I’ll never forget the first time I met Dr. Fuzz.
Punky had a fever of 103 and I was frantic. When I called my pediatrician’s office, I eagerly took the first available appointment.
“It’s with Dr. Fuzz,” the receptionist said meaningfully. “Is that okay?”
“Yes, of course,” I answered. “We’ll be there.”
I was actually excited about snagging an appointment with Dr. Fuzz. He had been part of the practice since the 1970s, and his bio included a long list of awards and association memberships. If anyone could make Punky well, I figured it would be him.
And so when he walked into the examining room, I smiled at him with hopeful confidence.
“Hi Dr. Fuzz,” I said. “I’m Lindsay Ferrier and this is my daughter, Punky.”
“Mfffgh little mrrgh glbbblflugh,” Dr. Fuzz whispered. “Drfffgle slggh srghugh flugh?”
I paused. “Excuse me?” I said.
Dr. Fuzz moved over to Punky and began feeling the lymph nodes in her neck. “Mflgggh can see glbblgh flughelegh,” he said softly. He looked at the nurse. “Flgghleghl drfflglugh mfflfghl lug.”
And so went the entire appointment. I am not kidding when I say that I could not understand a single word the guy said.
“Mflgugh,” Dr. Fuzz said finally, before standing up and, along with the nurse, leaving the room. I sat there, stunned. What had just happened? Was I supposed to wait for something? Or was I supposed to leave? I got Punky dressed and then sat for a minute or two, trying to figure out what to do next. I was just about to cry a little when the nurse came back in the room.
“Here’s the prescription,” she said, handing me a sheet of paper. “Punky’s ear infection should start clearing up in the next day or two.”
“Thank you,” I said brokenly, staring down at the prescription. As we left, I decided it would be a cold day in hell before I took an appointment with Dr. Fuzz again.
Of course, that was years ago. My pediatrician’s group has a whole bunch of doctors, so while I have played pedi-roulette many, many times over the last few years, I never landed on Dr. Fuzz’s name again.
Until last week, when my son got sick.
“Your Dr. Perky is on maternity leave,” the receptionist told me when I called to make an appointment for Bruiser. “But Dr. Fuzz has an opening at 2:30.”
I winced. “Okay,” I said slowly. Seriously, I reasoned to myself, how bad could he really be? I was a new mother the first time I visited Dr. Fuzz, and I wasn’t expecting my child’s doctor to be a mumbler. Surely I had totally embellished what had happened in my mind over time. Besides, for all I knew, Dr. Fuzz had had laryngitis or something during our first visit. Resolved, I took Bruiser in for his sick visit.
Dr. Fuzz entered the room and shook my hand. “Hello, Dr. Fuzz,” I said, scooting forward. I was going to be sure I heard every word of what he had to say this time around.
“Mfghhhizlle fhslfgragh fuffugh,” Dr. Fuzz said seriously. Then he waited.
“Um...” I faltered. “Yes.”
Dr. Fuzz looked at me strangely, then shook his head and sighed. “Flregh migugh gidagh igog,” he said, gesturing to my son. He reached for his stethoscope. Going solely on guesswork, I positioned Bruiser so that Dr. Fuzz could listen to his chest.
“Glughglugh,” Dr. Fuzz said with surprise. He looked over at the nurse. “Malfugh bruggle.” My eyes widened. What could it mean?
“My mom thinks he has an ear infection,” I volunteered as the doctor prepared to check Bruiser’s ears. He nodded shortly at me and then looked inside each one.
“Shlugh shlugh clear-m-guggle,” he muttered.
“They’re clear?” I asked. “No ear infection?”
“Shlugh shlugh clear-m-guggle,” he repeated. Abruptly, he and his nurse stood and swept out of the room. No goodbye, no nothing. Just like last time.
I paused for a fraction of a second. Then I stood up, put Bruiser in his stroller, and we left.
As of today, the boy is fine.