Archive for January 29th, 2011

In Which Kid2 and I Spend 3 Hours Bonding in the Emergency Room

January 29th, 2011

(Blogs published at this time are riddled with loads of toaster errors and mistakes. They will be mostly corrected when brain is more functional)

I’ve been wanting to write this blog every since the “incident”, which occurred last Sunday night. However, my week has been beyond crazy. Hopefully, enough of these events are still fresh enough in my mind where I can retell the magic of these events.

Last Sunday, as I was preparing to hand off the autodj at the radio station to the next personality, it had dawned on me that Kid2 was a few minutes late arriving home from playing at a friend’s house. I did my best to remain calm and not worry that some horrible thing had happened to him, causing him to be late.

15 minutes before I was to hand over the stream, I heard the door open and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he had arrived home safely and in one piece. I continued on with my work, now relieved, freeing my brain from the distraction of wondering where the child was. That is when it happened. I heard what sounded like a child tumbling down the stairs, followed by the type of yell one would expect if someone, violently, fell down the stairs.

Without saying a word to the person I was currently in conversation with, I leaped out of my chair and ran to the door and opened it, expecting to see a twisted and mangled mess of a child. Upon opening the door, I discovered a child sitting on one of the bottom stairs, clutching one foot, nearly in tears and declaring, “I think it’s broken. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (insert with the passion of “KHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN here).”

Trying my best to appear outwardly calm, I asked, “OMG! Are you okay?!?! How did you fall?!?! What happened???!!!? SPEAK TO ME!” I’m pretty sure I failed at the whole trying to convey that I am calm, in order to keep the child calm in an attempt to keep him from spiraling into further emotional distress. He looked at me like I was a wee bit daft and responded, “Yeah… I’m fine… I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK IT IS BROKEN!! THIS IS THE WORST!” Suddenly, I became rather confused and ask him, “So you didn’t fall? Then why the screams as if you were dying?” He regarded me as if I had two heads and replied, “Didn’t you hear me?!? I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK I MAY HAVE BROKEN IT!!!!”, which was followed by the “jeez, you’re slow” sigh that teenagers give us.

Still not convinced that he was okay and not broken, as it sounded like a body fell down the stairs and not a laptop plus he was clutching his foot, I said, “Forget the laptop. Are YOU okay?” That was THE wrong thing to say. After having a meltdown as  a result the end of the world being nigh if he broke his laptop, he said, “I’m okay. I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house and limping down the stairs made me drop my laptop and I THINK I BROKE IT!”

Trying my best to get him to forget the laptop without actually making the mistake of saying those words again, I said, “Take off your shoe and sock and let me take a look.” He tried to tell me that it was fine, it was just a bit sore and swollen, that it was no big deal. Remembering that I had someone waiting for me, I told him, “Stop arguing with me and let me take a look at your damned foot!”

That is when I saw it: the swollen and already bruised mess of a foot. This foot once was a sweet, Flinstone type, baby foot. However, in the last year, it has begun transforming into a man foot, currently made more manly, as it was swelling and turning black. He kept trying to reassure me that all was okay with him, that the real victim was his laptop. That is, until I pressed on one of his joints, which caused him to exclaim, through a yelp, “Okay! Maybe my foot isn’t fine. BUT I THINK I BROKE MY LAPTOP!”

Trying my best to remain patient over his obvious misguided priorities, I informed him that we would be having to make a trip to the emergency room. I quickly ran back to my computer, got the next personality settled, arranged for someone to deal with the autodj in the event I was not back within 4 hours, arranged for a ride to the ER, told him to put his sock and shoe back on his foot and told him NOT TO MOVE!

I was hoping that it would be empty in the ER, for two reasons: 1) Nobody wants to spend their Sunday evening in the ER, especially if they are having to worry that their child is broken; and 2) Lupus + sick people with their germs in the ER = the potential for a lot of bad things. My hopes were quickly smashed to trillions of shards, the moment we arrived. The line to see the Triage nurse began at her desk and ended at the entrance to the ER and that is how it remained for hours. At one point, people were having to wait in line, outside of the doors. Instantly, I prepared myself for a very long night, as I knew he was not critical and there were people with rashes, fevers and coughs (making them automatically more emergent) in line with us.

Finally, it was our turn to see the triage nurse. It was during this time my brain nearly exploded, yet again, when I learned that his foot had been like that for THREE HOURS, before he decided to come home. When he had said, “I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house”, I thought he actually meant he just did it, not that he meant in the “it’s no big deal, it is only a hurt foot” new fangled way kids talk, sense. I think my head may have pivoted, or something, and I found myself asking him three times, “You did this 3 hours ago and you didn’t come home?!?” because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

The nurse proceeded to ask me about his allergies, medical conditions, etc. It tried my best to answer them, without looking back at kid2 and asking him the same question over and over. The entire time, my brain was overloading and doing it’s circular thinking thing, trying to assimilate that my child waited 3 hours before coming home, with his only concern being for his laptop.

The nurse finally cleared us from triage and waved us down to the registration desk, where I proceeded to instill into Kid2 that if any thing like this were to happen again, he is to immediately come back home. I must have told him, “If ANY THING like this happens again, you are to immediately come home” more times than I realised, as I was met with an exacerbated sigh and, “ALRIGHT MUM! I get it! Next time, I’ll come home, right away! SHEESH!”

Finally, we were able to take our seats in the waiting area and 30 minutes of failing to remain calm upon the realisation that my child has odd priorities, turned into magic.

He brought his iPod with him to keep him occupied during the wait. It was the first time I was ever happy that his dad had purchased it for him. He showed me all of his different apps and we discussed them whilst he played. It was a wonderful distraction from his hurting foot, the fact we were in the ER with what he was hoping was his first broken bone (something about battle wounds) and it allowed my brain to slightly distract itself from those who had fever, coughs and weird rashes.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, we were finally called in the treatment area. And that is when the real magic began.

