A Sparkly Mermaid Princess Did Not Remove My Gall Bladder

One sticker is a Pigtail Pals sticker, the other we got at the doctor's office. Which is which?

Remember in 8th grade Life Science and you had to learn all the organs and muscles and bones in the body and then diagram it out in neat little handwriting? Well, I didn’t, which is why I was taken by surprise when I learned what my gall bladder was after Googling “chest pain from hell” a few weeks back. Long, painful story short, my gall bladder had stopped working and it needed to come out.

Today I had my post-op appointment. Amelia really enjoyed meeting the surgeon at my previous appointment, so I brought her along. Yesterday afternoon Amelia drew her little brother as a fat alien, complete with lungs, liver, gall bladder, and yellow blood. All the organs were in the right places. Next she drew the solar system. She’s five. I was proud.

So we’re waiting for the doctor to come in and Amelia was chatting with the nurse, informing her on the difference between toothed and baleen whales. When the doctor comes in, Amelia thanks her for being gentle with my tummy and doing a fine job taking out my “barnacle”. Then a photo on the wall catches Amelia’s eye…of a guy in Uganda whose arm was in two pieces on an operating table. She stands up on a chair to get a better look, and then starts questioning the surgeon if that is her in the picture and how did she get there was what was she doing. The doctor looked at me with raised eyebrows, in a “Should I explain this to her?” look. I nodded and said, “G-rated, heavy on the science.”

Next up was getting my surgical strips off while the doctor checked my incisions. Amelia asked her questions the entire time, and the doctor was loving it, saying that we have a budding general surgeon on our hands. Amelia asked if she could come to work and help cut up people and see their blood. My doctor said she could come to the hospital someday to watch her work, but she wouldn’t be allowed to cut people up. Fair enough.

The doctor complimented Amelia on all of her questions, said she was glad she liked science, and asked if she wanted a sticker. Amelia said yes, I stifled a snort.

The nurse came in with stickers for Amelia. I knew what was coming. While the doctor scolded me for not taking it easy and forbidding me to exercise for yet another week, I watched Amelia’s face fall when the nurse handed her the stickers.

Three. Disney. Princesses.

Now, I know the nurse was being nice. But my kid just spent nearly 20 minutes talking about medicine and science to a surgeon.

And she gets handed Ariel. Whose waist is medically impossibly smaller than her head and who somehow can blow bubbles into the shape of a tiara that hovers above her shiny underwater gold castle.

“Ugh,” says Amelia, “Here. Pigtail Pals.” And then she fist bumps me and shoves the stickers in my purse.

The doctor looked at me, not understanding.

I tried to explain, “She doesn’t really care for the Disney Princesses and she’s just telling me she wants to trade these in for stickers I have at home and…”

“I don’t like Princesses because they don’t do anything and if you are a doctor then you should have stickers about science,” says my girl.

And she is absolutely right.

“You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marie Wilson, The White House Project