My Dark Secret

\"sad_doctor_shutterstock_4i-65x140\" I have a difficult confession to make.

I have kept this hidden for quite a long time, but I think it is time for me to come clean with it, since it has been heavily on my mind for so long.  I have hidden it from my family, from my patients, even from my mother.  Nobody knows my dark secret.  Now is the time to come clean and move on with my life.

So here it is.

I am the doctor who told the monkeys not to jump on the bed.

\"2005sockmonkey92_400\" Now, I have to explain myself.  I did not know the lifelong repercussions of this decision.  Every day of my life, I have heard that rhyme again and again:

Two little monkeys, Jumping on the bed
One fell down and hit his head
Mama called the doctor, and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

I now awaken from sleep with it ringing in my ears.  Children on my street taunt me with it, as if they somehow knew my dark secret.  Everywhere I go, it haunts me.

Why did I do it?  The question follows me like an evil shadow.  Certainly there were circumstances surrounding this ill-fated decision that I will forever wear like an anvil around my neck.  Let me explain, and hopefully you will somehow sometime find it in your heart to forgive my rash decision.

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  • The call came at two in the morning.  Why Mama lets her kids stay up that late is beyond me.  I could barely hear her above the screaming sounds coming from the phone.  It was really hard to think clearly with that screaming.
  • I was really in a daze when she called and was worried that she would try to explain the whole situation to me.  On previous calls, she had gone into great details about how many Monkeys had jumped on the bed.  She told me about the mattress type and the fact that the box-spring was getting ruined.  I just needed sleep, so I said it to get her off of my back.
  • \"sock_monkey_weave-764669\" I kept getting called for each monkey that was jumping and fell off!  I don\’t even know how the lady got my phone number – perhaps my call-block wasn\’t turned on, but she has ten children!  Does she need to call me for advice on each one of them?  I was nearly crying on the tenth call of the night.
  • She is in the HMO plan and had come into the office multiple times with minimal copay.  I make much more when these patients stay out of the office (since they are capitated).  If I kept letting this lady have her kids come in with soft-tissue injuries, I would go broke.  Other paying customers need to have access to their doctor.  I generally handle these things in the office, but I just couldn\’t let her use up precious appointment spaces.
  • Truthfully, I was worried about a lawsuit.  I didn\’t want the child to be hurt seriously and have the predictable call from the 1-800-SUE-DOCS lawyer asking me why I allowed the children to participate in such dangerous activities.
  • We had prescribed Ritalin for the children, but the mother never followed through by giving the medicine.  These kids were out of control, and I really felt that it would have improved the discipline situation at home.  The teachers had complained as well that the children were out of control (having a T score of over 60 on all categories of the modified Conner\’s ADHD score).  Ten kids with ADHD!  Why would she refuse to give them medicine?  Perhaps she was the one who needed medicating.
  • \"OLYMPUS This mother was also concerned about autism.  She had horrible guild that she had let her children get immunizations containing thimerosal, and interpreted every behavior as a sign of autism.  I tried to reassure her that they had not signs of autism at all.  Their behavior was more due to lack of boundaries at home and genetic predisposition to bed-jumping.
  • A study out of Harvard Medical School (I pause to bow in homage) linked bed-jumping to childhood obesity.  These studies showed that children who jumped on the bed twice a week or more were six times more likely to have a BMI over 20 at age 12.  I certainly had this study in mind when I gave what I thought at that moment was good advice.
  • Besides, I am a pediatrician, for Pete\’s sake, not a veterinarian.  These kids are monkeys!  They should not be brought to the pediatrician!  But somehow Mama got the kids on the Medicaid HMO plan and my name was on their card.  I have no idea how, since I am not trained at all in the primate anatomy and physiology. 

So there you have it.  Despite my legitimate reasons for giving the answer I gave, I shall now go down in lore as that cursed doctor who told the monkeys to not jump on the bed.  I ask you to understand.  Please understand the stress I now have to live with.  Please think about me whenever you hear that wretched rhyme.

I hope you can forgive me.

25 thoughts on “My Dark Secret”

  1. So, Rob, what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
    Tell the mom that if she cannot control the monkeys, she should control the environment–that is, no beds. Only gym mats. Or maybe, a rubber room, floor to ceiling.

