It's My Body and I'll Do What I Want To.
0 comment Wednesday, July 16, 2014 |
Once upon a time, I suspected Mr. M had a hernia. I Nancy-Drewed his symptoms on the internet and "inguinal hernia" came screaming back. But I was not going to let a testicle die on my watch. So I made an appointment with the pediatrician post haste and Mr. M and I roared down Central Expressway at 80 m.p.h. Though I was dreading this encounter, since it would involve a groin examination -- and Mr. M had just moved into a ridiculously modest phase -- the hernia exam proved to be anticlimactic. It lasted long enough for the doctor to confirm that Mr. M was indeed . . . male . . . and throw us out of his office.
It quickly became apparent that Mr. M's modesty knew no bounds; he was completely beyond reason. He refused to take off his pants, much less be poked or probed. Finally the female resident was banished from the room and the doctor got a 30-second peek. Meanwhile, M had turned into a flailing, screaming insane person and people in the lobby were beginning to suspect torture. The doc wanted us out of there, out of there fast. "Oh yeah, Mom. Looks like a hernia, alright. He'll need surgery with general anesthesia, 3-4 days of recovery, no big deal," he declared, scrawled down the names of a few pediatric surgeons he recommended, and then vanished.
Whoa. Hold on a minute. What looks like a hernia, doc? You barely glimpsed a penis. I was so mad at Mr, M when we got back in the car, absolutely livid. "That was ridiculous!" I bellowed. DO YOU WANT TO GET TOTALLY UNNECESSARY SURGERY OR . . . OR END UP WITH A PENIS THAT DOESN'T WORK WHEN YOU'RE A GROWN UP???"
After a few deep breaths, before I scarred him and subsidized a therapist for life, I calmed down. In a low, authoritative voice I said, "Listen, M, we are going to go to a pediatric hernia surgeon and you WILL allow him to thoroughly examine you." What would happen if he refused, he wanted to know. "Umm, well, . . . well," I floundered around for a while, until it came to me. I leaned in and whispered, for dramatic effect, "well, . . . you might not even be able to tinkle." But clearly unmoved by this, the prospect of a penis out-of-order, he crossed his arms and smugly declared, "It's my body, Mom, not yours." Except now I'm driving an SUV on an eight-lane freeway at a furious speed and he is so sure he's won this round.
There's no need to detail the hapless surgeon's experience with us. Suffice it to say, Mr. M performed hernia surgery on a stuffed monkey (Minnerva the Medical Dummy, we named her) and two intestinal transplants on me, with time to spare, in the forty-five minutes it took for the doctor to finally find us in our tiny windowless room. The nurses kept shutting the door and I kept opening it. When the doc finally came in and tried to examine him, M began laughing maniacally. This continued throughout the entire exam. "It tickles!" he screamed between freakish spasms of laughter, once again a flailing, writhing weirdo. To say I was mortified just doesn't capture it. After Herculean efforts, which included the promise of two dum-dums and one sticker in the after-life, the doctor was able to determine that M had absolutely NO hernia. None whatsoever. I am 0 for 1.
This "it's my body and I'll do what I want to" attitude has become far too prevalent, with flare ups whenever baths or green beans are raised; both, Mr. M believes, merit considered debate. He is too full to eat any green beans, he'll say, or his stomach "only has room for a Godiva." Or he'll flatly refuse to take his bath: "Sorry. It's my body, not yours." Oh yeah? Wanna' bet? "Okay," I'll concede. "No bath? No problem. It's your body and it's my Godiva chocolate." Score: 1-1
One night, when denied both television and chocolate, he kept repeating, in a very loud voice, "FOR YOUR INFORMATION I AM REALLY REALLY HUNGRY!" But he quickly abandoned this effort; all it brought was my equally loud refrain: FOR YOUR INFORMATION THAT HAS BEEN DULY, DULY NOTED. I was in full grown-up mode, you see. "Duly noted?" he cried, stomping. "Duly noted?!? I don't even know what that means!" I shrugged, ate my chocolate. Score: 2-1
Umm, did I just admit to matching my wits and juris doctorate against a seven-year old boy and keeping score? Dear God.

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