‘Masturbation’, screeched the doctor. ‘She’s masturbating,” she repeated rolling every sound with nauseating relish. Clearly imparting this type of information was her way of getting off.
Now I love breaking a taboo as much as the next pseudo liberal North London twat- but in this instance my reaction didn’t disappoint. Sputtering I asked what exactly she was on about, and indeed was she talking about my daughter.
‘Well it’s one of the three possibilities,” she proclaimed provocatively. “Excessive daydreaming, MASTURBATION, or absentee seizures.”
Let me take you a step back.
My daughter has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. We were in hospital because, as part of the exploration of this diagnosis, it has become apparent that she has significant problems with concentration and focus. Her class teacher, the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and me, her mum, had noticed that she has daily periods of blanks. She seems to completely zone out of her surroundings and then, after maybe just seconds, blinks her way back into the present. Absentee seizures, also known as petit mal, offer one explanation.
This is a condition reasonably common in children that the SENCO was keen for us to rule out. The symptoms are quite difficult to pinpoint. Brief, sudden lapses of consciousness -they often seem like someone is just staring into space for a few seconds. The condition is not life threatening, is normally grown out of, and can be treated with anti-seizure drugs.
All this I was aware of. I was just not expecting the jerk-off theorem.
But keen to rise to the oppressively assertive, sexually liberated, guff-gauntlet being thrown my way, I gamely went forward.
“Achieving this state of bliss would, I presume, require some kind of jigging around?” I queried. “Given that we are talking about my daughter going into complete state of still, verging on unconsciousness I am not sure this applies.”
I could also point out that school SENCO and teachers are trained to spot this type of thing. Children do ‘self-soothe’. If it had been the issue I would have happily let her wank on about it. But given there was no suggestion that this was happening I was keen to discuss the other more likely issues behind these absences. Eventually she did and we were finally able to leave when she signed the necessary forms for us to come back for an EEG.
To be honest this doctor immediately got my back up. She was wearing “look at me I have a personality’ pink Doctor Martin boots and “I may be fifty but I refuse to be invisible” type clothing.
After a brief chat with my daughter she asked me to talk through the conditions that had brought us to her consulting room. Well what she actually said was “So Mummy tell me all about it.”
I know that it doesn’t really matter but there is something about a fully grown women calling me Mummy that really grates. I restrained myself from blowing her nose.
Instead I asked for my daughter to go outside and play with some toys while we had this talk. The doctor refused. “She is not going anywhere. She is seven-years old and it is entirely appropriate for her to be in the room.”
I disagreed and told her that all the information she needed was in the notes from the GP. We found ourselves in a stand-off.
I really felt that this doctor should respect my wishes. I know my child and I am best able to judge what it is appropriate for her to hear. I did not want to frighten her unnecessarily by using words like seizure. I also did not want to explain that family members, fellow parents and her teachers were also all observing her. All of this particularly because no actual diagnosis has been made.
Having asked my girl a few more questions, and realising that I was not going to speak in front of her, she did finally ask her to leave the room so that the adults could talk. It was at this point that she took great delight in screaming “masturbation” at me. It seemed a mean, gratuitous and sensationalist way of putting me back in my place.
With the session finishing our toss technician informed me in her best head girl voice that I was to “head straight back to school now.” I’m not sure where she thought we were heading. To score some penny sweets and have a Peppa Pig marathon. As my daughter confided to me in a quiet voice as we left: “That woman. She sure is crazy”
PS: She has had her EEG and we are waiting for the results. I am looking forward to telling her that she was such a day dreamer we had to have her brain professionally scanned.