First Impressions Aren’t Everything

by: KK Duke

Everyone had really thought it would be great to be able to hear the pitter-patter of little feet running through the farm house again. But after two weeks of constant crying all night, the three Duke children – Luke, Bo and Daisy were definitely having second guesses. KK never seemed to be able to calm down. All she would ever do was scream every time she was put down. It would take Uncle Jesse an hour or so to get her calm down and back to sleep only for her to wake up a few hours later and have to begin the cycle again.

Social Services called to see how the adjustment was going. Uncle Jesse wasn’t even too sure anymore if he could handle her. She didn’t speak yet, just grunted and groaned when she wanted something. Uncle Jesse was really wondering why he ever allowed Coy to do a little Duke schuckle and jive to have KK live here.

“Ma’am, as much as I love her, I don’t know what to do with her cryin’ all hours of the night?” Jesse Duke told the Social Worker.

“Well, it says on her record that she has had ear aches but her adenoids have been taken out.”

“Yes, I knew that. Do you have any suggestions on what it could be?”

“Is her throat red? Maybe it’s her tonsils?”

“No, ma’am. Her throat is fine. I think if it was her tonsils she wouldn’t be doing all this crying.”

“True. Um, now let me see…” The social worker paused as she ruffled some papers from KK’s file.

At this point, Uncle Jesse didn’t care what crazy idea she had, just something so that they could all get a good night’s sleep.

“Here’s probably the problem!”

“Hallelujah!” Uncle Jesse thought to himself.

“She probably is having some type of allergy attack. It states that it was suspected that she was allergic to many things, but we never received a report on what exactly.”

“So, how does one learn of what they’re allergic to?”
“She’ll probably need to see an allergy specialist to be tested.”

“Where is one?”

“I’m not familiar with Hazzard County, Georgia. I would recommend that you talk to her pediatrician in Hazzard. I’ll call back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s going.”

“Thank You, ma’am,” and Uncle Jesse hung up the phone.

Jesse could here Luke coming into the house. “Hi, Luke”

“Hi, Uncle Jesse”

“Hey there, little one,” he said to KK. “Were you able to talk to Social Services about our screaming problem?”

“Yes. Would you mind taking her to Doc Appleby’s?”

“No problem at all, but why?” Luke asked.

“The lady on the phone said that she has allergies. I’m guessin’ that she was tested prior but the results were never revealed. See what Doc can do for her.”

“Sure, no problem.” Turning his attention to KK, Luke asked, “Hey you! Wanna go for a ride?”

Still unable to talk, a big smile appeared across KK’s lips. “That’s another thing; see if you can figure out why she ain’t talking yet? Y’all were talking way before this age; I wonder what her hold up is.”

“They did say that she was behind most kids her age.”

“Yeah, but there has to be something that we can help her with.”

Beginning to get impatient, Luke could see that KK wanted to be picked up. “Heal those horses of yours, I’m not about to forget you.”

“Luke thanks for taking her. I know that Bo and Daisy are no longer particularly fond of her since she keeps them up all night. I just hope that we can figure out what her problem is so that she and all of us can get a good night’s sleep again,” Uncle Jesse stated.

“Yeah. I hear Bo’s complaining every night. I know that he loves her, but I think he’s also having a hard time adjusting to not being the youngest anymore.”

With that statement Luke and KK were off to Doc Appleby’s.

Luke took the General Lee slowly towards town. He was thankful that Roscoe was out of town and there wouldn’t be a chance of a chase. If anything would have happen to her, Uncle Jesse would never forgive him for it. It hurt him that his other two cousins were becoming annoyed with her. All of them were lucky enough to know that they were loved by their parents. KK never would know that. KK really didn’t have any family except for Aaron and Karen who lived with Ms. Zang. KK wasn’t trying to be a troublemaker; it was that she didn’t know how to express herself yet. Luke felt compelled to watch over her, show her the ropes of living in Hazzard.

“I wonder if this is what fatherhood is all about?” he thought to himself.

KK began to grunt and point, which Luke didn’t know if it was a good grunt or a bad grunt. He realized that what she saw were horses. “Those are horses. They’re pretty, ain’t they?”

