My mother had three standard cures for any ailment I suffered as a child: 7-Up, Neosporin, and ‘sitting on the toilet’ (my mother’s polite way of saying, ‘you need to poop’).
“Mom, my stomach hurts!”
“Go sit on the toilet, dear.”
“Mom, I feel like I’m going to throw up!”
“I’ll get you some 7-Up, honey.”
“Mom, I just severed a finger climbing the fence you told me not to climb. The finger landed in the neighbor’s yard and now their dog has it!”
“Put some Neosporin on it, sweetie.”
My entire life I thought ambulances were equipped with giant tubes of Neosporin, cases of 7-Up, and a port-o-potty.
Then I went to medical school. Well, technically my husband went to medical school but I did thumb through one of his medical textbooks once–it made my head hurt and then I threw up (thankfully after sitting on the toilet and a glass of 7-Up I was much better). After his four years of med school, I now know just enough about medicine to be a danger to myself and others.
My husband’s career has led to many bizarre conversations. During his pediatric residency, he came home after a long day of doing circumcisions. He tried to hug me while still in his scrubs. I expressed my concern that he might have foreskin on his scrubs. He mockingly informed me that it is a ‘non-splattering’ procedure. I still didn’t take any chances. One can’t be too careful when dealing with someone else’s foreskin.
I am also now expected to remember every word my doctor says to me. I am perfectly fine hearing my doctor say, “Everything is good.” I like good. Good is fine with me. For my husband, good is not good. He wants me to remember numbers, charts, and all the big words.
“What was your blood pressure?” he asks.
“It was good,” I say.
“What was the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure?” I hate when he makes up words.
“I think one number had a four and the other had a two.” I was never good at math.
Sometimes I wish he could just leave the doctor stuff at the hospital. Then there are times I want him to be a magician with a stethoscope.
“The baby is sick; fix her,” I demand.
“She has a virus; all we can do is let it run its course,” he says coolly.
“She’s thrown up on everything thing she owns–twice–and she won’t touch her 7-Up!” I scream hysterically.
“Maybe you could cover her in Neosporin,” he says and chuckles.
This is no time for jokes; I’m knee-deep in vomit and running out of clean sheets. Even my daughter’s stuffed animals are feeling the tension. Each time my daughter vomits she calls for a new stuffed animal. The animals in the bull pen are visibly nervous; I swear I can see fear reflecting in their big plastic eyes. They seem to know the fate that will befall them–sweat, puke, then a relentless trip in the washer that leaves them forever changed. Sorry, Smoochie Bear, you’re going in, the kid needs you.
Eight hundred and fifty-two loads of laundry later, my daughter was finally sleeping. I decided to start on a cautionary round of 7-Up, Neosporin, and sitting on the toilet. Just in case.