The Potrero Hill free clinic was probably never happy to see my family because I had a reputation. Getting shots meant I would have to be dug out from under a table. There was screaming. There was crying. There was that unfortunate incident with the fire alarm and to this day my mom still doesn’t believe that I pulled it because I could read the word PULL on the knob. I have very vague memories of these incidents and this place, but I know it wasn’t fun for anyone.
When I was very young I was hospitalized twice, the first time for having an extremely high fever caused by croup and the second so they could take my adenoids out. My sister had preceded me in this prestigious procedure as we were both afflicted with frequent ear infections. I have very vague memories of warm medicine being applied to my ear canal by droplet, just as I have a very vague memory of chewing on a popsicle stick and swallowing the splinters. When the doctors decided the best way to stop the ear infections (no cure for rampant stupidity) was surgery I was whisked away, clutching a grotesque and homemade tweety-bird, to the dimly lit hospital rooms of my oldest memories. There was a shot in the arse, an experience I shared with the stuffed animal by squeezing it to death. There was the gas mask, a sweet smell, the hissing, either the doctor telling me to pretend or me simply pretending I was a jet pilot. There was waking up, calling for my mom, someone shoving a kidney shaped pan in front of me and puking blood to the brim twice. There was also one of the tubes falling out of my head at the drug store, but that was much later.
The point is, I was a tremendously fearful and excitable child, quite unlike now. However, I was never restrained or held down, and when I was faced with a team of surgeons and a mask I happily inhaled my way to oblivion. Other children, it would seem, have more conviction when it comes to fending off unwanted medical attention. The modern cure? Pedisedate.
The name is ridiculous, of course, and I was already creeped out when I saw the picture of a doctor leering over his bifocals at a little girl playing video games. This video which is on their website, is accessed through a directory page and I swear to god that when the warning about graphic content popped up I seriously though I was about to witness child porn. Not that the quality of the video is anything to be proud of, or anything that someone looking to invest in new medical technology could take seriously. The fact that you contact them through an AOL e-mail isn’t helping matters, but they’re merrily plugging away through clinical trials and winning praise from all corners of the media. I guess it’s not much different than dentists who have TVs for their patients, but does it just feel like we’re all being pampered and coddled a little too much for our own good?