Joseph’s appointment

So. The long-awaited appointment at the pediatric unit of the hospital was today. After the usual runaround of an NHS building (“oh no, you have to check in with so and so first..that’s in the basement at the other side of the complex”), we arrived more or less on time. Joseph’s height and weight were checked, and then we were told to go to the waiting room. It was surprisingly undepressing. There was even a happy-looking Nintendo unit for Joseph to play, which was good because we waited for the better part of an hour. Our Doctor called us and we quickly got up to follow. We had sort of a strange moment when we got out in the hall and he was nowhere to be seen. We wandered into the right hallway and he ushered us into his office. Some odd, irritating, and surreal points:

1. He had an obviously Arabic name. I say that to get the shame of being biased out of the way. I have to admit I was a bit nervous that there would be a serious language/culture barrier. I have a hard enough time asserting myself with people in my own culture/language/demographic group. Fortunately, he was really, really friendly. But in that subtly patronizing way that made you not quite sure he had any regard for you.

2. He had some very strange notions about gender. He asked Joseph if he wanted to be small and weak or big and strong and I mentally groaned. Joseph rather brightly replied that he didn’t mind which. The doctor then went into this lighthearted but completely nebulous tangent about how he must grow up to be big and strong because, “sorry mum, but women rule the world today. Someday it will be time for men to fight for our rights and we must be strong…” I had no idea how to pad that; I just quirked an eyebrow at Joseph who employed his smile-and-nod coping mechanism. Good lad.

3. He seemed bent on not allowing any of his questions to be properly answered. I had to bite my tongue to not mutter, “knock knock, who’s th-INTERRUPTING DOCTOR”.

4. Apparently, against the suggestion of the referring doctor, there’s nothing wrong enough with Joseph at this point to warrant serious testing. This was something of a relief to Joseph, as that would have required a lot of blood letting. The official plan is to stuff him full of calories until he gains weight. He said, “you have this word in America, junk food? Well, it is only junk for fat people.” Hmm. Tactful. Also, he would prefer that I fry Joseph’s food rather than boil or bake it. I’m sorry that this is apparently AMA, but for me the idea is not to alleviate Joseph’s weight problem only to set him up for congestive heart disease. He did make the valid point that Joseph should stop hoarding his treats in his room and actually eat them, though that was relayed via a strange hypothetical story about a robber coming into the flat to steal our treasure and being deterred if Joseph eats all his candy such that there is nothing worth taking. …

5. Joseph mentioned Star Wars to him (as you would) and he didn’t know what he was talking about (!). At length, Joseph managed to convey that it’s a sci fi series of movies. The doctor said he was much too busy calculating how many calories small boys need to be able to watch films. Our parting agreement was that Joseph would gain enough weight that the doctor wouldn’t need to worry about him anymore and he in return would watch Star Wars. Joseph didn’t specify which episode/s, and being content with such a lack of clarification is rare for him. Just goes to show how shellshocked he was by the experience ;).

So, if after four months Joseph hasn’t gained his weight, he’ll go in for more testing. In the meantime, the challenge will be to convince Nyssa that the universe isn’t entirely unfair in letting Joseph have so many more milkshakes than her.

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