We’re preschool-bound (yay!), so I had to wade through a stack of school enrollment forms. It was my first time through that paperwork jungle, and I was proudly undaunted by the dozen or so pages. The worst was deciding whether I’d rather tend the garden or sort art supplies at the school (it’s a co-op). That one hung me up — no joke — for most of a week.
The medical form, though, should have been simple — our pediatrician is part of a huge practice, so they actually have a staff person just for filling out forms! Slam dunk!
Alas, no. Our form read something along the lines of:
(A) Child has no TB risk factors, or
(B) Child has TB risk factors so here’s the skin test result.
The risk factors listed were things like “born in a jungle” and “lives under a freeway” — crazy stuff like that — and none of them applied. But the paperwork lady refused to check (A) for reasons she would not explain to me over the course of several traded messages. The exchange ran something like this:
Me: “So I see that you didn’t check that ‘No TB Risk Factors’ box. I’m pretty sure we don’t have any risk factors — I’ll fax you the list. Then you can check the ‘No TB Risk Factors box, right?”
Paperwork Lady: “There’s already an order for a TB skin test in the computer, so you’re good. Come down anytime except the lunch hour.”
Me: “Thanks for that, but we don’t need a skin test. Just check the (A) box and we’ll be all set.”
Paperwork Lady: “Great! Come on in for that skin test and I’ll send you the signed form!”
It went on like that. Finally, with the deadline approaching, I decided that the easiest route was to just take Boo in for the test. She did great (and passed) and the pain level rated about a 2.1 on the everyday-kid-pain scale, where 1 is “Gimme a gummy bear!” and 10 is two skinned knees. Big deal, right?
But reflecting later, I thought
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?
I couldn’t be bothered to complete my battle with the Paperwork Lady and so instead I let someone jab my kid in the arm? Isn’t protecting my daughter from as many of life’s stupid and painful bits pretty much my whole reason for being?
Deep breath. As parenting failures go, I guess this one was pretty minor. But it really bothers me how quickly I fell into the trap of “That can’t be done” and how I let my daughter suffer (if only a little) for it.