Here at the Suite, we strive to catalog at least three or four humiliations per quarter (Would that be approximately one a month? Oh dear.). It's small service but one we perform with a degree of... we can't say pride... with a degree of panache, if you'll agree. In fact I'd venture to add that we are nearing professional status with our (and I'm speaking of course in the Royal We which is a fancy way to say all the humiliation is mine, mine, mine) ability to turn a blush at any given moment.
Important but not embarrassing update interruption! Yesterday was a VERY big day. Sarah has a diagnosis. Hallelujah! We now know she has a twelve-syllable autoimmune and auto inflammatory condition that is exceedingly rare (one in a million: I always have said it and now it's medically true) but not as scary as some diseases the doctors flirted with and even name-dropped to similar effect as, oh, a visit the Dread Pirate Hemophilia would have on a ship of weary and perpetually seasick immigrants.
In defense of our team of specialists, I must say that Sarah's other known genetic anemia conditions somewhat obscured their view. Also in their defense I must add that they had to consult Harvard. If you want to feel special, and I guess in a good way, have your state's best pediatric disease specialists send all your images and labwork across the country to a place covered with ivy and high IQs.
In fact our favorite doctor on the team attempted to call us yesterday afternoon but hung up in the middle of the first ring from nerves and had to call back later. I love her because she admitted this. Sarah loves her because she has Wyandott chickens. We all have our reasons.
The worst part 'bout Sarah's diagnosis is that she may have periods of "moderate-to-intense" pain from benign bone lesions interspersed with unpredictable but long remissions. The best part about this disease is that it goes away in puberty. Can anyone say SILVER LINING?
Okay, now back to your regularly scheduled vicarious embarrassment.
After months of doctor, lab and imaging appointments for Sarah, yesterday was for some reason my turn. I had a long-scheduled mole check and a piggybacking knee injury to follow up on. Hey, oops, that made it sound like I hurt my knee in a piggyback incident. What I actually meant was that I had the mole appointment but hurt my knee (yeah, yeah, another joint bites the dust) and so snuck it in under the scheduler's radar. And after months and months of juggling to find someone to watch the baby and/or Grace and Madeleine while Sarah and I memorized eight-year-old copies of Golf Magazine in interchangeably plastic waiting rooms, I just couldn't find anyone to watch the baby for my mole appointment.
It was mid-afternoon. I left Madeleine and Grace glued to the Webkinz site at my husband's office. I took the baby, because she's not so much into the computer. Give her time. I took Sarah, because this is my family doctor. The doctor who's known us for years. Who lives for my kids' visits (alright, that might be overstating it, but I kinda believe him when he says so). Who kindly looked aside in my most recent [if you're only counting incidents at doctors' offices anyway] wardrobe malfunction.
Sarah and Laura and I went through Dutch Brothers. Don't tell their sisters. We bought: a split-shot mocha (two shots caffeinated, two unleaded, steamy dreamy bittersweet chocolate milk = heaven in the cup holder), a blackberry Italian soda (Sarah's treat of choice) and a whole milk, straight up (Laura needs the extra fat for her brain cells I'm told).
I am getting to the most embarrassing moment.
Usually I try to pick up an Irish cream latte for my doctor's nurse. This is one way we remain the favorites. But yesterday I forgot. Because I'm clearly not invested enough in the process. Or else because I wasn't sure I could carry my mocha and hold Laura's slippery chubby fingers adequately in the parking lot (notice the order in which I sadly described the priority there) if I was also carrying a latte for the nurse.
My doctor doesn't drink coffee. Because he's superhuman, that's why.
His nurse sweetly overlooked my lack of gifts and oohed and aahed over Laura's chubby legs in a Lulu dress just made for chubby baby legs. Sarah did the Highlights puzzles in her head because it annoys her when there are marks in magazines and she can't contribute to the madness.
We waited a while. Don't you always?
We waited a while longer. The natives were restless. I let Laura climb around on the exam table. (Foreshadowing alert.)
The nurse poked her head in to say the big chief was held up on a phone call.
"We're fine!" After all, I am adept at juggling four children. How could a mere two, one of whom is buried in books, be too much for me?
Twenty minutes later Laura knew every no-no in that exam room by name. She could climb up onto the exam table and shimmy down, hanging from her fingers while her toes barely barely touched the step and her tummy provided friction for a slower descent. It was an art form, a gymnastic toddler treat.
Finally! The doctor was in!
He greeted us all with hugs. I took my hand off Laura's back to shake his, basking in the glow of being called once again his favorite family. Prolly he says that to all the farm mamas, but I just don't wanna know.
Of course the very moment I wasn't looking, the very moment I was feeling all uberproud of my cute little brood, THAT was the moment Laura did a FREE FALL from the top of the exam table onto the top of her cute little ponytail. Her adorable little Lulu of a dress flung up to reveal the matching bloomers and cover her eyes.
First the clunk of baby hitting floor. Then the horrible silence of a child who's about to scream bloody murder ("Wait. Wait. My mother was holding on to me a minute ago!").
Then, of course, the screaming did commence. And it did us proud.
The doctor elbowed me aside to pick her up. I'm not kidding. He even apologized later. "I didn't mean to elbow you in the teeth."
Well, I didn't mean to allow for the brain damage. ("All of her kids are really cute, but that smallest one? A little off.")
Sarah (ever quick-thinking) ran a Dixie cup of water and immediately distracted Laura from the goose egg growing on her head. Meanwhile I just collected my pride in another Dixie cup and remembered that pride always goes before... what?
I think we're either (a) finding a new doctor or (b) bringing a lot more lattes to buy some nursely silence. Because at this point they've seen my nursing bras and they've avowed their love for my children, I think it's option b. I think.