August 13, 2009

Your Assignment, Should You Choose to Accept - 8/13/09

People, it's that time again for another scintillating set of prompts from Mama Kat and her Writer's Workshop. This week's prompts:

1.) Your trip to the ER...spill it.
(inspired by Stephanie from
This Blessed Life).

2.) "Why are American's obsessed with weight? Why are we always fighting or complaining about what is natural for our bodies?"
(inspired by Jenn from
Jenny Says What?).

3.) Describe one of your 'God Moments'.
(inspired by Jordan from
Wide Open Spaces).

4.) List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the chutzpah.
(inspired by Cassandra from

5.) Why is your kid in time out?
(inspired by Sera from
Laughing Through The Chaos)

This week, I thought I'd do prompts #1 and #3. Then I thought about TWO visits to the ER with The Boy that were fodder for the blog mill. So, I'm doing TWO for #1, and will talk about my "God moment" at another time.

1a. Your trip to the ER. Spill it. - First visit

Life with The Boy is always an adventure. He's been to the ER many times, and has even arrived by ambulance for a few of them. He's used his sister's nail polish to glue his eyes shut, he's eaten the little container of silica gel that comes in Excedrin bottles, he's even eaten a Christmas tree light (a day after seeing The Grinch eat glass). But the story I am about to tell was one time when I drove him to the ER.

One evening, when The Boy was five, we drove to a local Greek diner for dinner. We ordered our meals, and while waiting for them, The Boy needed to use the bathroom - so off he went to the men's room.

When he didn't return to the table within a few minutes' time, I went over to the men's room door and knocked, and called his name. He was crying, and said, "I can't hurts!" I suggested that he pull up his pants and join me in the ladies' room, so I could talk to him about it.

He looked like a little old man when he came out of that door - hunched over, shuffling, and still crying softly. He did not zip his jeans.

We went into the ladies' room and I asked him what was happening. He said his penis was hard, and it hurt to pee, and it wouldn't come out. He couldn't even stand up straight, it hurt so much. The Boy was sporting a major woody, and was in pain.

Leaving the ladies' room, I told the waitress to make our order to go, and we went straight home and called the pediatrician. She said to try a warm bath - if 'things' didn't return to normal in 15 minutes, I should drive The Boy to Children's Hospital.

Into the bath he went - it didn't help. He was sitting in the tub, crying, wanting me to help him. So we got him dried off and dressed and went to the ER. I described The Boy's problem to the triage nurse, and I expected a long wait to see a doctor. I wondered how I'd comfort The Boy in the meantime.

Surprisingly (at least to me), we didn't even have to wait too long for a room, even though the waiting room was filled with sick children.

A doctor came into our room and explained when a child this young (remember, he was five years old at the time) has an erection that won't go away, it's usually caused by three things: sickle cell anemia, leukemia, or some other neurological problem. They tested him for leukemia. We waited for the results and for the arrival of a neurologist. And naturally, I fretted.

The neurologist came in and began doing the typical neuro exam. He didn't have much of a bedside manner, he held The Boy's head and turned it to and fro, hither and yon - he never said a word.

The Boy, looking into the doctor's face, said, "The problem is with my penis, not my neck."

The doctor did not crack a smile. He finished his exam and left the room.

A while later (after The Boy's ultimate boy part had returned to its normal state), the original ER doctor came in and said that they did not know why the boy had an incidence of priapism (that's the hoity toity medical term for an unwanted erection), and that we should follow up with our pediatrician if it happened again.

The priapism occurred several times over the next six years or so; we visited neurologists, pediatricians, and a urologist - no cause was ever determined.

Now that he's 14, I'm not sure I even wanna know that his plumbing is working...unless he's in a world of hurt, I hope he keeps that info to himself.

1b. Your trip to the ER. Spill it. - Second visit

When the boy was in 2nd grade, and having a lot of difficulty in school, it was decided that he would attend a short-term intensive day treatment program (where his medication could be monitored on a daily basis). I hated the idea, but agreed that it was far better than another admission to the hospital.

