Alberta Children's Hospital. Photo Courtesy of Wold Architecture News (www.worldarchitecturenews.com)
So last week I wrote about how Drew’s lack of growth prompted the pediatrician to order an Xray and some blood work. I think the Xray was meant to determine if his bone growth was indeed an issue and the blood work was an attempt to find a cause.
Last year he went through genetic testing for Muscular Dystrophy to see if that could explain Drew’s extremely low muscle tone. This required him to have blood drawn. In the end he didn’t have MD but we still don’t have any answers about his muscles. But life goes on and that was a year ago. Now we had to face the idea of needles again. He was so incredibly unimpressed with having to go back to the lab. It took all week to warm him up to the idea and I resorted to bribery just to get him there.
On the day of the trip which was last Friday he was remarkably calm. This from a kid who had spent the entire week freaking out if I even brought up the topic. Now he seemed fine. This is what they probably mean when someone says it’s the calm before the storm. Little did I know we were already in the eye of the hurricane.
A calm moment for the kids who are sitting infront of the photo mosaic in the front entrance to the hospital.
Everything was going so well. He was happy for the car ride to the hospital. He was good into the parking garage and he even sat nicely while we checked in for the Xray. I figured the Xray would be the easy part so we’d do it first. Somehow I must have known that we’d be in no shape to do it afterwards. Got that done and it was so quick and easy. We were doing so well. Yay us!! So off to the third floor we went.
The lab was wall to wall people which wasn’t good. I figured Drew had that much more time to recall the horror he felt and hear other children crying. But when the first baby came out screaming he hardly noticed. Only a quick glance away from his iPod game and then back he went to playing. After a little while a friend of mine came in with her two little guys so the time passed quickly for me as well. We probably waited close to an hour but even when his name was called Drew was okay.
“Wow” I thought, could all the preparation and a full year of maturity be just what we needed? Yah…..the answer to that is a big fat NO!! The instant Drew walked into the room and saw the chair we were starting up the rickety tracks of a roller coaster ride. As if strapped in when you suddenly realize what a stupid idea this was we click, click, clicked up to the top of that first drop. At this point Drew started hyper-ventilating. This would come into play in a little bit. He was clearly fearful and started saying “I don’t like this” over and over. Initially I had asked Camryn to wait in the waiting area knowing that my friend Mel was there and that she would be fine playing her iPod. It was at about this moment that I realized she had followed us into the room. So now I had two kids, one of whom is panicking and the other is scared but not sure what she needs to be afraid of. However I couldn’t really deal with Camryn at that moment because Drew was so upset. I quickly told the the lady that Drew had nearly fainted last year and so she had him lie down on the bed.
Okay apparently she’s never worked with Drew or a kid like him before. He did climb up on the bed bless him but I think to say he laid down would be a misrepresentation of the facts. It was more like his bum was on the bed and he was sitting in a V-shape because there was no way he was going to relax. So after some attempts to sooth him we gave up on the bed and I sat in the big chair with him on my lap. We had done this last year and although I can’t say it went great then either he did okay with it. He was still hyper-ventilating but I managed to talk him down from the state he had been in. He was able to slow his breathing down for short periods of time. While I did this a second lady entered the room to help. But when the needle went in and the screaming started a third appeared to closedthe door. I assume we were scaring everyone.
That was just too much for Drew. Now he was trapped and the panic got worse. He did his best to cooperate and I have to give him credit for keeping his arm still despite being absolutely terrified. Finally it was over and he realized that he had gotten through it. Last time he jumped up right afterwards and had to be caught by the two women in the room as he almost fainted. This time I kept him on my lap for a few moments. However the lab was busy and the next family had been brought into the room. So we picked up out disheveled selves and started moving ourselves out. Drew immediately felt faint and we were told to have him sit down on the floor which he did. We waited several minutes as he continued to cry and turn ghostly white from breathing too quickly. Eventually I got him calm enough to walk back into the waiting area. It was a little less busy by this point and he laid down on the couch as he had done the previous year. Within a few minutes he said he was feeling a bit better so I had him try sitting up.
