Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Picture Perfect

Our pediatrician moved into a new office last month.  Thankfully the staff remembered to tell us before we drove to the old office for our appointment this week.  As we walked into the new office, smelling of fresh paint and new carpet, I smiled looking at the familiar wall of photos, drawings and Christmas cards that had made the move from the old office.  I scanned quickly to see if my daughter's artwork was still tacked somewhere on the display, but alas, it didn't appear to make the cut.  I wasn't really surprised.  I assumed the doctor must have received mountains of artwork from her young patients over the years. 

The nurse quickly brought us into the exam room, as if she was anxiously awaiting our arrival.  "I have your room all ready for you." she said. 

Even knowing she was due for 3+ shots at this appointment, my daughter happily skipped into the room. 

"Check out the artwork on the wall!" the nurse excitedly announced as we walked into the exam room.  And there it was.  My daughter's painting she had made at age three was not just taped to the wall.  It was matted, framed, and hanging proudly for all to see. 

I got a little lump in my throat as I recognized the painting.  To me, it wasn't just a painting.  It was a poignant reminder of the three nights my daughter had spent in the hospital at the tender age of three.  If you're a parent, you know.  Those were among the three most stressful nights of my life.  My little girl was poked and prodded and tested until she screamed and cried.  I was helpless to take away her pain or make anyone stop because we had to do all the necessary tests and procedures to make her well again. 

And yet in the middle of the whole no-fun, awful hospital experience, my daughter painted.  And when this small masterpiece was completed I remember how she proudly showed off the finished product and announced it was for Dr. Lagoc.  I just about fell on the floor.  Really?  This painting is for the doctor?  The lady that put you in the hospital and ordered all these tests and needles? THAT doctor? 

So I took the painting and made a note that it was for Dr. Lagoc, along with the date.  The next morning when the doctor was making rounds, my daughter proudly presented her painting.  The doctor dutifully admired the gift.  I figured the painting might get lost in the shuffle of hospital paperwork before Dr. Lagoc left the building.  I wondered if it would make it back to the office. 

On our first office visit after the hospital stay, my daughter immediately noticed her painting taped to the wall.  More importantly, she smiled and gave Dr. Lagoc a hug when she entered the exam room.  In spite of all the yucky hospital stuff, the doctor had somehow managed to maintain a positive bond with my daughter.  I fully expected my sweet, young daughter to come out of the hospital with a healthy phobia of doctors and nurses. Instead, her trust and bond with Dr. Lagoc was strengthened. 

And so today, seeing the painting and recalling the circumstances under which it was created, made me a little emotional, in a good way. I felt a wave of gratitude for the care my daughter received while she was sick, and more importantly for the completely unexpected byproduct of the whole ordeal: Her enthusiasm and affection for Dr. Lagoc. 

Turns out a trip to the pediatrician doesn't just keep our kids healthy.  It does a mom's heart good too. 

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