The psychiatrist at the school (I'll call him Dr. Jerk, because he was one), increased The Boy's dosage of lithium. Repeatedly in a short period of time. Since I was The Boy's biggest advocate (and the one who was responsible for his care, ultimately), I balked at the Jerk's suggestions. I even called and consulted with his regular psychiatrist - he concurred that the dosage was too high, and suggested that I NOT give it to him.

I called Dr. Jerk and told him that I would NOT be giving The Boy this larger dose. Dr. Jerk yelled at me, said that "it was HIS treatment plan, and that I should give him the lithium and to call him if The Boy got tremors."

What a peach!

The Boy got tremors. Being the obedient/compliant parent, I phoned Dr. Jerk. He told me to take the boy to get his blood level checked for lithium. Again, I complied.

The next phone call was from Dr. Jerk. He told me that The Boy's level was TWICE WHAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE A THERAPEUTIC LEVEL, and that I should IMMEDIATELY take The Boy to Children's Hospital for an evaluation.

Once again, I complied. The Boy and I spent several hours waiting in an exam room in the hospital ER. During our time there, a child who had been shot by another child was brought into the ER. Several nurses came into OUR room, looking for equipment, including a Chest Tray (never a good sign).

This activity made The Boy quite nervous (like he wasn't already acting strangely from the effects of the lithium) - he was convinced they were getting the CHEST TRAY FOR HIM - that the next doctor who came in was going to cut through his chest and remove whatever was in there.

He practically jumped back into my womb when the door opened, and two doctors walked in. I assured him that nobody was going to cut through his chest, that everything was going to be okay.

The two doctors, both Toxicologists, introduced themselves, and began to perform a neurological exam on The Boy. They got him to turn his head, and make a fist (and all those other neuro things), and they asked him questions - his name, current events and simple mathematics.

The toxicologists left the room to confer. In a few minutes, they asked me to join them out in the hallway. Their conclusion: "The Boy does NOT appear to have any brain damage. He should be okay, once the lithium gets out of his system."

Thank God for that.

Generally, after a toxic dose of lithium, that medication is removed from the list of available drugs to treat bipolar disorder. Thus began another round of medication roulette...a game of chance that we have been playing ever since he was diagnosed at six.


  1. Holy Cow, not fun ER visits, although I wouldn't have been able to contain my laughter when the Boy said the prob was with his penis not his neck!

  2. Wow - not fun. Well, the first one was only humerous cuz it turned out ok. The second one was just scary.

    Can't imagine how docs justify their attitudes. Kids are not guinea pigs.


  3. Whew-and those are just TWO visits? Docs can be quite the a-holes!!

  4. Wow. That just does NOT sound like fun. At. All. And boy, do those doctors sounds so...pleasant!

  5. Wow...both of those are crazy. Kids always think that if the see the most horrible thing, it's always for them no matter if it has to do with their problem or not.

  6. Ok, your second one is terrifying. Your first? That one made me laugh. What your boy had to say to the doctor. Priceless.

  7. I really dont know how I would have handled the penis thing...too funny when he said it was his penis and not his neck

  8. Sounds like you got your hands full. Don't know how I would have handled the first one. I probably would have freaked out.

  9. Those are some interesting stories you have there, never a dual moment I am guess.

  10. I have to agree - not fun. Some of the rudest and most unfriendly people seem to be involved in the treatment of mental disease. Kind of begs the question of whether the field attracts them or if the patient experience drives them there.

  11. Holy Crap! These are both very scary stories ... and the others ones that didn't result in an ER visit are scary as well. Hats off to you for dealing with this and remaining sane. Though I love the comment "The problem is with my penis, not my neck."

  12. This Boy sounds like such a real boy! I love what he said to the doctor!!!! These are stories to tell him when he grows up..


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!