A/N Understand Please - this is a story based on a true experience, though names, etc... have been changed. It will offend, as it should.
Reviews are gratefully accepted.
I am willing to "talk" via email regarding this if it would help someone else who is there now, or has been there, and hasn't been able to move on.
Based on response I get I will decide whether or not to upload part two ... I do not want to offend anyone
It's just a physical; a physical for first grade. I know my fear is stupid, ridiculous, misplaced. Why am I afraid?
She put her little hand in mine. Her big brown trusting eyes smiling at me, as they always do. Warm chubby little fingers, my baby, not a baby anymore. Almost seven years old. Why does that send a chill down my spine?
"I don't want to go to the doctor. I'm afraid."
"What are you afraid of sweetie?"
"I don't like shots."
"No one does, but I'll be right there with you, and you will be okay. I promise." She smiles her funny toothless smile at me and wrinkles her freckled nose. Skipping happily, still holding my hand, she gets to the door a second before me. "Slow down!" I laugh.
"I want to play with the toys. Can I go in that room today?"
"Yes sweetie, go ahead, I'll be right there." I watch as she ducks into the room filled with 'Well Children'. The box with the beads that slide across the wires never gets dull for her. When five or six children play together it becomes a maze of little fingers and colored beads and twisted wires and laughter. I sign her name on the sheet, pick up a magazine and sit down to wait.
Memories flood my mind.
I was almost seven. I remember the waiting room. It was very different than this one; filled with adults and children, books, "Highlights" magazine, a little table with four little chairs, and a few plastic toys. Babies were sitting on their mother's laps. A coughing hacking old man sat in the corner reading a news magazine. My mom sitting in the chair, browsing "Good Housekeeping" and me, looking up at her from the stained carpeted floor as I shove a toy truck around aimlessly.
"Lily." The sound of the nurse calling my daughters name startles me into today.
"C'mon mommy!" tugging me down the clean bright hallway she follows the nurse into the room. I watch as she hops up on the table. She doesn't need my help anymore. Not like she used to.
"Let's see how much you've grown." The nurse smiles warmly at her and Lily hops down and runs to the scale. "You should take off your shoes."
Lily squeals as she kicks off her little sandals and dances around the room barefoot. Up on the scale the nurse measures and weighs her, taking down all the important data. The nurse reaches into the pocket of her smock that is covered with pink and blue bears playing soccer. Her long curls bounce loosely around her shoulders as she pulls out a sticker and hands it to Lily. Lily squeals delightedly again.
"Mommy, it's a soccer ball!" she shows me her sticker proudly and then climbs deftly back on the table to wait to see the doctor.
"Yes it is, now how did they know you love soccer?" I tease.
"We usually do some blood work for this physical, check for anemia and a general work up. It's up to you though, if you don't want to we don't have to."
"I don't think we need to." I assure the nurse "She seems pretty healthy to me."
The nurse smiled and nodded in agreement. "Okay then Miss Lily, I will let Doctor Hernandez know you are ready to see her."
"Yay!" Lily squeals again. "I love her!"
Lily lies back on the table and studies the dancing animals on the wallpaper.
I remember, I was the same age as Lily. The nurse called my name. "Celia." I looked wistfully at my mother still reading the magazine.
"Go on now honey, go with the nurse."
"Please come with me mommy."
"No, the doctor doesn't allow that here, honey. It's best if you go alone. You will be fine."
"I'm scared mommy."
"Go with the nurse, you'll be fine."
The nurse takes my hand. She is wearing a crisp white dress. Her blonde hair is pulled up into a loose bun and a few wisps dance around the edges of her face. She smiles at me with her sparkly blue eyes. Her hand is cold, white, clean and perfectly manicured; long clear nails. I want fingernails like that when I grow up. She is beautiful.
Her white hat pinned carefully on the top of her head, her high heels click noisily on the yellowed linoleum flooring. We stop in front of the big scale in the hallway. "Step up please."
I like this part. I stand tall and watch as she moves the little weights and then tells me to turn around to see how tall I am. We move on down the hall to the last room. She opens the door. The walls are faded white, the table brown, with paper on it, the window covered with dusty blinds that are never open. A little blue paper gown is waiting for me, taunting me, telling me of the torture that is to come.
