Last winter/spring the whole family went through a period of one sickness after another. This ended with bringing my son to urgent care (isn’t he cute? <——) in April and him being diagnosed with pneumonia. On top of that, severak of his blood count levels/vitamin stores were off so further testing was warranted. Finally, last week, we met Mr. Awesome Doctor who decided that he was going to run a whole panel of tests on both older children. No big deal, a little bit of blood work, right? Well, nothing is ever terribly simple with children!
Wednesday we decided that Mike would take the next day off and we’d bring the kids into the “city” for their blood work (as our local hospital accidentally cancelled their blood work in the spring after me dragging my feverish/sick kids to the hospital to get it done). 3:30 on Wednesday I get a call from my doctor’s office. They’ve moved up an upper gastric endoscope I’d scheduled for September to the next day at 1:30. “Great,” I think, “Mike has the day off, I’ll get all the hospital stuff done in one shot and we’ll be good.”
So the whole family started fasting after supper on Wednesday in preparation for our various tests the next day. The idea was that we’d get up early and get the kids to the hospital ASAP and then we’d come home and relax before having to go to my appointment. Well, we were out the door at 7:30, a pretty good start. As we were about to pull out of the drive, a contractor pulled in and then Mike, wanting to kill another bird while we were in town, decided that he should get all the paperwork ready for the agency in town helping us get a grant for home repairs . No problem, shouldn’t take more than a minute. Well, near 45 minutes later and he hasn’t returned to the car. Everyone is whining and saying, “Daddy always takes soooooooooooo long.” Finally, everything is in order and off we go again.
We make it to the hospital by 9:00. It is important to note that by this point in the day, my early risers are normally on breakfast number two for the day. We decide that Morgaine will go first as she is quite apprehensive and we figure she should just get it over with. Well, then I see that they are going to be attempting to get ten or eleven vials of blood from her and I know Morgaine’s blood just does not flow on good day let alone after she’s been fasting for twelve hours. This could be tricky. Her eyes are squeezed tight, she shakes, they prick her, the blood starts flowing soooooooo sloooooooooooooooooowly. 1 vial, 2 vials, 3 and she goes white as a sheet. We push for the 4th but have to stop. She’s not going to make it. Feet up, basin under her chin, wet wash cloths. Liam is bouncing off the walls and freaking out because he doesn’t like it when people are going to be sick. I tell him to sit quiet. The nurses tell me it is fine. He’s just a kid. I struggle to keep him from bounding into someone else while reassuring Morgaine that she is going to be just fine. The nurse tells her that she did wonderfully and they’ll get the rest when she comes back in two hours…..
“We have to come back in two hours?”
“Yes, for the glucose test they have to come back two hours after they eat.”
Great. I look at the clock. If we leave now, we can feed the kids something from a grocery store, hang out in town, take them back and still have time to head off to my endoscope.
BUT there’s still blood to get from Liam. He does swimming well with the 10 vials of blood and then he engages the nurse in conversation as I’m watching the minutes tick by and and saying, “we really do have to go if we want to be able to make it back in two hours because I have a test at the other hospital at 1:30 that I cannot reschedule,” They continue on chatting and then I’m told Liam needs a finger prick to test blood gases and that’s a whole procedure in and of itself. To top it off, Liam doesn’t handle the finger prick well and he turns green. It’s Morgaine’s turn to bounce off the walls and ask questions while Mum deals with the second nearly ill child.
Finally we leave the collections center at 10:00 and I proceed to argue with Mike about coming back in two hours for more blood work. I think if we feed them a sandwich from the corner store right away we’ll be able to get them back to the hospital, get the collection done, and get me to my hospital in time. He thinks it is not humanly possible. He drives around town looking for something to feed them and settles on Wendy’s. I fume because I want them to eat something they’d normally eat and fast food for breakfast is not something we do. Then I fume some more because it smells good and I’m hungry. Morgaine nibbles and picks at her food. The two hour countdown start after the last bite of food. Nibble, nibble, nibble. It’s nearing 11 o’clock, we’ll never make it. We head for home. Mike will have to take the kids for their blood work and he isn’t thrilled. He is squeamish and doesn’t think he can handle it. He says he’ll feel sick, too. I tell him he’ll be fine and there are toys for the little one to play with so he’ll only have to deal with the older kids. He’s like, “I’ll have the baby?”
“Yes, honey, I’ll be too busy with a tube down my throat to look after him.”
At home I madly clean the kitchen as I expect to be a little out of it when I get home from my procedure and I need the house to be in order. Mike runs in another direction to get a little work done and shortly it is back in the car everyone. I grab a book expecting a long wait at the hospital as I will be dropped off over an hour early in order for Mike to get the kids back to the hospital in time for their blood work.
I decide to go right to admitting as I figure that might get me an area to wait that’s not in emergency, and much to my surprise they are ready for me immediately. No time for me to freak out about being sedated. Off to day surgery, I’m whisked. No hello, how are you, but here’s your gown and put on those slippers. Then a nurse comes in and says, “you know, you can do it without sedation, right? The don’t tell you this, but we can have you out in 20 minutes.”
