Being An Adult In The Pediatric Wing…

Attending the same hospital for your entire life can make visits as an adult—well, that’s what they tell me I am—awkward, to say the least.  Especially when it’s your final visit to your pediatrician.

“Look your girl,” my mom called loudly to someone standing outside.

“Oh my goodness,” the woman responded, halting her conversation mid-sentence.  “She’s gotten so big!”

As she touched my arm and asked about school, I mentally scrambled in search of a memory to fit the voice.  I found none.  According to my mom, she was one of the nurses who frequently tended to me as a child.

“What,” my mom’s voice was light as we entered the building a few moments later.  “They think you’ll stay small forever?”

I make a noncommittal sound of agreement, that I try to pass off as a laugh.  As per usual, her moods had been ping-ponging all morning.  But my emotions aren’t as mercurial, so while she was now feeling jovial, I was still suffering residual feelings of annoyance.  But she didn’t notice. She rarely does.

“Wow, look how big she’s gotten,” someone else exclaims once we reach our floor.  “And I see she has a stick now, does that mean she’s getting around by herself?”

I’ve always had a “stick” (it’s called a cane, actually) but when I go out with my mother, I’m told to keep it folded or not to take it at all.  Why do I need it if I’m walking with her? Now I carry it always (unless there’s an argument), but I didn’t before.  None of that I said aloud, however, as my mom was already answering.

“She lives on campus by herself.” I pulled out my phone as she says this, I knew where this conversation was going: praise at being able to live my life, compliments to my mother for letting me go, etc.  And they didn’t disappoint.

“This is her last appointment,” I hear.” Their voices still filter in despite my efforts.  “She’ll be twenty-one in a few weeks.”

“Twenty-one! Wow.  Well, you know, she can see a transition doctor and then they can help place her with an adult doctor.”

“I think she was planning to find a hospital close to campus. So it’s easier for her to manage.”

“Well some of our doctors work in pediatrics and adults, which might be better for her.  Sometimes the change can be traumatic to patients.”

“I think I’ll be fine.” I interjected.

“You can still bring her when she doesn’t have school.  Once a year.”

Yes, please continue to talk around me.  It’s not as though I’m the patient or anything.

***

The next time I have a say in matters is in my doctor’s office.  And everything’s going great until he asks where to send my prescription.  I’m slowly working on having everything being sent to the CVS near my dorm, but my mom was not happy about it.  Even though it’s always a hassle when I need my eye drops or a new inhaler.  It’s always so taxing on her (generally empty) schedule, that I figured I should just get it on my own.  Luckily, my doctor listened to me and sent everything where I told him.

The next blessing came in the form of the nurse who, though she was sticking me with a needle (so I automatically disliked her), asked about my hair dye and actually spoke to me.  Even laughing and joking about how much she also disliked needles when I put aside all of my frustration to squeeze my mother’s hand.

So the moral of the story? There was none, really.  Just wanted to complain about being an adult in the pediatric wing.  And the needles.  I really don’t like needles.

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