Yah…..wrong move Mom.
Soybeans. This is what poison looks like in our house.
Now for those of you who don’t know Drew personally I should tell you that he has a strong intolerance to soy and since soy is in virtually every kind of processed food there are lots of nights that Andrew pukes his guts out. Birthday parties, well intentioned moms who bring tempting cupcakes to school, or even a change in the ingredient list of our so called “safe” foods can trigger Drew. So he’s become very good at knowing when he needs to throw up and also getting to the bathroom on time. Camryn on the other hand is the kid who sits up in bed and throws up all over herself before she realizes what’s going on. Drew is just well trained for this.
So there we were sitting on the rounded bench seats in the waiting area with 11 other children and parents when Drew lifts his hands to his mouth and pukes right through his fingers. Being that he has Autism he isn’t really aware of how horrid this is for the on lookers or that maybe trying to run to the garbage can or washroom would be a good next step. So he sits there for heave number two as well. I’m not sure if I’ve ever moved so fast in my life but I just jumped up once I realized what was happening, grabbed Drew by the shirt and hauled him to the garbage can…..which I might add was right in the middle of the room. Hooray, an audience!! Drew being unaware of the disaster unfolding around him lets his pukey hands drip vomit from the seat over to the can creating a yucky mess.
Of course he didn’t mean to do this but he suddenly yells out “Eggs. I see the eggs I ate today.” Yes sweetie…I’m sure everyone needed to know that. I managed to avert my eyes from the 11 people who were watching in horror as this unfolds. Drew stands up from the garbage can and says I think I’m done”. Knowing him so well I tell him to stay by the garbage can in which he promptly starts puking again.
In the meantime Camryn is blissfully playing her iPod as if nothing was going on at all. She was entrapped in the arced line of vomit from the chair to the garbage but there she was just a swinging her legs and pressing buttons. Meanwhile the entire waiting room is fixated on Drew and the disaster that is unfolding. New families are streaming into the room unaware and I am frantically trying to go between keeping Drew from passing out into the garbage can and steering the multitude of strollers around the puke on the floor. ”Housekeeping is on it’s way” one lady says reassuringly. The other lady is desperately trying to move people past Drew whose legs are blocking the walkway. Does anyone bring me Kleenex or paper towel? Nope. The first woman comes back with apple juice of all things. “Have him drink this. It will help” she says. What? Is she kidding. The last thing you give a kid who is currently projectile vomitting would be more fuel. Give him a sip so that he can then yell “I see the apple juice and the eggs I had today”?
So I call Cammie into action. She proved to be an excellent little helper and brought me paper towels….one at a time mind you but she was trying to help. After Drew was finished we wiped ourselves off enough and tried to slip our without much fanfare. I think we had had enough of a spotlight for my liking. I apologized profusely and thanked the poor man from housekeeping who was now mopping the floor. Drew’s clothes as well as mine were covered in splatter and his eyes were puffy and red which were in stark contrast to his chalky skin tone.
Drew showing his arm after removing the Band-aid. You'll notice the lack of blood letting bruising. Amazing isn't it?
As we were walking out of the building to our car and me still holding his arm to make sure he doesn’t pass out, he says “that wasn’t as bad as I expected”. Really Drew? You actually imagined worse than this? I have puke under my finger nails and in my hair Dude!! I love you but are you serious? Then as we are driving home he reminds me that I had promised them ice cream afterwards. Here we had single handedly eliminated the need for a half dozen families to eat lunch and he is thinking about ice cream? But he was right. I had promised them we would buy some on the way home so off we went. Thankfully I had baby wipes in my car and so I cleaned my shirt off the best I could. I probably smelled like a mixture of baby powder and pukey eggs as I ordered 3 ice cream sundays. Truly awesome fun. I recommend it.
Let’s see all you typical parents handle that!!