Tuesday, July 14 2020

wings, doctor visits, shots, and smoothies

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday. It feels good to be waking up at more regular hours, joining the work week with the rest of you. To set the scene here, it's a cool morning. The air outside smells like rain, and there is a loaf of bread proofing on our deck railing that I'm sure is just loving the humid air.

Sip. Yesterday morning was a struggle. Despite sleeping in as long as my body wanted, I could barely muster the energy to write and reflect, let alone put anything away. Feeling defeated, I rested my cup of coffee on the shelf and slumped backwards onto the couch to join the rest of my family.

"I just can't wake up today," I griped. "I don't know if I'm still tired from the parties this weekend, or if I just relaxed a little too much yesterday."

Rodney stared forward, affixed to the TV. Marissa tiredly rubbed her eyes.

"I'm there with you," she said. "I'm not feeling it today. I'm glad we're having a lazy day."

"Can today be one of those McDonald's Uber eats lunches?" I asked.

"Way ahead of you," she said, pulling out her phone. I rubbed my eyes, then pulling up twitter, spent a few minutes wandering around my feed.

"I did something a little different," said Marissa, setting her phone on her lap. "I ordered from Wing Stop."

"Ooh, wings?" I exclaimed.

"Yeah," answered Marissa. "I've been wanting to try that place. I ordered a lot of wings by the way." I grunted indifferently, finishing the cold coffee at the bottom of my mug.

It's still contested whether or not ordering so many wings for lunch was a good decision. Later that day, Marissa and I would spar over the it.

"Wings were a huge mistake," I said, holding my gut.

"I thought they were good, if I'm being honest," replied Marissa. "Yours were gross, but you always get the really hot ones."

"So you're not with me that it was a mistake, but you have to admit - it was a weird move for us. Forty spicy chicken wings is not a typical lunch around here," I laughed.

"OK fine," laughed Marissa. "It was a weird lunch. But I don't regret it."

After packing away some leftovers, Rodney and I headed out of the house to go to his doctor's appointment. Today, he was to get two immunizations.

"You know what's going on today, dude?" I asked. "You're getting a shot - just a lil' poke - then you're getting a mango smoothie."

"No - no lil' poke," answered Rodney. "Just a smoothie."

I pressed, trying to make it clear that the mango smoothie was a reward for the shot, and not just a suggested pairing of activities. The truth finally sunk in.

"OK," said Rodney. "Just a little poke. Then a BIG smoothie. With a piece of candy on top."

Rodney and I checked into the clinic. He was first seen by a nurse, who handed me an elaborate questionnaire meant to assess how Rodney was developing. There were four pages of questions, surrounding things like does your child use verb tenses? and can you child brush their teeth on their own, even if you have to do it again?. After nearly completing the first page, it became clear that I was supposed to actually be asking Rodney these questions. The form read record your child's answers here.

Rodney had stripped down to his pull-ups, and after reluctantly putting on the open back gown, sat patiently on the bed.

"Rodney," I said, breaking the deafening silence of the exam room. "Are you a boy or a girl?"

"Um..." Rodney rocked back and forth with his legs tucked underneath him. "Nope."

I repeated the question. "Rodney - are you a boy or a girl?"

"Nope," he answered.

"Are you a boy?" I asked.


"Are you a girl?"


"Well this is going to go great," I muttered to myself.



There was a polite knock on the door before a medical student entered. He introduced himself, and explained that he was going to be conducting the beginning of the check-up on Rodney. Unprompted, Rodney raised his gown over his head and lied back on the table.

The medical student gently prodded sections of Rodney's belly. "Does this hurt, Rodney?" He asked.

"Yeah," replied Rodney insincerely. "Hurts."

"How about this," he said, moving to a different part of his abdomen.

"Yeah," he replied again. "Hurts." Though the medical student was wearing a face shield and a mask, I could see the concern developing in his eyes. And even though I was amused watching someone else struggle to interpret Rodney's mental machinery, I decided to throw him a bone.

"Rod, does it hurt, or is it gentle?" I asked, out of turn.

"Gentle," said Rodney.

"He does better with choices," I laughed. "Other wise he just kind of repeats things."

The medical student checked Rodney's ears. Rodney wrinkled his nose and laughed as he moved in with the little viewing probe. The doctor confidently entered.

"Rodney, are you a boy or a girl," she asked.

"Nope," said Rodney.

"Rodney, are you a boy," she said with emphasis. "Or a girl?"

"Nope," said Rodney.

"How about your dad? Is he a boy? Or a girl?" said the doctor.

"Boy," replied Rodney. I exhaled in relief.

"He's been a big fan of nope lately, sorry about that," I said.

"And you had ear tubes put in, didn't you?" she asked. "Have the tubes fallen out yet?

"We haven't seen them, but I assume they fell out. It's been a while," I answered without conviction. The doctor inserted a probe of her own into Rodney's ear. Rodney wrinkled his nose and laughed nervously.

"There it is," she said. "It's still hanging out in the ear canal. Rodney, I'm going to have my friend here take another look again."

The medical student anxiously took the doctor's place. "It's in the ear canal," she said. "Bright blue. Can't miss it."

"BRIGHT BLUE," Rodney repeated, like he was participating in the mild hazing.

The doctor finished her examination. Two nurses replaced her in the room and swiftly gave Rodney two shots on the thigh. Rodney had a short burst of tears, but quickly composed himself while changing out of his gown. "I go look at fish now," he said, still shedding tears.

"Fish?" I asked. We stepped out of the hallway, and Rodney b-lined to a colorful fishtank in front of the reception desk. "Ahh - that tank."

"Where's your brother, Rodney?" asked the lady at the desk.

"He's at home now," answered Rodney. She nodded at Rodney like they were old friends. I took a spot beside Rodney at the counter and waited. As I continued to wait, I handed Rodney my camera so he could take some pictures of the fish.

rodney fishtank 1

I love letting Rodney take pictures. The first time it happened, it was quite a shock. Even if he can barely operate a camera on his own, and there is always an element of accident to his work, I think it does still capture his small, close-up perspective on things.

rodney fishtank 2

"So I check out, here, right?" I asked.

"Oh I'm sorry - I thought you guys were just looking at the fish," the administrator said. "You check on the other side of the doors."

Rodney and I picked up a smoothie and a cup of coffee for Mom. And on an impulse, I made my second poor eating decision that day.

"Yeah, and I'll take one of those Hydrating SPORTea drinks," I said, reading off the advertisement. "The mango one. Gimme a large." That underwhelming sugary tea, in combination with the assenine amount of hot wings I ate for lunch, was probably the culprit of my all day indigestion.

Rodney made it way to the couch to finish his smoothie while watching Blippi. Marissa asked about his appointment.

"That place is confusing," I laughed. "You know I stood next to the fish tank for like two minutes before she sent me to the other side of the doors."

"Oh yeah," laughed Marissa. "And it says really big on the door don't leave until you check out. I don't blame you."

"But I love watching Rodney answer questions and follow instructions from a doctor," I laughed. "You should have seen him with the medical student. I'd watch that over TV any day."

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day.