She turned around and smiled at him again. Those were the smiles that melted his heart. She knew exactly what he meant. He just now had to figure out a way to help her learn how to express herself. The rest of the trip, Luke would tell her what she was looking at. The green grass, the cows, and the different roads they would take. She giggled, or what Luke believed was a giggle, when a heard of lambs had block the road they were on for a few minutes.

“Hello Luke. Ah, you must be the infamous KK,” Doc Appleby said.

KK gave Luke a look like, “Is he for real?”

Luke whispered in her ear, “Trust me, he’s knows what he’s doing.”

“Take her to the examining room and I’ll be right there.

“Thanks, Doc.”

KK came to the realization that she didn’t like this place. It reminded her of some place that she had been before. Somewhere that was cold…

Luke could tell by the way KK had gone stiffly in his arms that something was up. She suddenly was looking at her surroundings as fast as she could looking for an escape.

“Hey there little one, no one is going to hurt you,” Luke calmly told her while rubbing her back. He wondered if she was having a post-traumatic stress episode. Uncle Jesse had only told him, not Bo or Daisy, the gruesome details of what had happened. He was sure, even though she was only 18 months old, that the coldness of the examination room reminded her of death.

Luke could see the tears begin to form in her sad blue eyes. There wasn’t a need for words; he could see it in her face. She was scared and wanted her mommy. “I know, hunny, you’re not liking this too much. But I promise that nothing will happen to you. You’re safe now,” Luke told her as he got up and carried her around trying to console her. He could feel the warmth of her tears mounting on his right shoulder. There wasn’t a sound to her tears, only a sorrow that he understood about losing a parent.

KK had calm down enough to fall asleep as Luke slowly rocked on his heels trying to calm her down when Doc Appleby came back in.

Recognizing that she was asleep, Doc Appleby quietly said, “There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we won’t have to repeat the allergy testing on her. I was able to request a copy of it from the doctor that performed it. The bad news is that kid is almost allergic to everything.”

“Poor kid. ‘Nother notch against her,” Luke commented more to himself, but Doc Appleby had heard it.

“Why’d you say that, Luke?”

“Because Bo and Daisy are beginning to turn against her. Wondering why they ever agreed to have her live with us. I think most of it has to do with that she and everyone else hasn’t slept through the night since she’s arrived.”

“Luke, I’m going to give you a copy of this and it needs to be followed by the letter. If she eats something or comes in contact with something she’s allergic to she could die. Granted, that’s the extreme end, but with not knowing how she’s affected by it, I wouldn’t want to push it. Also, I will need to see her every week to give her an allergy shot. This will help her body grow an immunity to what she’s allergic to. The ideal behind it is to help the body not hate it and therefore she could eat it or come in contact with it.”

Luke looked at the list that Doc Appleby gave him. As he skimmed through it, he recognized why she screamed in the middle of the night. Uncle Jesse used bedding of wool for KK’s bed and if he was reading the list right, she was extremely allergic to it.

“Doc, what can this kid eat?”

“Not much – mostly meat, potatoes and vegetables except corn, of course.”

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Sure, what is it Luke.”

“She’s 18 months old, almost 19 but yet she seems far behind a typical kid her age. Even her siblings are farther along. What can I do to help catch her up? She’s seems intelligence, but just lack the vocal. She also isn’t even trying to walk much less crawl. Shouldn’t she by this age?”

Doc Appleby began to explain that it would probably take time and work in order for her to start talking but eventually she would catch on. For the walking, he suggested for him to get her on her feet and try to encourage her to walk. She would get it eventually.

As Luke was walking out the door with KK in one hand and the list in the other, “I would like to see her in a month. By that time I should have her medical records and can give her any booster shots necessary.”

“Not a problem, doc,” Luke stated and walked out the door to take KK home.

What Doc Appleby didn’t tell Luke was the depressing news that he had received from her pediatrician from Michigan. That doctor believed that KK had autism and may never speak, let alone walk. Doc Appleby hoped that wasn’t the case, but hopefully Luke would be true to his word and stimulate her to talk and not grunt. In any case, Luke had a tall order to fulfill, but Doc Appleby had a suspicion that Luke wouldn’t allow KK to fail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *