Sunday, January 3, 2010

mommy why is the doctor chasing me?

It was 1964 or 1965 and we were going to see Dr.Bernie Gillman for our checkups and shots. .As I am writing this my left arm is aching.But for some reason when we entered the small office on the corner of Section and Reading Roads in Cincinnati's Roselawn neighborhood we were told that his partner and fellow pediatrician Dr. Jerry Rauh was covering for Dr.Gillman that day.
We had no problem with that as my mom and dad were friendly with the Rauh's dating back to their childhood .
As we waited I played with the toys .
Going to the doctor had become old hat to my siblings and me.We were always taking some sort of medicine for sore throats or viruses.I had asthma and chronic bronchitis that was not helped by the fact that my mom was smoking two packs a day of Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes in our presence.Years later she told me that on nights when I would be in bed wheezing with the vaporizer going full steam ahead that she would be sitting in my room reading and smoking Pall Mall's the whole time.That was obviously before any surgeon general's warning labels were introduced about the ill effects of tar and nicotine.
Back to Dr.Rauh pronounced like the ow in ouch.
Then the nurse ushered us into the room for the checkup.
It was all going pretty well.I stuck out my tongue said "AHHHHH".Dr.Rauh listened to my breathing with his cold stethoscope.Did the reflex test with the rubber triangular thing .Checked my ear ,nose and throat with the light on the portable microscope thing.Made me drink some liquid for polio I think.Pricked my arm  with some 4 pronged thing for a  tuberculosos tine test.Then pulled out a needle possibly a tetanus shot.
This is basically when all hell broke loose.I saw the needle then willed my 4 year old body off the table and ran out of the checkup room screaming.The doctor stunned didn't know how to react my mom followed.
The nurse hearing the commotion entered the fracas.I was heading for the front door but someone shouted out to the nurse to ,"Block the door".I turned to my right and headed for a table in the opposite corner of the waiting area.The adults were trying to coax me out but I was pretty damn agitated and not budging.Eventually the table was moved out and I think kicking and screaming I was brought by force back into the checkup room where against my will(arm still throbbing here) I was administered the vaccine.
There is also the possibility that Dr.Rauh had my mom re-schedule additional shots for the next week when Gillman was back in town.I can only imagine the reaction of other kids and parents in the waiting area.
Not something to boost their morale heading in for their visit with Rauh.
I probably owe Rauh a drink or two if I ever run into him back in Ohio.I am sure he had a couple that night after my hijinx that day. Eventually I had to come to terms with my fear of needles when allergy shots were given to my siblings and me weekly by our Mom on orders of an allergist and the results of his scratch tests.
A few years back I had to take my daughter for blood work at age 4 and remember holding her down as the lab tech stuck her with the needle.There would be no running of the bulls that day in the Smith Kline lab in Rye Brook ,New York. On my sons visit at age 5 to get his checkup he looked the nurse in the eye with a cold stare and stated "I am not afraid of needles".The first two shots went down pretty well.On the third a tear formed in his eye and he had a pained expression on his face but he faced his fears head on and that is really
what I took away from the experience.In my mind it was much worse than I what the reality of the shot was actually.
This past year I had to have three surgeries ,countless MRIs and multiple cortisone injections .Remembering my son's brave statement to the nurse helped get me through the anxiety.
I took my son to one of my doctor's appointments last year and upon seeing the doctor pull out a large needle to inject me with cortisone he started laughing.The doctor and I were both a bit surprised.
"Dude why are you laughing?",I asked. He replied,"Cause you always see me get shots now the tables are turned".
Should I make a run for the door?
I rolled up my sleeve and held out my arm and took my shot.
Dr.Rauh that one was for you.......... Dr Gillman passed away years ago......Dr. Rauh passed away this week I will miss them both. Many nights my mom would call them at home and they would stop by our house to help steer all three sick kids on the road to recovery.