Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is "Esoteric" Another Word for "Quirky"?

Yesterday the school nurse called me half an hour before school let out because Sam was complaining that his ear hurt. If you're keeping track, this is Painful Left Ear, Episode III (Revenge of the Inner Ear) for the month. By the time I got to the school, Sam was collapsed on a chair in the front office. He shuffled out of the school, tears falling down his face, lower lip trembling, shivering, and complaining of thirst.

I guess I should have believed him that morning when he said he was sick. The school nurse stepped up the stink eye element by asking me on the phone, "Didn't I call you about this yesterday?"

For the record, it was at least a week and a half ago. It was pretty much irrelevant whether he was sick today. There was no way I was sending him to school and risk another phone call from the nurse. It turns out, however, that it was a good thing I kept him home because when I took him to the doctor, she took one look at his left ear and said, "Oh yeah, that's infected."

She prescribed an antibiotic and told me to give him 9 mL once a day for ten days. Sam then immediately said, "If I took another 991 mL, then I would have taken a liter."

The doctor, who is one we've never seen before, laughed, told Sam he was right, and then cocked her head to the side. I believe I could actually see a gear kicking into motion in her head.

There was a longish pause as she clearly rewound through our entire conversation (which included Sam telling her that his ear had started hurting at 6:07 a.m. yesterday) and then she asked, "Does he have a lot of esoteric interests?"

I had a little internal laugh because I knew exactly what she was getting at. She might not know my family, but trust me, we are not in need of any more developmental evaluations, thankyouverymuch.

"Um, yeah," I said. "Our whole family is kind of quirky. His little brother has autism."

This was obviously where she was headed, because once she seemed assured that I was on top of the quirkiness—or esotericness*—of my family, she dropped the subject except to imply that my kids were a lot smarter than I am, which is true, but still, ouch.

I'm pleased that in a quick exam for a routine sick visit, this doctor cared enough to start a line of inquiry. It amused also that I am so used to my kids and their quirkiness

* Shut up. It is so a word. Also, I just drank a really strong margarita, so I'm not entirely sure that I've written any real words at all. Fibbertyjib.

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