January 16, 2014
"You don't have to go to the doctor today, mommy!" Tosh tugged at his mom's shirt. "Doctor's are bad!"
Esme crouched and tapped her son's muzzle lightly. "Just because the last one gave you a shot, doesn't mean they are bad. Besides, I'm just going in to give blood. There probably won't even BE a doctor there." She rubbed his tiny horns. "You don't have to come if you'd like to stay with Muriel's parents instead."
"Nuh uh." Tosh followed her out the door after she fetched her purse. "Wanna stay with you!"
"Alright then. Behave."
It was a short drive to the blood drive. Tosh clung to Esme's leg once he saw all the nurses around. Their white uniforms made him think of the doctor that had given him his last immunization shot. That one had really hurt. Watching his mom roll up her sleeve and receive the needle had him wide eyed and staring.
"Does it hurt?"
"A little, but it's important that we give blood in case other people need it." Tosh didn't seem to believe her, but he didn't seem too scared, so that was good enough. "See? Needles aren't bad."
As giving blood takes a while, he colored with crayons in a picture coloring book. The talk of needles was forgotten while he stayed as quiet as a four year old can be. By the time Esme was nearly finished giving, Tosh was quite bored with the coloring book.
A swollen red bag caught his attention when he was looking around. A dark red bag seemed much more interesting than crayons and paper and soon the four year old was playfully poking it with a finger, giggling at the funny texture, until the nurse noticed him. She tapped him on the shoulder and he spun around to stare open mouthed at her. Esme had to run a hand down his back to get him to relax. She wasn't a doctor, he was safe.
"And what's your name? Please don't poke the bags, they are fragile and you might hurt your mother by interrupting the blood flow." The woman, a porcupine, was skinny, short, and reasonably nice sounding, didn't really like the terror she saw on the boy's face. "Is everything ok?"
"This is Tosh. He's a bit scared of doctors after getting a shot last week."
"Oh... yeah, the little ones can get that way sometimes. How about if we let you be a doctor? Would you like that?"
Tosh looked from the nurse to his mom. He didn't know what to think, until she draped a big white lab coat over his shoulders. The little kid slipped his arms through the sleeves and giggled when the ends hung down with nearly a foot of empty extra length on each arm. It reached to his knees while he stood admiring it.
"Now, what else, oh, I know. You can't be a doctor without one of these." The nurse picked a stethoscope from a box, the same one she'd gotten the lap coat out of, and set it around his neck. "My, you look like a doctor, Tosh!" A minute later, with the the needle slipped free from Esme's arm, the pocupine turned back to Tosh. "Maybe you'd like to listen to your mother's heartbeat."
She told him to stick the ends into his ears and gave directions for how to use it while he climb up onto the bed Esme lay on. The boy's mom kept her arm bent to help clot the needle hole faster while Tosh got comfortable on his knees. Both women couldn't help smiling at how he looked in the much too big coat. He got tangled up in it constantly around his legs but didn't seem to mind pulling it free each time.
"That's right. Press the cup onto her chest, a bit higher."
Tosh looked at the nurse. "Who is the doctor here?"
Stifling a laugh, the porcupine nodded. "You are, doctor."
Esme held still for him when he told her to take deep breath. He was impersonating the doctor who had checked him up quite well. She was impressed that he'd remember the deep breath to hear her lungs while she did it. That he was holding the stethoscope up a little too high over her collar bone didn't seem to bother him, he had no idea what he was listening for anyway. He didn't hold it steady either.
Tosh moved the cup around over his mom's chest while he tried to find the best sound. There was a bit of bulge if he tried to go too low, which made him keep to the higher areas. He hummed a bit while positioning it then let out a wow when he finally got to a loud spot just above her left breast toward the center of her chest.
The end of his long coat sleeve dangled down while he held the stethoscope in place. There were plenty of amused watchers from other donors. Watching the four year old playing doctor more enjoyable than reading the old magazines that otherwise awaited them to most and Tosh had a very cute expression on his face as he listened to his mom's heartbeat.
He looked up, he looked around. His tongue hung out of his mouth and slid all the way around his muzzle, a little at a time. He frowned as though he heard something bad, then slid the stethoscope around again as though trying to get a better spot.
The little boy finally took let the chest piece go and crossed his arms. "You need an S O T uh... M er... H Mommy!"
"And what's that, Doctor?"
"Um..." He thought back to his own S.H.O.Ts and what followed them. After the sting he always got something good. Tosh had no idea what the stinging was but that wasn't the part he thought of most. "Ice cream?"
"Well, I had my S.O.T.M.H. So I'm entitled to that ice cream." She made a face at a nearby donor as the woman let out a laugh at the spelling, then looked back to Tosh. "I had it while I gave blood. Doctors don't get the same thing patients do." There were more laughs as he struggled out of the oversized doctor's coat as fast as he could. "Hmm... better, but if you want ice cream, you'll have to give some blood, too." Esme took the labeled bag of her blood from the nurse and handed it to him. "Here, take it over to the cart there and put it with the others. Be careful and don't play around with it."
He looked confused for several seconds. That hadn't been how she had given blood, but with the prospect of ice cream, he ran over, narrowly avoided tripping on his own left hoof, and tucked it in with the other bags. There were a few congratulatory claps from some of the more generous mother donors as he came back and Esme let him hug against her to hide the flushed cheeks.
"There, now you're a blood donor too, and can have some ice cream with me."
"Ok." He really couldn't think of much else to say.
The nurse from before crouched in front of him to take the stethoscope from around his neck where he'd left it. "Are you still scared of doctors?"
"Umm... I dunno."
"That's probably a yes, but thank you so much for trying. I think he had fun doing it."
"And thank you for donating blood today! I hope we see you again in three months." The porcupine handed Tosh the picture he'd colored. "And I hope you decide to donate when you're 17... Doctor Tosh."