The weather delay

Some of the best and most unexpected moments I’ve had in medicine have involved children.

Sitting on her mother’s lap while I elicited the story of her illness, this particular three year old had seemed relaxed, social and quite articulate. Taking a cue from how attached she seemed to be to Mom and her obvious unusual maturity for age, I tried to be clever when it came time for the exam. “Do you want your Mom to help you up onto the table so I can check your ears and lungs, or are you big and strong enough to do it yourself.”

She paused, looked over at the exam table, then looked back at me.

“I think I’ll take a rain check,” she said.

Mom was embarrassed and explained that this was the shorthand she and her husband used to gently decline a suggestion: “Want to have dinner at your sister’s tonight?” “I think I’ll take a rain check.” 

I examined her on Mom’s lap. 


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