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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.