Tuesday, I had my boat rocked.
In my life, I’ve had my boat rocked many a time. I’m a tough gal. I’m a high-cope person. I am good in a crisis. But yesterday was different. Yesterday it wasn’t about me, it was about my child. And it sent me overboard.
Tuesday morning, Antique Daddy and I took Sean in for his four-year check-up, which unfortunately includes four vaccinations. I was dreading having to put him through the four shots, but as a family that embraces pharmacology, it had to be done. (Your philosophy on vaccinations may be different than mine, feel free to discuss it on your blog.)
Since it was just shots, I agreed to see the nurse-practitioner. Go ahead and judge me now, I prefer the doctor. I’m a doctor snob. One reason I prefer the doctor to the nurse practitioner is because the doctor is not 6’4 and 85 pounds. He does not wear pointy-toed stiletto heels and expensive dry-clean only sweaters to see children who might puke without notice. Her clothing choices do not say “I love children!” Her clothing choices send a mixed message and confuse me. Therefore I am wary of her.
The regular nurse takes his blood pressure and does all the regular stuff and then hands me a plastic cup and orders me to get a urine sample from the patient. So I dutifully take Sean to the restroom and he happily complies as if there is nothing more fun one could do than pee in a cup and put it in a little window. “Can we do this at home?” he asks. No.
We went back to the exam room and continued with an impromptu Tonka road rally and waited. All was well and the seas were calm. A little glint of sun peeked through the windows.
The semi-doctor breezes into the room, stepping through the Tonka road rally in her stiletto pumps and plops down in a chair and announces with no warning that Sean has a sugar count of 2000 in his urine, that he’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, that we need to gather up our stuff and rush to the Children’s hospital emergency room and have him admitted where they can start doing tests and that he will need an insulin pump for the rest of his life and I will have to finger-stick him to check his blood sugar several times a day.
As I’m trying to take in all this information, I’m watching Sean happily bouncing around the room, the picture of health in every way. And that’s when the room listed to one side. On another day, when I was feeling well, I would have put the brakes on. But I am at the tail end (I hope) of a nearly month-long bronchial infection and my reserves are low. In my weakened state, I just sat there with my mouth open and stared at her.
With all the energy I could muster, which was none, I feebly offer that maybe it was the blueberry muffin he ate that morning or some Valentine candy from the day before.
“No,” she dismisses me, “That might raise it to 200, but not 2000 blah blah blah the sky is falling blah…” After that I couldn’t hear anything other than that ch-ch-ch sound of my blood marching in my ears. And then she left the room to call her mother and proudly report the exciting diagnosis she just made. At that point, I felt like I was being burned at the stake. Heat started steadily rising from my torso to my head. The room started spinning and I had to decide whether to throw up or pass out. And so I knelt down on the floor to make either option more convenient.
The regular nurse came in and asked me if I was okay. I said, no, I did not think I was okay and that I needed to lie down. She suggested that I lay on the exam table, so I crawled up there and curled up in a little ball and willed the room to stop spinning. Sean, who is oblivious to all of the drama happening around him, stops sailing a Tonka truck across the floor and climbs up on the table and curls up beside me. He kisses my cheek and pats my side. “I will take care of you Mommy,” he offers. How ironic. I can’t think. I can’t feel anything except the sensation of fire.
Twenty or thirty minutes or hours pass, I’m not sure which. I no longer have a grasp on time. The not-quite-a-doctor and the regular nurse
have an argument discuss how to get blood work back STAT. The regular nurse, the one with some sense, sends us to another facility to have blood drawn before we go to Children’s. She hands me paperwork. This is good. I have something in my hands that I can do. I manage to pull myself together enough to check out and get to the car, but the sensation that I’m on fire and my legs are made of jello persists.
We go to the next place and get blood drawn, which on a four-year-old, is almost as fun as four shots in the same day. And then we go home and wait for several hours for the phone to ring. We cherish the next several hours because we don’t know if they will be the last four hours of our previously normal life. We play, we pray. Priorities are reordered.
Three hours later, the nurse-practitioner calls and reports that his blood sugar is as normal as can be. She tells us that she has talked to the endocrinologist at Children’s and that he suggests that the elevated sugar in the urine is a stress response to a recent ear infection.
So then. The semi-doctor yelled “Boo!” and is now calling to say “Just kidding!” I feel slightly relieved, but not. I want to break her 85-pound frame in two just the same. She wants us to come back in for a retest of his urine later in the week and another blood draw next week, but in the meantime to go on with life as normal. I’m not sure how to do that as I don’t normally live in the shadow of a giant scary question mark.
In the meantime, I remind myself that no matter the outcome, that we will cope. That if we have to, we will deal with this as families all over the world do and have. In the meantime, I remind myself that my God is with me always, no matter how badly my boat is rocking.