Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Awkward Mom vs the ER visit (part II)

We now return you to Awkward Mom vs the ER!

OK, here we are, the ER. OK, well, not quite the ER…the hospital where the ER is located. A hospital about the size of Rhode Island. A hospital that I have now circled twice, without seeing sign one for the ER…The good news (and bad/weird news, considering this is supposed to be an emergency) is that both boys are asleep and not aware of my complete lack of direction. Is that the sign there? No, false alarm. That’s the sign to the cafeteria. Hmmm….this could take awhile.

Exactly 16 minutes later…. Is that it? That tiny little sign over there, covered by some ivy? Why, yes it is! Emergency Room. OK…now, where to park? There are a ton of ambulance spots; I imagine I can’t park there. Looks like my option is valet parking; seriously? Well, I am not getting lost again, so I better valet. I am sure these are competent drivers, entrusted to deal with people in a crisis. I can deal with this. So, this guy looks about 13, there is no reason to hold that against him. I am sure he is a very reasonable and efficient person. Why, sure, here are my keys. I just need to go into the ER, that way? Thanks, just give me a minute to get my stuff. And while I am opening my trunk, to get out the stroller, he takes off. He starts driving my car. Away from me. With my sleeping children in the back seat.

Well, I now have proof that I can fly. I somehow teleport to the driver’s side window, screaming like some avenging banshee, scaring the pants off this kid. I say some things I am not particularly proud of, but he stops the car. I reclaim my sleeping children and wake them with crushing embraces. This gets the baby crying, so his loving older brother starts telling him to stop it, while he throws toys at him. The decibel level increases to ear-splitting, as we head into the ER lobby. Well, at least we are now acting like it is an emergency.

I am rushed to the head of the line as I enter the lobby; I think the screaming stroller I am pushing ahead of me might have something to do with that. We are then rushed into a little room, where they attach some monitors to the baby before I am able to convince them that it is the toddler in need of their attention. They do not seem convinced. I give the baby one of the toddler’s toys, which delights him to no end. Only then, do they turn their attention to the toddler, who is screaming himself; for now he is missing a toy that not two minutes ago he was more than happy to bean at his brother’s head.

The nurse tells me that they have to weigh the toddler and he is too large to weigh in the little scale. So, he will have to stand on the big scale. I patiently explain that he is refusing to stand and this is impossible. As I say this, the toddler slides off the chair and walks down the hallway. I am packing up our stuff under the withering gaze of the nurse, when I am spared the wasting-hospital-time lecture that is posed on her lips. Thankfully, the toddler starts limping about 5 steps in and collapses 13 steps in. And yes, I am aware of how awful that thankfully is.

We are put in a room in the Children’s Urgent Care section of the hospital. The room is a fluorescent nightmare, complete with a leering Buzz Lightyear painted on the frosted glass window to the right of the door. We sit here for the time it takes the toddler to eat 6 graham crackers and to look at all the books they have on the shelf. I am trying to get him interested in HIPPA rules and regulations when the doctor comes in. She looks to be the younger sister of the guy who kidnapped my children in the parking lot. She asks me to tell her what happened, which I do. She spends a lot of time asking about the fall that I didn’t see and she looks in the toddler’s ears and nose. She writes down a lot of stuff and I am trying not to read it upside-down, but I think I catch the word DCFS. She is leaving the room, so I ask her if she wants to see his leg. She agrees, and she pokes and prods at him for awhile. He completely ignores her and eats a 7th graham cracker. She then tells him that she wants to see him walk. He just looks at her and slides to the floor, where he proceeds to lounge and eat yet another graham cracker. So, she walks purposefully across the room and pulls this little red thing out of her pocket. She holds it out and presses it toward the toddler. It squeaks loudly and she waves it a little. I think it is a dog toy.

The toddler looks at her like she is crazy. Heck, even the baby looks at her like she is crazy. I feel bad for her, so I tell the toddler to go see what treasure she has in her hand. He gives me a look that heralds his upcoming adolescence, but he does walk across the room to see the mysterious squeaking item in her hand. She watches him limp, makes some notes, pockets her dog toy, and leaves. The toddler starts crying about the missing toy, which gets the baby going. And we have run out of graham crackers.

