The Last In Line

There are new restrictions everywhere we go nowadays, and that’s great news. I am all for waiting in the car for the pediatrician instead of marinating in the sputum of the people in the waiting room, especially when we’re only there for a well visit or a flu shot. Letting in fewer people at once to the grocery store? Yes, absolutely, count me in. But now that my husband and I have been vaccinated, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

The kids had skipped their well visits during the pandemic. Now, before you call the authorities, I called the pediatrician and asked if any of them were due for vaccines, and none of them were, it was just the “do you have any concerns?” checkup stuff. I did not have any concerns, other than dying of COVID so my children grew up motherless, so we didn’t go. I did take them to get flu shots, which they promised would be full of precautions, but it was not. There were kids running around with their masks falling down, coughing everywhere, while Mom checked them in and said they “totally needed COVID tests,” and I wanted to shed my contaminated skin on the spot and escape.

Now, we’ve made well visit appointments (two down, one to go), and next is the dentist. The dentist allows all three kids to be seen at once, but the doctor said no more than two, so we need to make two trips. Still, restrictions and precautions are good news.

Except if you’re a parent whose kids are not physically in school. During the past year I have also put off every imaginable appointment to avoid getting sick, and I’ve been incredibly lucky my autoimmune disease has remained manageable with careful attention and plenty of worry. Not only because I didn’t want to go to a hospital in the middle of a pandemic, but because going to the doctor is basically impossible.

If you’re going to an adult doctor and not a pediatrician, you can’t bring anyone with you. I have three kids, two of which are doing virtual school, and one three year old who is not doing anything besides staying home with me. My husband is mercifully working from home (until later this week) but when he’s in a virtual courtroom he can’t watch the kids, obviously. He certainly can’t be an assistant teacher while taking work calls.

So all my appointments, and likely the appointments of most parents, are overdue. I need to go to the dentist, I need a checkup, I need to have a bucket of blood taken to check all kinds of crap that is supposed to be checked every few months if you’re taking medication that can cause organ failure, and so on and so forth. In order for me to get the scans to check on the status of my Crohn’s my husband would have to take a sick day to do school with the kids. It’s possible, but not ideal, so I’m just riding out this period of relative good health until it becomes imperative that I get shit done.

This week I have developed some kind of eye problem. It feels like a scratch on my eye, and I finally became uncomfortable enough to call the doctor 30 minutes before they closed for the weekend, so I ended up at urgent care. They gave me antibiotics because I am a parent with a red eye so obviously it’s pink eye. Except the meds didn’t help and now I have an appointment this afternoon with my eye doctor. The woman who made the appointment said I had to come alone because of COVID. She also said I needed to have my eyes dilated and couldn’t drive home so I needed someone to take me. So don’t bring anyone, but also have a driver ready. Huh? I have three kids at home and I’m making this appointment on a day when my husband does not foresee any serious calls that will keep him from caring for our children during his work hours, but he also can’t just stop working all together to put everyone in the car, drive me to an eye appointment, sit in the car for an hour? two? and then take me home with my crazy big pupils. Like…what?

If you live near parents who are in the same boat, with kids home all day and checkups postponed indefinitely, CHECK IN. It’s one thing to have your kid watch you get a pap smear because you don’t have anywhere to drop them off before your appointment (I do not recommend this — it will only cost you more in therapy in the long run. Apologies to all three of my children who have seen me in stirrups) but to not be able to bring your kid when you are their caretaker? Its really hard. The restrictions are necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.

I am taking an Uber to my eye appointment. It’s not that close, so it will raise the price of the visit, and that’s annoying. When my husband returns to work in a few days, my opportunities for medical care will shrink even more. My eye doctor doesn’t work on the weekend. Parents are hanging by a thread this year, okay? We don’t have time to get extra dental stuff done because our teeth were neglected.

I hope this doesn’t need to be said, but sending your wife to the doctor while you watch the kids DOES NOT COUNT AS ME TIME FOR MOMMY. Having someone poke my eye or scrape my teeth with a metal hook is not a treat. Do not give your wife the gift of a long-awaited blood draw for Mother’s Day.

Also, Mother’s Day is this weekend. It’s been a tough year. No carnations.

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