    Ask the mom to enlist the help of the injured monkeys in stopping the still-intact siblings from their reckless behavior. Maybe the still-whole monkeys might even be permanently scared away from their jumping, as they listen to the sobs and shreiks of the casualties.

    Make the uninjured ones tend to the injured monkeys.
    Keep them busy, bandaging and mopping up blood and gore. They won’t have the time to bed-jump.

    Have mom call out the National Guard. Instead of calling YOU.

    Have mom call the absent father in the middle of the night. Ten times. Have her take the raggedy monkeys over to his place in the middle of the night.

    If you have caller I.D., do not answer any more calls after the second. Warn the mom that you do not regard these as emergencies, and that you will see the injured monkeys in your office (she should use the back door of your office so as not to freak out the other patients) for 10 min. at 10 a.m.–one minute per monkey. And that is ALL. All you are doing is checking on the dressings, counting fingers and toes, ice for swelling as they walk out the door. Broken limbs go directly to the orthopedic guy down the hall.

    Console this mom–once all the monkeys are bandaged and casted, they will no longer be jumping on anything. She will get some sleep.

    Have her proactively get rid of couches and chairs when she gets home.

    This is nothing to feel guilty about. It is common sense to suggest that jumping be limited. Just look at the logical natural consequences, and they will vindicate your position. Ditch the guilt. Monkeys will be monkeys. There is only so much you can do. The nursery rhyme is very popular, and who knows?, it may have stopped other rambunctious children from injury over the years.

    You are forgiven even if you are NOT guilty of anything. This is part of the logic of raising kids. You do the right thing–but it may make you feel guilty.

    By the way, are you Catholic or Jewish? Those cultures know something about guilt, it is said. You could consult the Torah or the Catechism and see what advice you’d get there.

    Chris and Vic

  2. So, Rob, what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
    Tell the mom that if she cannot control the monkeys, she should control the environment–that is, no beds. Only gym mats. Or maybe, a rubber room, floor to ceiling.

    Ask the mom to enlist the help of the injured monkeys in stopping the still-intact siblings from their reckless behavior. Maybe the still-whole monkeys might even be permanently scared away from their jumping, as they listen to the sobs and shreiks of the casualties.

    Make the uninjured ones tend to the injured monkeys.
    Keep them busy, bandaging and mopping up blood and gore. They won’t have the time to bed-jump.

    Have mom call out the National Guard. Instead of calling YOU.

    Have mom call the absent father in the middle of the night. Ten times. Have her take the raggedy monkeys over to his place in the middle of the night.

    If you have caller I.D., do not answer any more calls after the second. Warn the mom that you do not regard these as emergencies, and that you will see the injured monkeys in your office (she should use the back door of your office so as not to freak out the other patients) for 10 min. at 10 a.m.–one minute per monkey. And that is ALL. All you are doing is checking on the dressings, counting fingers and toes, ice for swelling as they walk out the door. Broken limbs go directly to the orthopedic guy down the hall.

    Console this mom–once all the monkeys are bandaged and casted, they will no longer be jumping on anything. She will get some sleep.

    Have her proactively get rid of couches and chairs when she gets home.

    This is nothing to feel guilty about. It is common sense to suggest that jumping be limited. Just look at the logical natural consequences, and they will vindicate your position. Ditch the guilt. Monkeys will be monkeys. There is only so much you can do. The nursery rhyme is very popular, and who knows?, it may have stopped other rambunctious children from injury over the years.

    You are forgiven even if you are NOT guilty of anything. This is part of the logic of raising kids. You do the right thing–but it may make you feel guilty.

    By the way, are you Catholic or Jewish? Those cultures know something about guilt, it is said. You could consult the Torah or the Catechism and see what advice you’d get there.

    Chris and Vic

  3. Funny post, but now I’ll have this in my head all day.
    Two little monkeys, Jumping on the bed
    One fell down and hit his head
    Mama called the doctor, and the doctor said,
    “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”

  4. Funny post, but now I’ll have this in my head all day.
    Two little monkeys, Jumping on the bed
    One fell down and hit his head
    Mama called the doctor, and the doctor said,
    “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”

  5. Although it may not have the repurcussions of your decision, I have always felt a great deal of guilt being the 1 out of 5 dentists that didn’t recommend sugarless gum.