We geeked out over so many different things. I also ended up learning a lot about the way his brain works during the process. We were discussing what he thought was better: Marvel or DC. This taught me that his brain works even more similarly to mine than previously thought.  Where I see the world as either “loud” or “muted”, he describes those things in “bold” and “flat”. An example of this is when he told me about his preferences and why. He told me he prefers DC over Marvel, not only because he thinks DC is more mature that Marvel but because DC is “bold” in his brain and Marvel is “flat.” He then told me that he sees most of the world as either “bold” or “flat” and he has a hard time describing things to other people, as those are the only words he can think of to illustrate it in any fashion. Immediately, I knew exactly what he meant when he said that and it was all I could do to not squee.

I have a hard time communicating the world to people, as I don’t really see my environment as “normals” do. It made me extremely happy that I actually got what he was saying. It made me even happier that he had someone he could describe the world to in such a fashion, who would just get it and nod, knowingly.

I considering him for a moment and I considered the situation. This prompted me to ask, “What would you do if you didn’t have a geeky mum? What would you do if you couldn’t share all of these things with me?” He replied, “I’d probably never speak because I’d have nobody who understood what I am talking about, especially when I have to use words like “bold” and “flat”. It is hard to talk with people sometimes.” Immediately, I understood exactly how he felt.

He went into his quiet place for a few moments. I considered him some more and asked, “Do you think you will have geeky kids?” He replied, “Well IF I have kids, I’m don’t really know. I would like them to be geeky so I can share with them like we do. But what if they’re not geeky, mum? How would I be able to talk with them?” I smiled and responded, “Well, I’m not sure if I’d worry about that, too much. I mean, look at you and your brother. You are both very individual people. However, you and your brother are my personality, split right down the middle. Your brother is my nerdy, scientific, overly rational side. You are my geeky, artistic, creative side. Yes, there are a few overlaps, but overall, you and your brother are me but split in half. Look at Auntie Catherine and your cousin. They are very similar as well. And I think you’ll marry an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” That is when things went sideways, but in a wonderful direction. Well, wonderful to me but I’m not sure what those, who were listening to our conversation, thought about it.

He looked at me and asked, “What if I don’t get married. Then I won’t have any kids.” I chuckled and replied, “You don’t NEED to get married. Okay, then. Let me rephrase. I think you’ll enter a long-term, committed relationship with an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” Mistakenly, I thought it was time to move on to the next topic of conversation.

Without pause, he asked, “Well what if I have sex with a girl who is delayed, mentally, the condom breaks and I end up getting her pregnant?” I responded, “I don’t think you’ll have sex with someone who has special needs. You are not going to be an asshat and take advantage of someone in such a fashion.” To which he replied, “But what if I get drunk, have sex with a girl who is delayed, the condom breaks and she gets pregnant?” With a mix of amusement and shock, I responded, “Well that is a asshat move and I didn’t raise an asshat who disrespects women in such a fashion. And if for some reason, that were to happen, then you’ll figure it out then. Regardless, the child will still be wonderful because it is yours and you are wonderful. Are you finished asking me the less likely scenarios?” He told me he was and he was ready to move to the next topic. (I think I taught him way too well to look at all sides of an equation and plan for all possibilities).

We continued discussing many other topics of nerd and geek nature, much the amusement of those around us. And then it was time for his x-ray and something else happened that I found to be so very wonderful and amusing.

As the x-ray tech was manipulating his foot and taking the films, she kept asking him questions about school and the sorts of things he is in to. He’d respond and then she’d turn to me and say, “Wow. He is so mature for 11.” Or she would try to repress a big laugh, smile to me and say, “Your child is such a doll. He is so well spoken and polite, especially for 11. I think he is great.”  The x-ray tech was taking the final film, when she asked him, “When I’m done here, would you like a sticker?” To my great pleasure and to her pleasure and amusement, he replied, “Nah. That’s okay. I’m not really partial to stickers. It is best if you keep it for the next kid.” She tried her best to repress her “awwwwh” as she gave me another “wow” and said to him, “Are you sure? They are glow in the dark!” To which he said, “Nah. Really. I’m okay.” She decided to tear one off of the strip anyway, walked over to him and said, “Look. They aren’t “kid” stickers. I think you’ll like this one.” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Okay. I suppose I’ll take it. I can bring it to school and brag to all my friends about how I had my first x-ray and here is the proof.” She tried her best to repress her laugh, but didn’t quite succeed.

We went back to the treatment area, where kid2 began to bombard me with questions about why I had to stand behind the wall with the x-ray tech. I told him that it was because it protects me from the radiation. A little bit horrified, he asked, “So it is okay for ME to be bombarded with radiation.. .me… a kid… but not you??” I repressed another laugh as I responded, “In normal circumstances, it is not okay. But these are not normal circumstances. Exposing you to radiation was necessary to take the x-ray. Had the situation been reversed and I needed the x-ray, you’d have been behind the wall during the process, in order to limit the exposure as best as possible.” With that, he breathed a sigh of relief and we were able to move on.

A little more time went on. We learned his foot was not broken, it was only badly bruised and sprained, much to his displeasure. (He was really wanting it to be broken). And just under 3 hours after arrival, we were able to go home, passing the still revolving door of walk-in patients.

I know I’m missing a lot of pieces from this story. However, despite the horrible circumstances surrounding the bonding time, it was one of the best times we’ve had in a while. Sure, we are always talking and sharing. Our days are spent exchanging geek banter. But that night we shared things on a level that we hadn’t shared in quite a while, allowing me to see him in a whole new light and gaining better understanding of who he is, how he thinks and just how amazing he is.

And I am glad for it.