Tonight we are paused in the doctor’s office.
It’s Friday night and I’m relieved we got an evening appointment. “Let’s just make sure you don’t have strep throat,” I said to Adi as we pulled our coats closer and walked through the dark and quiet park, towards the pediatrician’s office.
Once we’re called in for our appointment, I rattle off Adi’s symptoms to the nurse. “She woke up with a sore throat and spiked a fever this afternoon… we just wanted to make sure it isn’t strep. She did have the stomach bug earlier this week,” I say.
The nurse comes in for the dreaded throat culture. I hold Adi, not ready for the thrust she lets out as soon as the swab gets close to her mouth. We regroup, pinning her arms and head this time. The nurse leaves and we recuperate. I rock Adi and tell her that she is brave.
The doctor comes in and we rehash the details that have brought us to the doctor’s office on this cold winter night. The doctor patiently examines my girl, talking to her sweetly. “Her throat is a little red. The strep test was negative. Let’s just test her for the flu to be safe. The ‘new and improved’ culture now takes 15 minutes instead of 10. If you have a few minutes, we can just rule that out. The flu swab is nothing compared to the throat swab.”
We have nowhere to be, but in my mind I rule out the flu. We will be on our way and ready for the weekend in no time.
The nurse comes back. “I’m always the bad guy,” she mutters under her breath as we both brace ourselves for what comes next. Again Adi thrashes and we are left to recover as the nurse leaves.
Again, I rock her, staring down at her, just like I did when she was a baby. She reaches up and gently pushes by chin and my gaze away. Cuddling is enough for her. I savor the quiet and the moment in the pale yellow office covered with photos and drawings of frogs.
The doctor returns. “It’s positive,” he states.
“That wasn’t fifteen minutes,” I respond as I process the news he has shared.
We bundle up again, ready to brace the cold. I hold Adi’s hand as we cross the parking lot. As we settle into the car, I take a deep breath before starting the car, mentally preparing for more germs and caregiving. I turn to look at Adi and give her a smile, hoping it says that everything will be alright.