Do you ever have something tickle your funny bone in such a way that you absolutely cannot stop laughing about it? That happened to me this week while I spent some time with Cole.
I’ll let you in on the joke.
Friday morning, I got a call from the Story County Public Health Nurse telling me that my 14 year old 8th grader had most likely been exposed to Whooping Cough during his last week of school. And, since he had coughed a little in the interim, they wanted to test him to see if he was positive for the disease. So, being the socially conscious mother that I am (even though I was 95% sure he’d never had it—I mean he never “whooped”—I didn’t want to expose others to the threat), I dutifully took the boy to the doctor to have him tested.
Now here’s where it gets funny. As we walked into the pediatrics department at the clinic, we saw millions of tiny children coughing and hacking and watching colorful fish in the aquarium. Cole, being nearly 6 foot tall and weighing 154 pounds, felt a little foolish to start. But as he walked up to the counter with me to check in, and the nurse told him he had to wear a blue doctor’s mask over his mouth and nose, I thought he might die of humiliation right then and there. I am laughing out loud right now just remembering. And so, he slipped the mask on his bright red face to protect the other tiny patrons, and he slinked over to a miniature chair and sat down...with his mask on…and I could not stop giggling because he looked so ridiculous. And not only did he look ridiculous, he felt so incredibly stupid that he took off the mask as he was waiting, and the nurse on call saw him and said to me in a mean voice, “He needs to put that mask on and wear it the ENTIRE time!” This all took place as a boy from his class walked in and did one of those kind of 8th grade boy shrugs to acknowledge his presence. I don’t think Cole even looked up. Soon, though, they called Cole’s name (I was still laughing) and he had to get up off his miniature chair and parade through the peds department with his little blue mask on. As he was doing this, he passed a girl that he knew coming out of the hall. She ignored him and he was very glad. As we got to the examining room, and the nurse had gone out, Cole ripped off the mask and said, “I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HUMILIATED IN MY WHOLE LIFE!” and I’m pretty sure that was accurate. And I’m not sure I have ever laughed that hard or that long or that inappropriately while in the doctor’s office ever. It was sooooooooo funny to witness this embarrassing debacle—well, maybe not for Cole.
We don’t have the test results back yet, and even though my boy is acting fit as a fiddle, I’m not sure he’ll ever fully recover from the big whoop in the peds waiting area.
And I’m pretty sure he’ll never want to be a doctor. or go to China during a SARS outbreak.
I’m still laughing.