FringeKid may become the first professional in my family to practice medicine with a license. I am thrilled with the idea of free medical care, because I know that one day I will find myself using Bengay more frequently than deodorant. Now she is not the first female in my family to be drawn to medicine. The matriarchs of the FringeFamily have passed down the ‘white lab coat’ chromosome for generations. Unfortunately a license is not immediately gifted upon birth; however, we have not allowed national regulations to stop us from diagnosing and treating common illnesses.
I wanted to be a doctor until I started losing my hair over math tests, so I got a degree in English. Although I use words more than a stethoscope, I can hear a wheeze from three blocks away. When my daughter was only two, I impressed the pediatrician with my ability to diagnose a breathing problem. She told me that I had detected what many doctors would miss.
One day FringeMan came home complaining of a possible heart-attack. I carefully examined him and diagnosed an asthma attack. He scoffed, but two weeks later (let’s hope it wasn’t his heart), the doctor confirmed my diagnosis and prescribed the same medicine that I use myself.
The primary difference between the doctoring of my ancestors and my own medical skills is that I merely diagnose. When I was a child, my family used treatments that would make a witch doctor proud.
If my throat hurt, my grandmother would open the freezer. Before I knew what was happening, a dead pig would wrap my pained throat in hopes of drawing out poison. I wonder if Dr. Oz uses salted pork to cure sore throats?
I spent at least half of my childhood with an elevated alcohol level. It’s shocking that I have not used Chardonnay in my kid’s sippy cup. Have you read Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay? Me either, but the title is catchy. At the first sign of cough, a Tupperware container would appear and you would get a spoonful of a sweet and warming home concoction. To this day, I am unsure of the ingredients, but I know it included honey and a shot of something that came from a bottle hidden on the top shelf of a dark cabinet. I subsequently slept through the first ten years of my childhood.
My kids have no idea what they have escaped.
Needless to say that while blood poured from a young man’s head and pooled on the floor of an examining room, I did not expect my daughter to say, “You know, I think I’d like to work in the Emergency Room.”
Those Trauma ER shows are some of my favorite to watch and while my son turns his head in horror, my daughter sits perched and waiting to see a live surgical procedure. I am so happy. If I can get her past second grade spelling, she may just make it through medical school.