Dr. Courageous

09/09/2008 By Shawn Burns

"You can just take this and hide it in your pocket."

That is what the pediatric urgent care doctor, whose last name is an ironic synonym for "courageous", told me as she slipped me a card with the name of an over-the-counter remedy for yeast infections written on it.

Erin had been complaining for a day or so about pain down in her *redacted to avoid pervy Google searches that will make me want to throw up*. She’d been making the sign for "ouch" and pointing down there when Emily would change her diaper. Emily suspected either a urinary tract infection or a yeast infection. I deferred to her judgment about it, since I have no idea what either would be like, and I brought Erin to the urgent care at her medical center.

Dr. Courageous, who, as these stories almost always ought to go, looked no older than 23, asked me somewhat embarrassedly what the symptoms were. I explained, and included a blunt description of "discharge". I’m all about putting my daughter’s doctors at ease.

Yes, doc, I’m a father and I can use words like "discharge" and "vag*na" (though not on the blog because of aforementioned pervy searches that I get enough of just by being a dad with a daughter). It’s ok. You can talk to me. I have permission. Here’s a note from my wife: "Dear doctor, my husband has permission to take care of our daughter today. Please feel free to discuss things with him as you would with me or with anyone else who isn’t a man. Thanks."

The doc performed the exam, and concluded somewhat uncertainly that Erin had neither a UTI nor a yeast infection, and I learned a new word:

Vaginitis. I can’t wait for these Google searches.

Vaginitis is a bacterial infection around and within the vaginal canal that can most often result from washing with soapy water in the years before puberty. Or so says the sheet of paper the doctor dug out from another room; I’ll take its word for it.

"So, definitely not a UTI or yeast infection?" I asked her.

"Probably not a UTI, but if she complains of abdomen pain in a couple of days or if her skin looks infected then we’ll check. And it’s probably not a yeast infection, but if it is…."

And that’s when she scribbled "Lotrimin" on a card and put me at my ease by telling me that I could hide the card in my pocket. You know, so none of my guy friends would see it and mock me for needing "Lotrimin".