There was, however, one thing Alexandra loved about going to Children's - the gift shop. It was quite small, but was filled with things that delight a small child - fancy pencils and erasers, notebooks, stickers and cheap jewelry.
After one particularly harrowing event in nuclear medicine I came up with a brilliant idea, one that was to see us through many a rough spot over the coming years. In a word, it was bribery, although I prefer the term I used in the title of this post. Purchased courage.
I made a deal with her that roughly went like this. If she had to have a poke for a blood draw she would get $1. An IV would net $2, a procedure (endoscopy, kidney biopsy, etc.) was worth $5, and surgery earned a whopping $10. The money was cumulative, so if she had surgery she was into the big bucks because she usually had to have blood work ahead of time, plus there was the IV when she was put under, along with the surgery itself.
But there was a catch. When she had these things done she could not scream, throw herself around or kick the unfortunate people who happened to be standing nearby (this last one was for my own protection). She could say "ouch" loudly and wiggle her toes and still get paid. Anything more than that and she wouldn't get a penny. Let me tell you, this worked like magic. Never once did we have an issue after this plan was implemented. She would march off to the gift shop and spend time looking at the goodies, figuring out what she could afford with her hard-earned money. She was so focused on the money that she would be calculating ahead of her visits exactly how much she would be earning!
Now that Alexandra is an adult things have changed. As we were walking into the hospital a couple of weeks ago ahead of her surgery I turned to her and jokingly asked if she wanted me to pay her. She laughed and said no, that was okay. Of course, she was right. She is way too old to think she has hit the jackpot if she gets $10, and it has been many years since a $2 ring with an adjustable band, one that would turn her finger green within a couple of days, held any appeal.