The Doctor’s Waiting Rooms: An Ode To Purell

Ever get the feeling that just by visiting the doctor’s office you are doing more harm than good?

Sometimes the most dangerous places, for mothers and children, I find, are pediatrician’s offices. First, they are always busy, as if there were a designer pop-up sample sale, instead of miserable looking mothers and bawling babies.

In fact, I’d rather spend time anywhere else than in a pediatrician’s office.

In Toronto, it’s almost impossible to find a pediatrician who will take on new clients. The best strategy is to send them a bottle of champagne and some roses and maybe even slip them a hundred bucks. And then, if you are really lucky, they may take your child on as a patient.

I kid, of course, but once you finally do find a pediatrician who will take on new clients, it means that you actually have to go to the pediatrician’s office, hopefully, only for prescheduled checkups, of course.

Thank God, I think, that my baby boy hasn’t yet been sick enough to have to see the doctor. He has been for his shots though. Each and every time I’m in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office, I really don’t know what to do with myself, except to wrap a scarf around my face.

I’m overwhelmed by the crying babies and toddlers; all the awful sounds I hear—sniffles, coughs, sneezes; and by what I see—pink eye, weird infections around the mouth, feverish babies.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a mother too and if your child needs to see a doctor, than your child needs to see a doctor.

But, boy, do I hate pediatrician’s offices, not only because I think Holt will come out with something worse than I’m going in for (usually to get his regular shots) but because pediatrician’s offices have toys. And toddlers like toys.

I admit that I’m one of those paranoid mothers, who always has a mini bottle of Purell on me at all times.

As most parents know, waiting times in a pediatrician’s office are often enough to make you crazy. Even if you make an appointment, months in advance, you could still be waiting in that germ filled room. For up to an hour, you sit there with your thoughts racing like, “Oh my god. I am going to get so sick in two days. And it could be anything!”

Other mother’s encourage their children to play with the toys, to take their minds off the waiting times, and of course, Holt always wants to play with those germy toys.

When I look at the toys, and watch Holt play with them, because you can’t exactly yell out, especially in the doctor’s office, “Don’t touch that toy Holt. Who knows what kid touched that before you. Maybe he had pink eye, or impetigo? DO NOT TOUCH!”

Even the magazines, for adults, that are lying around, I stay far away from because, realistically, they are probably pretty contagious. I have the worst thoughts in pediatrician’s offices. I think, for example, if I pick up a magazine, some other mother who has been wiping their baby’s nose, non-stop for days, probably touched it.

When I leave the pediatrician’s office, I immediately Purell my hands, wishing I had a Costco size bottle, so I could literally shower in Purell.

My pediatrician is nice. His offices are nice and clean. It’s just what’s in the waiting room that gives me panic attacks and makes me paranoid. I don’t hate taking Holt to see the doctor; I just hate the waiting room. As parents, we all know that kids are germ infestations, on a good day. On a bad day, when they are really sick with, let’s say, strep, it’s an awful experience to have to be in a waiting room. Anyone else shower in Purell after visiting the pediatrician?

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