our war with a rock
just so unnecessary
and quite expensive
Yesterday was one of those days when mama had to get out of the house. The wee one had not stopped talking since the moment he woke up, the wee-er one was fantastically cranky because one of her top teeth was seconds from breaking through the skin, and the dog was a complete spaz because he’d hoovered up some cereal off the floor. (He’s allergic to everything in the world, and thus was having an attack of the Evil Raunchy Brown Ear Funk.)
So we went to the playground.
It was like stressed mama nirvana. There were kids for the wee one to play with, shade trees to keep us from melting, and my friend met us there, with her two kids, and baskets upon baskets of toys and snacks. The day was looking up.
Until I saw the wee-er one swishing something suspicious around in her mouth. I squished her little cheeks together to see what I could see and GULP, she swallowed. Then she cried. I quickly surmised she’d been eating rocks (that playground pea gravel is such a pain in the ass) and that I was mother of the year for giving her little puffs to eat when she could easily get distracted and grab a rock instead.
So she was crying – I guessed probably because the rock was big and it hurt as it went down her throat. Then she kind of coughed and burped and rocket-barfed her lunch along with quite a few rocks. Awesome. (Side note: before you’re a mom you never, ever think there could be a situation when you would not only stick your hand INTO a barfing mouth, but that you would sift through the barf afterward. But you do it. And you don’t even think about it.)
There was barf all over me, the wee-er-one, my friend’s blanket, and the playground. The wee-er one was still howling and that’s when I started to get really concerned. How many rocks did she actually eat? Did they all come out? If they didn’t, would they just come out in her diaper? So I called the doctor.
After talking with the nurse, she consulted the doctor, and they agreed we should take the wee-er one up to the Children’s ER for some high-res x-rays to make sure she hadn’t aspirated any rocks. Rocks in tummy = not so bad. Rocks in lungs = huge big freak out.
By this point, though, she had calmed down and was acting fine. She wasn’t coughing or crying or hacking or anything, so I hesitated to bring her to the ER with all of it’s germs, for us to sit there for hours while we waited to be charged a gamillion dollars to be told all was OK. I mean kids eat rocks everyday, right? Right?
I called the nurse back and asked to speak with the doctor so we could eliminate the literal telephone game we’d been playing. The doctor called me back and we had a lively (and friendly) conversation about semantics, and what exactly I meant when I said "cough" and in the end we decided to not take her to the ER but to wait until morning to see how she was. Apparently, with aspirated things in little babies it can take a week or so for symptoms to show up. Awesome, again.
This morning, I wake up and the first thing I hear is the wee-er one coughing. Then sneezing, then hiccuping, then coughing again. Now, she’s had a cold for the past week or so, and she’s been coughing every now and then to loosen up the gunk in her chest. But this morning I totally freaked when I heard the cough, so off to the doctor we went.
First, though? First I dumped out the wee one’s shoes so that I could bring along some of that pesky pea gravel. The doc asked if I had any handy, and lo, it was the first time I was glad to hear the wee one complaining about the rocks in his shoes. So I baggied the rocks, dropped the wee one off at school, and headed to the docs.
Once there, we got to be the subject of a fun experiment called, "What Are Playground Rocks Made Of And Will They Show Up On An X-Ray?" To answer the question, the doctor taped a couple of rocks to the wee-er one’s shoulder, alongside a paper clip (as a baseline) so that we could see what we were looking for in the x-ray.
The wee-er one was not pleased. Not only could she NOT eat the rocks taped to her shoulder, she wasn’t even allowed to try and eat them because I had to hold her arms still for the x-ray. The other x-ray tech held her legs still and sweet jeebus, she wailed like we had just told her Vernoica Mars has been canceled (it hasn’t been has it?).
Of course, the smallest rock that was taped to her didn’t show up. But the bigger ones did, and it was quickly surmised that none of those were in her lungs or belly. We were jubilant about our lack of F.B.s (foreign bodies, as referred to by doctor people).
We still don’t know about any tiny ones that may be in there, but the doc (and I) are pretty confidant that she didn’t inhale any and that her coughing is cold related. But we’re keeping an eye on her. And when she’s twenty and sneezes out a pebble that breaks her boyfriend’s favorite shot glass, we’ll have a hilarious end to our tale.
In the meantime, I’m going to invent a baby muzzle, have a drink and reflect on how pleased I am that all of these doctor’s visits are happening mere days after switching to our non-copay, high deductible health insurance. Sigh.
Kari: 1 (sort of)