Have I mentioned that the boys and I have been sick all week? I think I have, but I just wanted to re-establish that before I launched into this tirade. Owen woke up just after 6 this morning, sobbing and saying his ear hurt. I had to get him up and bring him out on the couch because he was crying so hard he was going to wake up Luke. I held him while he cried and said he didn't want ears because they hurt. I gave him ibuprofen, in hopes that would help him feel better. It helped to the point that he stopped crying, but he still just sat there holding his blanket over his ear and saying it hurt.
I called the doctor's office as soon as they opened and they said to come right in. Thankfully I had managed to sneak in a shower after Owen stopped crying, so I scrambled to get us all dressed and out the door. Now, I LOVE our pediatrician. He is like a Norman Rockwell doctor, very calming and pleasant. When you take your kids to see him, he just has this way of making you feel like you are doing fine and everything is going to be okay. This being a Saturday, we did not get to see our pediatrician. We got to see Dr. Terrible.
There are only three doctors in the practice and in the past four-and-a-half years we have had only one other interaction with Dr. Terrible (when our doctor, Dr. Wonderful, was on vacation). I came away thinking he had a terrible bedside manner and didn't seem to like kids at all. I was hoping this time would be different, but it was not. He walked in the exam room and just looked at us. I said hello to him and he finally asked "How are you today?" Really?? I've had one uninterrupted night of sleep in the past week, and that was more of a medically induced coma rather than restful slumber. I was holding a crying 2 year old on my lap who was writhing in pain and my four-year-old had crazy bedhead and snot running down his face because I couldn't hold Owen and wipe Luke's nose constantly and there were no tissues within reach. How do you think we are? Of course, I just replied that we've all been sick for a week and we've had better days.
He looked in Owen's ears and confirmed what I think was pretty obvious. Owen had a raging ear infection. Now, knowing how these things usually work (my kids only seem to need to see a doctor on the weekend), I had requested to have Luke looked at while we were there and paid two co-pays for the visit. Dr. Terrible stood up and said that he would put Owen on antibiotics and acted like he was getting ready to leave the exam room. So I said to Luke, "Luke, would you please let the doctor look in your ears too?" Why I didn't just ask the doctor to look at Luke too, I don't know. I don't think that in my ill and sleep deprived state I can be held entirely accountable for why I may say one thing over another.
Well, Dr. Terrible took this as an opportunity to launch into a lecture on how I shouldn't give my kids options on things because now, what if Luke won't let him look in his ears? Looking at Luke standing there, obviously waiting to be examined, I looked Dr. Terrible and said "He will." To which he continued his lecture about how he preferred to establish with patients what he expects of them and when they are given a choice, they may throw a fit. Oh, believe him, he has teenagers and he knows that kids shouldn't be given so many choices.... blah, blah, blah.... All the while, Luke is standing there, ear toward the man, waiting for him to look. "It's a psychological thing. When you give kids a choice or ask, they can think they can get out of things. It's better to just tell them what you expect them to do. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
And that was the last straw. With Owen crying louder and louder that his ear hurt, I looked straight at the guy and said. "Look, like I said, the three of us have been sick for the past week. I don't feel well and I have barely slept at all. I am very, very tired and it is very frustrating having my parenting criticized right now when I am just trying to help my kids feel better. Do you understand?" And that was the calmest, nicest thing I could come up with to say in that moment. What I really wanted to say was "Seriously? Are you kidding me?? ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME??!?! My youngest is screaming in pain and my oldest is being extremely compliant and doing exactly what I asked. How dare you lecture me when I didn't even do anything wrong and my kids are being as good as anyone could possibly expect right now!!! How the hell are you a pediatrician??" Yeah. I wish I would have said that, but I try to refrain from cursing.... especially in front of my kids.
I just don't know about some people. I can understand if we were new patients of his and he had simply asked me that I allow him to talk directly to the boys the next time so he could establish a rapport with them. I might have even tolerated the lecture had Luke actually thrown a fit or tried to prevent him from doing the exam. But he knew Dr. Wonderful was our doctor because he asked me. And Luke cooperated perfectly. I realize that I look way younger than I am, that I was probably a little disheveled, and that Owen was crying loudly from the pain, but what part of that makes it okay to lecture a tired, sick, stressed-out mom?
I know that I am overly sensitive right now from the illness and the lack of sleep, but am I being completely unreasonable here?