When my son was about three years old, I suspected that he had strep throat. I made a doctor’s appointment to confirm that diagnosis so that I could get him some antibiotics.
On the drive to the doctor’s, I told my older kids about the procedure they follow to grow a throat culture. A depressor would be used to hold down my son’s tongue while his throat was wiped with a cotton swab. That sample would be placed in a culture medium that consists of peptides, salt, sheep’s blood, and agar, all of which facilitate strep growth within two days.
When we brought our son into the doctor’s examination room, I expected no problem because he had been subjected to tongue depressors before. But he began to cry uncontrollably. As the doctor approached him, he became absolutely hysterical and clung to me like it was the end times!
Then he wailed, “Mommy, Mommy, don’t let him do it! Don’t let him turn me into a sheep!” He had heard me talking in the car about the “sheep’s blood,” and wanted no part of a procedure that would convert him from human to animal. It’s tough to be comforting to your child when you’re laughing out loud, but I managed to pull it off, and got him through the swabbing.