Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The 2 AM Red Eye

Waking in the middle of the night with a 9 year-old who has a severe stomach ache, right in the spot where appendicitis would be is not what most people think of a 2 a.m. red eye. Let me explain what happened. Since he had been complaining of a worsening ache for quite some time, earlier in the afternoon, I naturally logged on to Web MD, typing in the symptoms and finding that, sure enough, they all did fit the scenario of a possible appendicitis. Or a number of other things, all of which are much less of an emergency. Being a mom, though, of course, I'm already running that worst-case scenario through my mind. (What if I am wrong and it isn't just a tummy bug?) I was a little worried. Ok. A lot worried. I told him at bedtime to wake me if it got worse.

Fast forward to 2 AM. He wakes me, says his tummy is much worse, he can barely stand up and walk, so I of course jumped out of bed and called the advice nurse. That took a while, since I dialed the number, got a recording which told me to dial another number-- I dial that number which tells me to dial the number I had just dialed. I guess managed care means that if you manage to get any care, you're lucky. I finally managed to get a nurse on the line, answered all her questions and she determined we were worthy to proceed to the next round: the emergency room.

Since most of our friends are sleeping at that time of night, we decided to wake the other kids and take them with us. The more the merrier, right? Meanwhile, Busy Woodshop Hubby is brushing his teeth, older brother is getting dressed, Wild Thing is getting increasingly more uncomfortable, and I am hurriedly getting the Princess dressed and gathering things together. We are trying to hurry, but at 2 o'clock in the morning it is not easy to find pants, a top, and two shoes. I was quickly putting in my contact lenses when my eyes started burning like crazy. I look at the bottle of my new solution and suddenly, I remember that the instructions say to keep the lenses in for at least six hours. Believe me, when they say six hours, they MEAN six hours. Apparently, the solution needs enough time to neutralize, and four hours just doesn't cut it. I immediately removed them, rinsed out my on fire eyeballs and decided glasses might be safer for now and quicker at this point. After a few times of running up and down the stairs, bumping into each other in the hallway, and taking the dogs out for a quick walk, we finally get everyone in the car.

We get to the ER, which is almost completely empty except for the guy with the horrid looking infection on his leg that we made sure not to sit anywhere near. We were confident that we would be helped in a timely manner, which, as far as an emergency room goes, we were. Wild Thing is taken back and has a battery of tests while I stay in the waiting room looking lovely in my nice red eyes and just-got-out-of-bed hairstyle. Somehow, it wasn't at all like you see on T.V. We wait for another little while, I read all the magazines, do puzzles with the Princess, fish around my purse for change for the vending machine, and then after all the adrenaline is used up, we get cozy in the chairs for a little 4 am nap. I look over at my older son and notice that in the frenzy of our getting out the door, he somehow had the presence of mind to bring his laptop. He's not one to pass up an opportunity for free WiFi, not even at 2 a.m. in the ER waiting room. Gotta love that brotherly kind of love, doesn't it just make you all teary eyed and all? I know it did me. Or maybe it was the acid I put in my eye.

In any case, a few labs and a CT scan later, we find that Wild Thing doesn't have appendicitis after all. Which is good, of course, wonderful news. So we're home now, BWH went on to his day job, The Kid went to school, I'm sitting here with my bloodshot peepers, the Princess is napping and Wild Thing? Oh, he's feeling so much better that right at this moment, he's sipping chicken broth and watching Spongebob.

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