"It could be it’s a cycle — she can’t work, so she gets anxious, so the pain gets worse?” My mother’s thinking aloud. I hate it when she psychoanalyzes me
fter another week of headaches, stomachaches, and vague, constant exhaustion, Ma insists on making a doctor’s appointment.
“Libby,” she tells me on the way, “It’s really important that you tell the doctor everything.”
I sigh. “I told him last time that I’m always tired.”
“But that’s not all, right?”
My weird aches and pains are so jumbled in my mind, I don’t know what to say. Right now, there’s just vague buzzing somewhere in my head. Maybe I’ve been imagining it all?
“Oh, and your appetite. You hardly ate yesterday.”
“I just felt nauseous from the cheese blintzes. I had a sandwich later, and pretzels.”
My mother purses her lips. “But the nausea... Tell the doctor, okay?”
I slouch against the seat. “You can.”
The pediatrician’s office hasn’t changed since last time, all pale-green paint and health warnings on every wall. The receptionist, Margie, is still chewing gum, and I almost wonder if it’s the same piece. Time stands still here.
“The doctor will see you shooooooooortly,” she says, giving me a patronizing smile. “Take a seat over there, that’s a good girl...”
She has my date of birth on her screen; can’t she see I’m 16? I don’t smile back.
“I hope we can get you to school for the last few periods,” Ma says anxiously. She’s worried about my many absences affecting my grades.
A door opposite us swings open. “Liba Jacobs,” Dr. Stevens calls. We step inside.
“What can I do for you today?”
I look at Ma, and she raises eyebrows back at me. I told her she should talk.
“I’ve just... my wrist’s been hurting,” I mumble. “And still feeling very tired... Sometimes I feel faint.”
“She’s been complaining of headaches and stomachaches for a few weeks already,” Ma interjects. Finally she’s talking. I feel kind of exposed — does he need all the details?
“Did you eat any spoiled food recently?” The doctor asks.
“Have you been getting enough sleep?”
“Is school particularly stressful right now?”
“Libby’s been finding schoolwork difficult because of wrist pain. It could be it’s a cycle — she can’t work, so she gets anxious, so the pain gets worse?” My mother’s thinking aloud. I hate it when she psychoanalyzes me.
The doctor looks noncommittal.
“How’s it with friends? Social life?”
How irrelevant can you get?
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 802)
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