Friday, July 29, 2011

Lesson #16: When In Doubt, Make the Call

It seems simple enough: your child is sick, call the doctor. Yeah, the thing about that? If you call the doctor, they will tell you to come in. And I've schlepped everyone off to the doctor's office and paid the cold hard cash only to be told "It's just a virus, there's nothing we can do" more times than I care to recall. Because of this, my current method of dealing with sickness is the "Wait and See" method.

The "Wait and See" method is pretty self explanatory: your child is sick, you wait and see if he gets worse. Then if he only gets a little worse, you wait and see how much worse he gets. If he doesn't get any worse but he doesn't get any better either, you start talking to your spouse and your mother about whether you should call the doctor's office. Hubby and Mom tell you to wait and see. So you wait a little while longer. Then you decide that you'll just wait until after nap and if the child's not any better after nap you'll definitely call (but surely he'll be better by then so it will totally be fine). Then when the child wakes up from nap and he seems about the same, you think "Well, he's not getting any worse..." So you wait just a little longer. Then by supper he's still not better yet and you start thinking that, gee, he's been sick for X amount of time and doesn't seem to be getting any better, so maybe you should call after all. So you get back on the phone with your spouse and your mother, and by this point you've decided that the child just isn't himself and you definitely need to call. The spouse and mother confirm that, yes, you definitely should at least call. So you call. And the doctor's office is closed for the day. And then you end up taking the child to Walk In Care (or worse, the ER). See? Easy, peasy!

This is what happened to me last weekend. It had been a long, hot week and I had planned a fantastic Saturday. We were going to pack the cooler, find a beach, and spend the day outside enjoying the weather, instead of cooped up in my 90-degree living room.

The day started out fine-I even got to build a blanket "cave" with my 3 1/2 year old! But around 10:30 my perfect little Saturday started to unravel. The 3 1/2 year old said his side hurt. This usually indicates the need to drop a serious deuce so I immediately took him to the bathroom in hopes of avoiding any poo-related incidents. Much as he tried, it was a no go. From that point on, he laid on our recliner, refusing to eat or drink, and crying about his belly hurting. I tried everything, to no avail. At first I thought it was simple constipation, but as they day wore on and I went through all the phases of the "Wait and See" method, as described above, I began to get scared. What if it was more than constipation? What if he was having kidney failure? What if he'd swallowed something I didn't know about? What if he had an intestinal blockage? Needless to say, we ended up at the Walk In Care.

Now, mind you, this child is always on the go. He has two speeds: fast and manic. He's always playing with something or getting into something or asking seventy bazillion questions about something. For him to have spent the day lying around, doing nothing but crying, was pretty major.

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I swear the kid perked right up. He started in, asking all kinds of questions and pointing out different vehicles as he skipped along beside me to the door. Skipped. I asked him if his belly still hurt, and he reported that it did. Reluctantly, I led him into the clinic. At the desk, he turned into a freakin' Chatty Cathy, asking the registration girl what her name was and why she was typing on the computer, pointing out Mommy's purse, and showing off the bag I had brought (packed with coloring stuff, books, Hot Wheels, and a drink and snack, of course). I found myself explaining to the registration girl that he really was sick and had been all day, I swear! I'm sure she thought I was a total fruit loop. I asked him again if his belly still hurt, and it still did.

We went to the waiting area, where he played with his toys with great enthusiasm. I asked him if his belly still hurt, and it still did. When the nurse pulled us into a side office to do a preliminary investigation of the belly pain (to make sure he was well enough to wait the two hours it would be until he could actually get treated), and he pointed to three different spots on his stomach-all of which were not anywhere near the spot he'd identified repeatedly earlier in the day-I began to have my doubts about this whole expedition. I asked him if his belly still hurt, and it still did.

About forty five minutes into our wait, the little dude said he had to go potty. In my haste to pack activities to keep a small child occupied for what could be hours, I had not grabbed The Bag (I know, I know!) so I hustled him into the restroom tout suite. Lemme just tell ya: the kid let out mammoth turd. It was the biggest turd I have ever seen. I'm still not quite sure how it came out of that little body of his. All I could think was "No wonder his belly's been hurting!"

After that, he asked for his snack and downed the whole thing, then started drinking from (playing in) the water fountain. I asked if his belly still hurt. It didn't. Surprise surprise. Then he said, "Mommy let's go home!" So we did.

Note to self: get some prune juice to keep on hand for emergencies.

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