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The miracle of modern medicine

Recently one of my children needed to have a brain MRI done. She’s only three and not yet speaking (hence one of the reasons for the procedure), so there was no real way to prepare her for the exam. Unfortunately, nobody prepared us for it either.

We show up at the appointed time and I escort my daughter into the back room. The assistant–I think he was the assistant–he could have been the nurse, the technician, the doctor, the office clerk or the janitor playing doctor for all I know. Don’t you love the way people in the medical profession all blend together in casual obscure attire these days so you don’t know who is who? Is that so we don’t know whom to sue? Anyway, the obscure little man in a nametag-less short-order-cook uniform says, “There are two ways we can sedate your daughter. The first requires her to drink this very bitter liquid that she will probably throw up. The second is a suppository.”

Oh, great. What options! We can’t have her drink something she can’t keep down…and they think an enema is going to make her feel cozy enough to sleep?! Riiiiight.

Here is my child happily babbling on the portable bed and trying to capture the attention of our nameless friend here. Yo, emotionless stranger, how about a little compassion?

Now this guy wants me to do the deed and as he describes it I envision myself puncturing some dear organ my daughter needs. I ask him to do the honors since he is trained and wonder of wonders it works! No, it doesn’t put my daughter to sleep — not by a long shot, but now she can talk! In English! In words we clearly understand!

That girl sat up, collected her shoes and clothes and said very succinctly: BYE. BYE.

“Ma’m, she needs to lie down and sleep.”

“What do you mean? She’s talking! This is a miracle!”

He wasn’t impressed. Neither was my daughter who would have planted a right cross on his ho-hum expression if her arms were long enough. “We can’t do the exam if she is awake.”

“Well, maybe you can explain that to her.” Nothing doing. Becca screamed and hollered until she wore every adult within earshot down to a sniveling, pleading pile of slush.

So we took her off to a family restaurant to have brunch. Everything struck ‘Boo’ as comical. The French fries were hilarious. At last the sedative was working.

As she lapped at her straw and clapped with glee at the ketchup bottle, I slipped the ID bracelet from her wrist that they’d placed on her for the MRI. It read: “Exam: Brain without cont.” What’s that? No brain content? Well, why didn’t they just ask me! I’m the mother. I could have told them that none of my children have any brain content!

My husband and I laughed until we almost cried. We laughed with Boo at the silly little straw wrapper, the waitress, the cheeseburger, the knife and fork. It was like dining with a pint-sized drunk.

But she was happy and safe, for now, from the nameless, expressionless medical personnel. And for the record, Boo didn’t sleep a wink until well past bedtime.

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