You Know They're Growing Up When...
One of the coolest things about Family Practice is watching children grow up, especially when they're basically healthy and you only see them once a year or so. There's a flip side to this, though, that was driven home to me the other day with the force of a 25 gauge needle.
Like many physicians, I tend to say the same things over and over. We can usually get away with it, as we see so many different people. But now and then we're startled (well, I am) when patients remember what we say and point out that we're repeating ourselves. What can I say? I have my spiel, and generally it works for me.
I was seeing a 14-year-old girl I had taken care of from age 7. Due to shifting immunization recommendations over the years, there have been several occasions when I've had to give her a shot. This kid really hates shots, though she's gotten better about it over the years, as most kids do. Still, she clearly wasn't happy when I began my spiel about the meningitis shot to her father and her. The dad agreed it was a good idea, so the kid knew she had no choice.
But I started in on her with my usual patter: I'm really good (read: fast) at giving shots. It wouldn't be that bad -- as virtually every other patient in my practice has said upon receiving a shot from me. She wasn't buying it, though:
That's what you always say. Then you give me the shot and it hurts. You say you're sorry and draw a smiley face on my band-aid.What could I say -- after I managed to stop laughing, that is?
"You're right. It's gonna hurt a bit. Deal with it."
After the shot (which hurt, she claimed) I offered her a band-aid. She accepted. I asked, "Do you want me to draw a baseball diamond on it instead of a smiley face this time?" (small round band-aid with square pad oriented on its corner; just begs for filling in the bases at the corners of the pad.)
"You drew a baseball diamond on it last year."