Captain Rex wants the Force

Yesterday I took my younger son to his four-year physical. This is a big one where they check his hearing and vision and the doctor chats him up and finds out all sorts of interesting information. This year’s physical is a turning point where the information comes from the child and not from the parent. It’s a wise move by the medical industry. Kids are very honest at this stage and offer up all sorts of interesting tid-bits. For example when asked if he watched a lot of TV or a little my guy responded enthusiastically – LOTS!!!! Uh-oh, strike one for me. Then the doctor moved on to food. “What types of food do you like to eat?” she asks looking up from her notes about excessive TV viewing. “Candy!” he replies. Well of course he is going to say candy, she asked what kind of food he “likes” to eat, not what kind of food Mommy “serves”. I was redeemed when he said his favorite food was carrots. This was news to me, but I didn’t object. The conversation went on to bike safety, car safety and sun screen and ended with talking about his best friends, always a bright spot. He demonstrated his physical abilities by jumping, hopping on one foot and touching his toes. He was quite proud of himself.

All of this was normal except for the fact that my son arrived at this physical dressed up as Captain Rex from Star Wars complete with a mask. I made him leave the gun in the car. By the reception from the office staff, I gathered that most of their patients don’t dress up for their appointments. Captain Rex chatted with the nurse about his love of Star Wars as she did his preliminary exam. They had quite a conversation going. She informed him that the doctor would come next and then she would come back to give him his shots. Shots!?!  “Don’t worry,” she told him, “these shots are to protect you, to give you the force against germs.” I could see Captain Rex working out in his mind how he was about to get the force in just a few minutes.

Soon enough, the nurse came back with her tray of shots as well as a Star Wars book for her patient. He was thrilled and brave. He took the first shot head-on but soon dissolved into tears when the pain kicked in. He took the next two sobbing away. We all hate this part of the exam. He cried as I helped him get dressed and then suddenly stopped. I paused too and watched him reach out his hand in that C-shaped fashion and try to use the force to lift his book from the counter. I was using my force too, willing a miracle. Of course it didn’t work and the tears resumed. My heart broke for him.

We left protected from germs but without the force. I looked at my son’s tear-stained face and offered up my best remedy: a chocolate shake from McDonald’s followed by some carrots and lots of TV.