Sunday, November 19, 2006
Back in the ER. You Don't Know How Lucky You Are, Boy.
The past two weeks have seen we at Chez Zombie in the Emergency Room of the local hospital not once, but two times.
And that's fun.
The first illness to strike was an earache for my son. He woke up at 3 AM, shrieking his head off. I ran to see what the hell was going on, and he had all this...gunk...pouring out of his ear. Which is always something you want to see at 3 AM.
So, off to the hospital we went.
You may remember that my son is the one that's not very blessed when it comes to different facial expressions. He still has this problem going on, so unless you had been there to hear him shrieking when his eardrum actually ruptured, you wouldn't know he was in any kind of pain.
That's also why I didn't know he had an earache until said eardrum ruptured. But that's beside the point.
Anyway, when we got to triage, the nurse asked him all manner of questions and he sat there, passively answering them and blinking.
Nurse pulled out this little chart and said, "Okay, so this is a thing to help you tell me how much it hurts, okay? There are five faces there, and the first face is really happy because nothing hurts, and the last face is really sad because it hurts bad. So you point to the one that shows how much you hurt."
Asher regarded the chart for a moment and then pointed at the really sad face.
"So it hurts that bad?" said Nurse. "Really? You're not crying."
"I already cried," he said, blinking solemnly like an owl.
I tried to explain that he's just really stoic but I don't think Nurse bought it. She probably thinks I beat him all the time or something, so a little thing like a ruptured eardrum doesn't warrant too much emotion. I thought about showing her the blog, so she could see The Many Faces of Asher, but then I thought that was way too much effort.
So then we got to see a doctor and he said, "Oh, he has an earache and his eardrum ruptured," which, yeah, I already knew that, Mr. Fancy Medical Degree, just write out the prescription for the antibiotic and let us go home.
Which he did, and we went to the pharmacy to get it filled and then I saw how much it was going to cost me and I died.
Okay, I didn't die.
I paid for it, cursing all the while, and fed it to the boy, and now his earache is gone. Though we did have a day or two there where he couldn't hear me out of that ear, which was disturbing, but as the doctor had said that it would probably go away, I didn't worry too much. I took advantage of his hearing loss to sit on that side of him and say things like, "NYAH NYAH, I GOT COOKIES AND YOUUUU DON'T," because it's fun to taunt a hearing-impaired child without his knowledge.
Then Meredith got sick. It started out as sniffles and progressed to a cough. The cough then progressed to some manner of angst-causing bark which got her sent home from school, so off to the ER we went again.
She didn't have a fever and she said she didn't feel sick, so imagine my surprise when the ER doctor suggested it might be pneumonia.
I thought, "Help me, I am in hell."
So a nurse brought Meredith one of those hospital gowns, because she needed X-rays. Only, the first one she brought, child-size small, was waaaay too big, because my daughter is a midget. So she came back with an infant-sized one, which fit just fine.
I said, "I don't starve her or anything. She's not stunted. She's just short," to the nurse, but I don't know if she bought it.
Meanwhile, Meredith had taken all of her clothes off and put on the gown, which was covered in airplanes and duckies, and then put her boots back on. Her boots are little black leather knee-high ones, because she is fashion-forward like her mother.
I tied the strings on the gown and sat down to wait for X-ray to be ready for us.
My daughter proceeded to crawl around on the hospital bed like a demented monkey and jabber about the wallpaper border, which featured Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a repeating pattern.
"Mom, what's that worm on the wall for?"
"It's not a worm."
"Yeah, because worms don't have antennas, right?"
*few minutes of silence*
"Mom, what's that worm on the wall for?"
"I just said it's not a worm."
"Oh yeah. Because worms don't have antennas. Right?"
"Is it a caterpillar?"
"Yes, it's a caterpillar. You had that book when you were a baby. That's the Very Hungry Caterpillar."
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar That's Not a Worm Because Worms Don't Have Antennas, right?"
*few minutes of silence*
"Mom, why don't they have worms on the wall?"
Fortunately, the nurse chose just then to come get us for the X-ray, so Meredith turned her attention to the nurse.
"Did you know you don't have worms on the wall because worms don't have antennas?"
The nurse looked at me and I just shrugged. I don't know what's wrong with her. Sheesh.
And off we went down the hall to the X-ray room, Meredith tromping happily along in her infant-sized hospital gown with the Hello Kitty underwear peeking out of the back and her big black boots.
The X-ray techs were just enchanted by my small daughter and kept commenting to me about how cute she is. Yes, she is cute. I know. I wanted to tell them not to think that her cuteness did not mean she's isn't also bad. Because she is bad. She is short and bad. But I decided to let them keep their illusions, because, after all, I shouldn't ruin small dreams like that.
While they were getting the X-ray machine ready, the one tech turned to me and said, "Oh, wait! You're not pregnant, are you? If you're pregnant, you need to leave. Is there any chance of you being pregnant?"
Pregnant?! Speak not the word! AHHHHH!
"Unless it's the second coming of Christ, I'm not pregnant," I said. And then: "Ha ha!" nervously, because...she said the P Word, repeatedly, and everyone knows saying the P Word is like a jinx-type thing, so maybe...no, no, best not to think it.
If I do happen to be pregnant with the second coming of Christ, he may now be born with an arm coming out of his forehead. Sorry about that, y'all.
"Are you going to take pictures of my bones?" Meredith asked the tech, which thankfully drew her attention away from me and my potentially holy uterus.
"Well, honey, we're actually going to look at your lungs, but it can take pictures of your bones, too."
"Oh," said my daughter, thoughtfully. "If you do take pictures of my bones, I don't want to see them!"
And do you know why she didn't want to see them? Because she already knows what they look like:
At any rate, it turned out not to be pneumonia - it is bronchitis. So we got another scrip for an antibiotic and one for some of that cough syrup with the codeine. And we went to the pharmacy to get them filled and I saw how much it cost and then I died.
Okay, I didn't die. My uterus and I are just fine. And most definitely NOT PREGNANT.
But we are upset about the price of medicine these days and I have informed the children that they aren't allowed to get ill again until some time next year.
And hopefully, "some time next year" won't be in January.
Though, in preparation for our next (distant!) ER visit, I have decided to get one of those Infant of Prague statues and superglue a babydoll arm to its forehead and lug that along with us. That would allow me to say to all women I encounter, "Don't go in the X-ray room, because if you do, the tech will ask if you're pregnant. And that means you will get pregnant, immediately. And that is how I ended up with Wee Jesus, here. I'm told he looks like his father, but I can't see it, myself. What do you think?"
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