I am feeding the baby in a rather soothing rocking chair, as the toddler looks at a book on the bed. Things seem almost relaxed when the nurse explodes through the door. Her panic quickly turns to annoyance and she points to the toddler, who is slightly behind me on the left. I turn to watch him laugh as he repeatedly presses the call button that is mounted on the bed frame. I apologize profusely and she assures me that it happens all the time, as she disconnects the call button. She shuts the door rather firmly, but I could be imagining that. We resume waiting.

A rather important looking doctor rushes in and wakes us all up. He convinces the toddler to walk around without the aid of dog toys; I am thoroughly impressed. He pokes and prods the toddler; saying he doesn’t think anything is broken but we should be sure. He is going to order some pain medication and some X-rays. Joy. I (politely, I promise) ask that since the toddler is not complaining of any pain, do we really need medicine? But the toddler has heard the magic word; he likes the candy tasting medicine he gets when he has a fever. He starts to howl and carry on, so the doctor merely points to him, as if this illustrates his level of pain. I try to explain, but the very important doctor is already leaving the room.

The nurse comes in with the candy, I mean, medicine. The toddler is thrilled and drinks it like he is dying of thirst. He proceeds to run around the room. He is still limping, slightly, so this isn’t very easy and he knocks over quite a few things. I am picking up the tongue depressers and don’t see the X-ray technician arrive. She picks up the toddler and starts to leave the room; I am alerted to this development by the toddler’s screaming. What is with these people and kidnapping my children? I (not so politely, I’m being honest) inquire if I can join my toddler on this journey to the X-ray room. I am told that I may not. I ask why not. She tells me that I have to watch my baby, as if I would forget this detail. I ask if I may bring my baby and stand outside the door, which she agrees to, after more thought than I would have thought necessary. However, I am allowed to follow them down the hallway. As long as I am in sight, the toddler seems satisfied to let this woman carry him. The baby is, of course, sleeping.

We settle outside the X-ray door, as the technician enters and closes the door. My last glimpse of my son’s face tells me all I need to know, and I debate alerting the tech, her aide, and these poor unsuspecting bystanders in the hallway to the impending situation. I doubt they would believe me, so I calmly place my hands over the baby’s ears and wait. 1…2…3…and a piercing shriek begins to emerge from behind the door. It rapidly builds to a noise I am imagining resembles the combination of a herd of angry elephants, 17 race cars gunning their engines, and an atomic bomb going off. This seems to go on for a year. Everyone in the hallway stops and stares at the door. Eventually, some of the peripheral yelling seems to ebb and the lone air raid siren that is my son’s voice emerges; loud, clear, and deafening. The knob starts to rattle and a woman behind me gasps. Everyone’s eyes are riveted to the door, waiting for the horror to be revealed. Will blood come pouring out, like in The Shining? Will some horrific Frankenstein’s Monster lumber out? What could it be? Who could make such an awful sound?

The door swings open, bangs against the wall; revealing a rather disheveled and out of breath X-ray technician and my screaming child. Everyone is surprised, especially me, as this technician is different from the one who brought us. This one meets my questioning eyes and tells me that my son has quite a left hook. I try to apologize, but she seems more interested in getting this loud, wiggling mess out of her arms and into mine. She then turns around and runs back into the X-ray room, slamming the door in my face. I guess we have to find our own way back to the Buzz Lightyear room.

We eventually find our way back, where we wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, the dog toy doctor returns, hands me some paperwork, and tells me the bill will be mailed to me. She is walking out of the room, so I ask her what is wrong with my son. She says that nothing is wrong with him. I track down a nurse, who tells me that the X-rays showed no breaks and he must have twisted something. I can give him medicine every 4 hours, which causes the toddler to dance around the room. She tells me that I can leave, but it kinda comes out more would I please leave, now.

I gather everything up and head to the parking lot. The kid sees me coming and pushes his co-worker my way. They get my car for me and, as I am loading it with the kids and the 857 accessories they come with, I notice the kid holding my door open for me. Now, isn’t that nice? And after I yelled at him too. There is some sweetness left in the world, that is for sure. I get in and he is still holding onto the door. OK, well, thank you. Really, thanks. And then it occurs to me. One usually tips when valet parking. And I usually have cash in the car. But, usually isn’t my friend today. I try to explain this to the guy, but he just snorts at me, says some of the same things I said to him earlier, and walks away. Oh well, I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t kidnap my kids again!

They just don’t come more awkward than that. Just wanted to alert our faithful readers that no X-ray technicians were seriously injured in the retelling of this tale. Tune in next time, when Awkward Mom will continue her efforts to get her children to adulthood with as few injuries and therapy bills as possible!

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