No sedation, that is great. I rock natural childbirth. I can do a tube down the throat. How hard could it be? There’s time to call my husband and tell him to wait for me before he takes the kids to their appointment, but I don’t, partially because I expect to be held up somewhere, and partially because I expect to freak out and ask for the sedation, and besides, it would be nice to relax and read and not have to take the kids for their blood work.
Whisked into the OR where my GI specialist doesn’t even say hello. When I ask him about sedation because I’m breastfeeding an older child that could be help off from nursing for a substantial amount of time if need be, he barks at me to do it without sedation. So much for informed consent. Thank GOD for good nurses. They were encouraging and sweet. I joke around horribly with them because I am nervous, and they are nice, and I know seriously lacking in bedside manner, cannot look up from his laptop doctor is about to ram a tube into my small intestine. The time comes and there’s not a word from him except “Don’t move!” and off he goes. I think I am dying, I try to grab the tube and darling doula like nurse tells me to hold her hand and breathe. It’s not like having a baby…its worse. It’s okay when I close my eyes but I can’t stop looking. Then I start to heave and lovely nurse talks me down again. Doctor gets what he needs and then is heading back out. Pure relief. But wait, he sees something he wants to biopsy. The don’t have another biopsy doohicky on hand. Agh, I again think I might die and tell them that seriously can’t do this….hmm, but that is something I do remember from birth. I close my eyes and pray just as little as tears well up in my eyes. Then it’s done….DONE.
They keep me waiting around for just a while to make sure my heart rate comes down (it sure does crazy things when you think you are going to die). Then I am set free. I am starving, positively starving, but they insist I cannot eat for two to three hours because I might asphyxiate/aspirated on my food. Lovely, starve the breastfeeding lady for 16 hours and then tell her she can’t eat for another 2 or 3. I call Mike because I’m relieved to be done and alive and he says that he hasn’t gotten the kids to the hospital yet as he were to the housing department. He’s going to come back to get me. Wonderful. I try to read but I can’t focus. It takes 20 minutes for Mike to get back to me. Looking at the clock, I see it has been nearly 3 hours since the children’s last bite. I doubt they’ll do the bloodwork but off we go anyways. Mike informs me that he has to see someone while I take the kids for the blood test and it is agreed that I will take the baby with me as his meeting is important and will be quicker if he doesn’t have the baby touching things. I’m exhausted. Morgaine is positively freaked out at the thought of them taking more blood. The baby is hungry and I’m beginning to get a headache.
At the hospital the lab techs talk back and forth and perhaps have sympathy on the poor frazzled Mum and decide that they’ll do the blood test even though they shouldn’t. We lay Morgaine on the bed where she proceeds to have a total meltdown. We turn on the TV and she freaks out more. We silently agree that I’ll likely have to hold her down and I hold her arm and kiss her forehead down and in they go. She shakes and cries and then Toopy and Binoo comes on, and it’s about music, and she goes limp. The blood flows and she is happy. The finger prick doesn’t phase her a bit. Liam’s blood work is completed while I’m tending to Morgaine and I find him chatting away happily with his nurse (who I think he might have has a little crush on). The baby happily puts away his toys. Morgaine happily jumps off the bed. We did it.
We’re out the door….she turns pale and back in we go. Finally, her colour comes back and we are free and head for the doors. It is raining and Mike is not there. We are tired. I cannot find change. I’m so, so tired. I trek three kids through the hospital killing time not knowing where Mike will meet us. I finally find a quarter and give him a call. He is 10 minutes away. My head aches. I feel rather ill. We wait.
On the way home, I insist that I need to eat. Mike stops at the grocery store and says, “I’m going to get you a yogurt drink. Do you want real food, too?”
“Yes, real food would be good.”I reply, dreaming of a nice deli wrap sandwich.
He comes back with Yop and little sweet cakes. I’m revolted. I cannot drink the yogurt so I pass some back in a cup to the baby. Mike asks me why I don’t just give him the bottle and I tell him that it would really suck if the baby decides he’s had enough and proceeds to drop the bottle onto the floor. The baby asks for more so I take his cup and when I am passing it back to him I drop on the floor and yogurt spills everywhere. I mop it up while standing in the rain and cannot help laughing hysterically.
We make it home in one piece where I proceed to eat a banana that upsets my stomach. My neuralgia is flaring up and I cannot do it. The day has just been too much. I’m ill, I ache, and I’m sure I’m going to be sick. I long to go to bed. Mike cooks for me and I cannot stomach the meal. I breathe through doing the dishes and half putting the kids to bed. I will be sick but it won’t happen, there’s not a thing there. It sucks. I medicate and crawl into bed. Mike knows he must keep the baby. I sleep. I get up. I medicate. I nurse the baby (and yes, the gravol knocked him out, too). We all sleep ’til 3am (a miracle that likely won’t be repeated anytime soon). I wake up and feel human. I eat. I nurse. I sleep.
I wake up. The fog has cleared and I can say we survived it…..
….however, next time I might just take that sedation because seriously, I deserve a break!