People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.


Brian and I took Carter to the ER last night. After four nebulizer treatments in three hours, he still wasn’t breathing well so we piled into the car at midnight and headed out in search of a few doses of prednisone.

Why can’t they put reasonably comfortable chairs in ER exam rooms? Do they think we’re not miserable enough between the fluorescent lights and the frigid temperatures and they have to also make sure our backs hurt and our asses go numb?

In fact, those awful chairs were probably the only reason Brian and I were awake when the doctor finally wandered in around 3 am. That, and Carter’s incessant chatter. Struggling to breathe makes him understandably anxious; anxiety causes an adrenalin dump; adrenalin (not to mention a shitload of albuterol) makes him hyper as hell. When he ran out of things to say, he would just string nonsense and curse words together: hookie wookie bookers are bitchy stupid hooker nucker fuckers.

Like Dr. Seuss with a potty mouth, my boy is.

We were too tired to care much until his anxiety took a strange left turn and he became convinced that they had shut down the hospital and we were the only ones left in the building. The staff members we coaxed into our room to convince him otherwise were more than a little perplexed by Carter’s insistence that, indeed, the hospital was closed and also, a tornado was coming soon to sweep us all into the sky.

Tornadoes in Albuquerque? Not gonna happen, but anxiety isn’t rational. Awake seven hours after his bedtime and loaded with stimulating asthma medications, all his fears grew until we couldn’t convince him to stop shouting in that wheezy, asthmatic way, “Stupid fucker asshole hospital people went away! I want to go home right now! Stupid fucker asshole parents are making me stay at the hospital and there aren’t even any doctors here!” 


Finally, after three hours of waiting, the doctor came in to do his doctor thing. We were so bleary-eyed and exhausted by then, we were about ready to stretch out on the icy floor to sleep.

Then came The Question, “Is he on any meds?”

“Yes,” I said, and gave him the list: five psychiatric meds (4 daily and 1 PRN), an allergy medicine, and 2 supplements.

The doctor’s face changed. “That’s a lot of medicine for a little kid,” said our white-coated Sherlock.

“Yes, it is,” I said out loud. Yes it is, you lucky fucker, I thought to myself.

Why lucky? Because I was way too tired to react to the veiled judgment on his face and in his question.

Yes, it is a lot of medicine. His board-certified, well-published, and widely-respected pediatric psychiatrist agrees that it’s a lot of medicine, but this is what it takes to help Carter be functional and safe.

Yes, it is a lot of medicine. Kids with leukemia also take a lot of medicine. Do you judge those parents?

Yes, it is a lot of medicine. We lay awake at night thinking about the risks of his medicines, balancing those risks against the severity of his illness and wondering if we’re doing the right things, doing enough, if there is something more or different we should do. Thanks for adding your pinch of salt to that wound, though.

Yes, it is a lot of medicine. We didn’t come out in the wee hours of a frigid night to be judged by strangers.

Yes, it is a lot of medicine. Did anyone ask you for your fucking opinion?

We finally got the prescriptions we needed and headed home after 4:00 am. Lying in bed, too tired to sleep, it occurred to me that I have changed. I’m still angry and defensive; I still despise the people who are willing to judge.

But you know what? Whatever.

More and more often, just whatever. The world is full of fools and judgmental idiots. Whatever.


Who’s the lucky fucker now?

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28 comments to Whatever

  • Oh he was lucky, alright. They always are; the only reason these assholes still walk the Earth is that they accost us in ERs when we’ve been up all night or at 6 a.m. when we’re braless and wrapped around a child inside a crib built for ONE, catch us offguard, offload their fuckwittage, and bolt. They’re like Dementors in the world of special needs parenting; always leave you feeling a little…less. So sorry you ran into one 🙁

  • I think motherhood in general is accompanied by a good dose of “whatever” some of us just embrace it more than others. I’m with you! 🙂

  • I am so sorry, this all sucks! I know how hard it is to get to “whatever” when you really want to rip someone’s head off. That doc is damn lucky you were exhausted, otherwise he might (justifiably) be sporting a brand new orifice. I hope Carter is feeling better soon.

    • I’ve popped off at so many people, and really, as much as they deserve it, ultimately it’s just plain exhausting.

      I’m considering typing up a little card to carry in my purse, to give to these know-it-alls. I don’t want to get into it anymore (usually; sometimes I’m very ready for the fight!), but I also don’t want to leave them so uneducated that they continue to think this is OK. Really, it’s bad enough from your average idiot, but from health care professionals? For shame!

  • I cycle. Sometimes I go straight to “whatever” and sometimes I rush straight to blind rage and indignation.

