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Cough Suppressing


Eli’s home sick today and I’m feeling pretty cruddy myself. I just got over a two-month bout of pneumonia and am more than a little bummed that I feel it reasserting itself. I have my post antibiotic doc appt. at 1:00 and since I’m still feeling bad, I figure I should go. So I pack sick little Eli into the car and drive across town to the doc’s office.

Eli, who’s been feeling tired but not horrible, immediately begins to melt down the moment we step into the office. I sign in and shuttle him over to a quiet bank of chairs. He dramatically drapes himself across three chairs and places his head on my lap. Then he proceeds to cough rhythmically to the beat of the muzak that’s playing overhead.

I start reading some magazine about losing three dress sizes in two weeks and quickly lose consciousness of the coughing. Suddenly this elderly woman from behind the desk marches over to Eli and gets right down to his face and puts two pieces of tissue into his little hand and says, “Why don’t you use this to cover your mouth the next time you have to cough.” She then turns on her heel and marches back to the safety zone of her desk which is behind one of those waste high check-in counters.

“Excuse me?” I say barely audibly. She doesn’t turn around. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was a DOCTOR’S OFFICE. You know, where sick people come. To get better. Maybe I’m mistaken.” I am now working myself into a state of pure ire. I mean, he’s four years old. Forgive me that he doesn’t always cover his mouth when he coughs. Personally, I’m just happy that he says “excuse me” when he “boom booms.”

Am I wrong here? Is this lady out of line? Being the wimp that I am, and because of my rigid upbringing to respect my elders, I do not confront the offending woman. But I’m seriously irritated. I mean, we’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and my son is sick. That hardly seems like such a bizarre occurrence that it would warrant a rude talking to by the office staff.

But you’ve all disagreed with me before. Please, tell me who is right.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

2 responses to “Cough Suppressing

  1. jojom28 ⋅

    You are so rude and self-absorbed. Yes, it is a doctor’s office. But it’s not okay to let your kid recklessly infect everyone in there. I’ve been sick for three months because of people like you.

  2. Barry Shalen ⋅

    Yes, Eli should be encouraged to use a tissue, but he’s 5 & he’s sick, so he won’t necessarily respond to what you want or teach. But your Dr should have a separate waiting area for sick kids, in which case jojom28 would have to scapegoat someone else for her being sick 3 months

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