She lifts me on the table and plops a thermometer in my mouth. I watch her every movement; swift, precise, meaningful. She takes my little wrist between her fingers and stares at her watch and writes something down. Curious I'd like to ask her what she wrote, but I can't, because I have a thermometer in my mouth. She plucks the thermometer out of my mouth and writes more on the paper. "You need to undress and put on the gown. The doctor will be in to see you soon."
I pick up the blue paper. I stare at her. My mind is saying no, but I am a good little girl and I always do what I am told. She leaves and pulls the door shut behind her. I push off my shoes, slowly, carefully, and watch them as they bounce first on the step that I need to get on the table and then on to the floor. Next my socks follow, to the floor. I look at the blue paper again; feel the funny little bumps in it. Shiver.
"Well hello there Lily!" Dr. Hernandez enters the room like a tornado. "And how are you today?" The chill leaves me as I see the doctors smiling face. Where was I? I don't remember, but now I need to be here, for my little girl.
"Gur-rate!" Lily exclaims as she throws her arms around her favorite doctor.
"Good. And is it true the rumor I hear? Our star soccer player is going to be starting first grade soon?"
A torrent of disconnected words flow from Lily's mouth as she updates the doctor on every event of her life in the last year and every event she expects to happen in the next. The doctor listens, smiling and commenting occasionally while looking in Lily's eyes, ears, nose, and throat, listening to her breathing and heart and testing her reflexes. "Well, no wonder you are such a terrific soccer player, look at that kick!"
Lily giggles uncontrollably.
"And I see you declined the blood work Ms. Balling?"
"Yes, I don't see the necessity."
"Well, I have to agree with you." She smiled affectionately at Lily. "She's a very healthy little girl. However, in order to keep her that way, we will need to update her vaccinations with a few boosters."
I cringe. I know Lily will not be happy. Still, the shot in the arm is better than the finger prick. I'll be there with her. Nothing bad will ever happen to my little girl. I nod and sign the paper the doctor slides in front of me. Lily watches only half interested as she is now seeing how many times she can stick and remove her sticker before it stops sticking. The nurse returns with a little basket. Lily looks at it suspiciously. "No mommy."
"It'll be fine sweetie. I'll be right here." I hold her hand and the nurse cleans her arm and gives her the shot quickly.
"What kind of band-aid would you like today?" Tearfully Lily picks one with dogs on it. "Oh that's my favorite." The nurse carefully puts the band-aid on Lily and rubs her back tenderly. "Now you can pick out another sticker for being such a brave little girl." Lily smiles halfheartedly and hops off the table, holding my hand, dragging her toes on the floor she walks down the hall to the front desk. By the time we arrive she is ready to pick out her sticker and beg for a lollipop too.
We walk to the car, her tiny hand in mine, and she looks at me with her big brown eyes. Taking the lollipop out of her mouth she smiles. "Mommy, I don't like when they do that."
My stomach falls out of me. Breathe; I tell myself to breathe. Desperately I want to reply but the words won't come out of my constricted throat. Swirling dark memories grip my heart.
I buckle her in and drive home, hands clenched, white knuckles on the steering wheel. She climbs out, runs in the house and turns on the T.V.
Breathe. I go and make dinner. Daddy comes home from work. We eat. I tuck her in and read a story. She curls up next to her bunny and pulls it close.
"I love you mommy."
"I love you too, sweetie."
"I love you three, mommy."
Sitting on the edge of her bed I squeeze her little foot under the covers. "I love you four."
Smiling, delighted, "I love you more."
"Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bug bugs bite."
"It's bed bugs mommy!"
I turn off the light and leave the room, but linger at the door, watching her talking quietly to her toy bunny. Her eyes growing heavy, she drifts off to sleep, her voice haunts me. "I don't like when they do that mommy."
Stepping back; stepping back until I back into the wall. "I don't like when he does that mommy." My own little voice echoes in my memories. Dark shadowy memories clawing their way loose in my mind. Hidden, in the closet, in the secret place that even I don't dare go. Sliding down the wall, cold on my back, sweat on my face, hands clenched, fear grips me again.