  6. Although it may not have the repurcussions of your decision, I have always felt a great deal of guilt being the 1 out of 5 dentists that didn’t recommend sugarless gum.

  7. Chris and Vic: Good advice. Still I am a little stung by it all and will need to deal with it through years of intense psychotherapy. Your suggestions are all good in retrospect, but difficult to theorize as the water is under the bridge.
    Clint: I feel your pain. I am actually the doctor who lets Preparation H say it is “doctor recommended.”

    Oh yes, and apples seem to keep me away.

  8. Chris and Vic: Good advice. Still I am a little stung by it all and will need to deal with it through years of intense psychotherapy. Your suggestions are all good in retrospect, but difficult to theorize as the water is under the bridge.
    Clint: I feel your pain. I am actually the doctor who lets Preparation H say it is “doctor recommended.”

    Oh yes, and apples seem to keep me away.

  9. We’ve gone to a much darker and more violent nursery rhyme at my preschool.Five little monkeys swinging in a tree,
    Teasing Mr. Alligator, “You can’t catch me, You can’t catch me”.
    Along comes Mr. Alligator quiet as can be and snatches that
    monkey right out of that tree.

    I am that preschool teacher that schools your children in the finer arts of animal on animal violence, general mayhem and destruction. Little Bunny Foo Foo, Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Ten in a Bed, London Bridges, Ring around the Rosies, Duck Duck Goose.

    However, I am a hussy, as I feel no shame.

  10. We’ve gone to a much darker and more violent nursery rhyme at my preschool.Five little monkeys swinging in a tree,
    Teasing Mr. Alligator, “You can’t catch me, You can’t catch me”.
    Along comes Mr. Alligator quiet as can be and snatches that
    monkey right out of that tree.

    I am that preschool teacher that schools your children in the finer arts of animal on animal violence, general mayhem and destruction. Little Bunny Foo Foo, Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Ten in a Bed, London Bridges, Ring around the Rosies, Duck Duck Goose.

    However, I am a hussy, as I feel no shame.

  11. It is all your fault — everything, Rob. The jumping monkeys are producing methane (why do you think they are jumping? To dislodge those gas bubbles!–> global warming. The National Guard was called out to control the monkeys, and so couldn’t be deployed to find bin Laden. The downstairs neighbors were distressed by all the noise, and bought a house with the sub-prime mortgage that broke the camel’s sleazy banker’s back.

  12. It is all your fault — everything, Rob. The jumping monkeys are producing methane (why do you think they are jumping? To dislodge those gas bubbles!–> global warming. The National Guard was called out to control the monkeys, and so couldn’t be deployed to find bin Laden. The downstairs neighbors were distressed by all the noise, and bought a house with the sub-prime mortgage that broke the camel’s sleazy banker’s back.

  13. I’ll have you know that stupid song was going through my head at 11:30pm last night!! I was silently saying, “Rob!” I laughed so when I read this post. It is so good to see you writing again.

  14. I’ll have you know that stupid song was going through my head at 11:30pm last night!! I was silently saying, “Rob!” I laughed so when I read this post. It is so good to see you writing again.

  15. roflmao…
    I’m thinking good thing wasn’t llamas…….

    I wonder if donut holes would have been an appropriate adjunct to the prescribed therapy. Maybe some accordion music…..

    Sorry.. can’t help myself.. just happy you are back 😀

    *crap – one of these days I’ll remember my “blogsite addy” without having to go back to copy and paste*

    If they are sock monkeys… that have been softened with “Bounce”, do they jump higher than other monkeys (sock or otherwise)?

  16. roflmao…
    I’m thinking good thing wasn’t llamas…….

    I wonder if donut holes would have been an appropriate adjunct to the prescribed therapy. Maybe some accordion music…..

    Sorry.. can’t help myself.. just happy you are back 😀

    *crap – one of these days I’ll remember my “blogsite addy” without having to go back to copy and paste*

    If they are sock monkeys… that have been softened with “Bounce”, do they jump higher than other monkeys (sock or otherwise)?

  17. Hmmm… if apples keep you away, do you back up hissing and covering your eyes (a la vampire+crosses?) when you see a fruit basket. Because that would rule.

  18. Hmmm… if apples keep you away, do you back up hissing and covering your eyes (a la vampire+crosses?) when you see a fruit basket. Because that would rule.

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