    • Yeah, me, too. Sometimes I’m OK and things roll off me, and sometimes I have to let them know what I think. I figure either way is OK; I just want to learn to stay calmer, for the sake of my own mental health.

  • In my mind, I’m a Bad Ass and I’d put the doctor in his place by saying something mean and angry about how we’d defer to someone more specialized when it came to what psychiatric medications we gave our child. Only there would be lots of big words and maybe cussing. In reality, I would cry. So your “Whatever” is a step beyond the tears.

    Hope Carter feels better soon.

    • I’ve gone through so many evolutions with this in the past 8 years! There were the crying years, and the furious angry years (always involving many big words!), and the smoldering rage years. I’m hoping that I’m really learning to let it roll off of me, at least some of the time.

  • Doctors are often judgmental assholes who don’t remember what real life is like.

    They are smart, the know lots of things I need to know…but the disconnect between them and reality is staggering.



  • AmyLynn

    When my daughter was 5 she had to have stitches in her chin and the ER doc reacted similarly to what you described when I listed her meds. He ALSO said, while looking directly at her:

    I would never have guessed SHE has so many problems SHE looks perfectly normal to me.

    For weeks my daughter would pop up with “Why am I not normal?”

    I still have some hate in my heart for that doctor.

    A few years later my daughter and I got to address an auditorium of medical students as guests regarding pediatric mental illness and my biggest piece of advice was DO NOT SAY- he/she looks NORMAL to me.

    I pleaded for them to think about how what they might say affects the patient. She may have been 5, but she STILL remembers how much “less than” she felt after that incident.

    I applaud your WHATEVER and I SECOND it.

    But I still want to bitch slap the dr.

    • Oh, shit! Yup, I’d be furious, too. The worst part about those kinds of comments is that OUR KIDS USUALLY HEAR THEM! They have no idea the kinds of work we’re doing to help our kids balance illness with the healthiest possible self-perception.

      I think there’s no way I’m ever going to stop wanting to bitch-slap some of these fools!

  • AmyLynn

    A card would be great—what would it say?

    • I think I would write, in very firm but democratic language (so I’d have to write it in a calm moment!), about how we’re aware that psychiatric meds for kids are controversial, but we’re doing what’s necessary to keep our kid alive. I’d say that Carter is followed by a well-respected, board-certified pediatric psychiatrist.

      And based on your story, I’d add something about how, while my child may seem “normal” to you, you have no idea what we’ve been through to get him there.

      Maybe I’ll write it up and post it here? I wonder if I could fit it on a business card, or if I should go for a 3×5 index card?

      What else would you put on there? I’d want it to be appropriate for health care professionals, jerks in the post office, nasty family members, etc. So it wouldn’t just apply to judgment about medicine, but also about behavior, discipline, etc. Sort of a general, “We’re the parents, so you should shut up,” but in a way that educates.

      • AmyLynn

        wow all good ideas….I have to think on this. I would want a snarky edge with an intelligent answer—-hmmmm

        A work in progress, this would be.

        By the way, my daughter is 19 now and on a full scholarship to a good university and has a job tutoring math students and loves it.

        Life is not perfect for her but DAMN she is doing so much better than I ever dreamed possible.


        • Oh, that makes me SO happy. Whatever the future holds for Carter, I hope there is lots of happiness!

          Yes, a snarky edge. That’s essential, because how dare strangers judge us?

  • Sigh.

    Next time, tell them about the time my son, 30 days into a med wash, needed stitches on his face. When the ER doc snuck up on him to give him a shot of lidocane (after I WARNED the little prick not to sneak up on him), Tim hit him so hard he broke his nose, while screaming, “get away from me, asshole!”

    Then smile. Big.

    • Oh, that’s kind of awesome!

      When Carter had his dental surgery, we told them not to wait until he woke up to call us into the recovery room. We let them know the nature of his issues and said that he HAD to see our faces when he woke up or there would be hell to pay.

      Of course they didn’t listen and it was awful. I kind of wish he’d broken someone’s nose!

  • TheNextMartha

    What did you say his name was ::sewing up voodoo doll::

  • I feel like I say whatever a lot lately too…in regards to my job. the fact that you have to say that about ass holes talking about your child? make me pissed.

    i vacillate between yelling people’s faces off or just saying whatever. my ability to respond appropriately is clearly lacking.

  • […] wrote a post just a few weeks ago about an ER doctor who gave us the stink eye and asked his oh so pointed […]

  • You know, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Why are there so many judgmental people? Where does this sense of superiority coming from? Not just in this situation, but in EVERY type of situation that involves parenting. It’s everywhere.

    I could say I’m sorry that he did that to you, but mostly I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there to say, “Why are you acting like this?” to that doctor.

    People need to stop being so goddamn judgmental about other people.

    I’m so over that bullshit.

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