Last week, Dallas had his yearly check-up at the allergist's office. I figured we'd be in and out quickly, but I was wrong. Shocking.
Lottie, Dallas, and I all trooped in to the exam room and waited for the doctor. When he came in, Dallas decided that it was a perfect time to lose his mind. There was crying, falling to the floor, and even some screaming. This time, it wasn't me! The poor doctor hadn't even touched Dal, just walked through the door. I mentally deflated a little then and there because I knew it wasn't going to be an easy visit. The doctor wanted to do scratch tests to gauge Dally's allergies to dairy and eggs. No problem, right? No problem for an adult, but for a not-quite-three-year-old kid in a state of utter despair, it was a problem. I wrestled off Dally's shirt, and the nurse did the control scratches and the allergy scratches. Then we waited. It seemed like we waited a VERY long time, but maybe it just felt like an eternity in that teeny, windowless room. I plied the kids with treats (M&M's and Skittles) to make the wait a bit easier. When the nurse came in to check Dallas's welts, she said, to my surprise, that Dally hadn't reacted to the egg scratch. The doctor returned and said he wanted us to get a blood test to confirm those results. I assumed it would be a finger prick, and I felt the first stirrings of dread when he sent us to a lab. I knew that wasn't good news: no need to go to a lab for a finger prick. So I dragged both kids to another building and into the lab. Once again, Dallas lost his mind and actually tried to flee the room. Smart kid. I filled out paperwork, tried to occupy Lottie, and kept an eye on Dallas to make sure he didn't sneak out. Multitasking at its best!
Then the really awful part began. I sat in the chair with Dal on my lap. I had to wrap my leg around his legs to ensure he didn't kick the woman drawing his blood, and I also had to hold one of his arms down and the other arm out straight so she could find a vein. He about jumped out of his skin when the woman wrapped the tourniquet around his arm, and I could feel myself starting to shake and tear up. I knew Dallas wouldn't see how upset I was, but I had to hold it together for Lottie. She was watching all of it with her big blue eyes, and I didn't want to scare her. The first time the woman got the needle in, Dallas moved too much, and she had to take it out. Then she tapped his other arm and I held him as tightly as I could. Meanwhile, I was also sweating like a pig out of stress and the fact that it was a BILLION degrees in that stupid room. It was the worst feeling to hold my son and know that someone was hurting him. I couldn't even look at his face to smile at him or reassure him. I just kept whispering in his ear that it would be over soon, but I doubt he could hear me over the wailing. When it was all finally over, he stopped crying immediately. He picked out a yellow crayon bandage and immediately said, "Can we get out of here now?" Yes, buddy. Right now. He fell asleep in the car - lots of trauma for one day - and continued to nap on the couch once we got home.
That night when Trevor came home, Lottie told him all about the afternoon and promptly burst into tears. I ran in to see what was wrong, and she sobbed, "I was so scared." My heart fell out of my chest. She hadn't seemed scared at the time, but I was so focused on Dallas that maybe I hadn't noticed. Score one for Worst Mommy Ever. I held her for a while and let her cry, and I apologized for not realizing how scared she had really been. Later, as I was putting Dallas to bed, he said, "I'm sorry I was scared about the blood, Mommy." Again, heart falling out of chest. I hugged him and told him that he hadn't done anything wrong. I told him he was a brave boy and I was proud of him.
The whole time we were in the lab, I knew it was awful. I knew Dallas was in pain, and I knew it couldn't be good for Lottie to watch all of it. But what I didn't tell the kids about my experience in the lab was that the entire time, I was silently thanking whatever higher power gave me healthy kids. The food allergies are Dallas's biggest health problem, and Lottie had her tonsils out. That's it. I don't have to spend a lot of time at doctors' offices or labs or hospitals, and for that, I'm grateful. Even though it was a harrowing afternoon for the kids, I know it could be worse. We're lucky. We're so incredibly lucky.