add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat to high, stirring the pan with a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the brown bits from the bottom and sides. When the alcohol has burned off (carefully smell the steam coming from the pan. If it stings the nose, there is still alcohol) lower the heat to low and return the onions and pepper to the pan. Stir together and simmer for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
Serve with crusty Italian bread!