(I would call it a rookie mistake, but the rookies overpack.)
The story begins on Tuesday night.
“My leg huts,” AM said from his perch on the couch.
“Show me where,” I said. He pointed to his right knee. I examined for blood, a cut, a bruise, anything. There wasn’t a specific incident I recalled during the afternoon or evening, but of course there had been some Sibling Wrestling and Rowdy Bathtime Sports That Involve Lots of Cleanup. (Par for the course; sometimes there is collateral damage.)
“Ok, sorry, honey. Let’s go to bed.”
And he did. And two hours later was up crying. And another hour after that. He came back to our bed, where he lay awkwardly and began to cry whenever he shifted his body or I accidentally touched his right leg. At around 1 am, I turned on the overhead light to look for *something* and was beginning to think we should have gone to PM Pediatrics when we had the chance. More wiggling, more crying, and no sleeping. Finally I eased him on top of me, so there was no weight on his legs, and he began to drift off. But I can never sleep on my back, even under the best of circumstances, so sleeping on my back with a 28-pound weight on my chest and torso was so not going to happen at all ever. I passed the buck to Taxman, and the two of them snored quietly together for a while before there was more crying. I fell asleep for the first time at around 5. At 5:45 I got up to go to the gym. Why? Because I had skipped Tuesday due to an interrupted night of sleep. (Ha!)
Wednesday morning, AM refused to walk, pretty much. When I made him stand (under protest), his right knee seemed a little swollen. I wondered if I could get him an appointment that day with my orthopedist–his X-ray tech is so incredibly nice, and I knew that AM would need some TLC in that situation. But I waited until 9 and spoke to the nurse at the pediatrician’s office. “He’s in a lot of pain,” I explained, “should I take him to an orthopedist for an X-ray?”
“We want to see him first,” she said. “Can you be here at 9:45?”
“Um, sure,” I said.
Then I scrambled to shower, dress (him and myself), cancel my 10:00 coffee with a friend, and get in the car by 9:25.
I did that.
What I didn’t do was think beyond the next hour. I had a snack for the doctor’s office (a banana), a diaper (in case), and a deck of cards (to play Go Fish while we were waiting in the exam room).
We rarely get our doctor (it’s a four-person practice) for sick visits, but she appeared and smiled. “Hi, AM! Hi, Kate! How are you?”
“Oh, he’s got a bum knee, was up a lot last night,” I explained. “I…got 45 minutes of sleep. I think that’s a new low, even for me. I could really use a drive-through Starbucks right now.”
“Do you want me to come? Medically necessary, I think.” (She has a long-standing admiration for my prowess in the “dealing with life when sleep deprived” department.)
But joking aside, she examined AM and posited a few theories about what was ailing him: infection, sprain, a virus. “I’m going to send you over to HospitalWhereHeWasBorn for an X-ray and some blood tests.”
“Oh, now? Ok. Sure.”
As I walked out, I started panicking. I was Not Prepared for a hospital visit and its attendant waits, particularly because the banana was gone. But I needed to go to try to figure out what the hell was wrong with AM, and to go home and back to the hospital (four minutes from the pediatrician’s office) didn’t make sense.
I pulled into a parking space near the hospital, but then reconsidered. I know the small town I was in from lots of summer visits to a wonderful playground there. I drove to the shopping area and wrestled AM into his stroller. We dropped by the bookstore and bought two Clifford stories. ($8.04)
We stopped by an overpriced health food store for snacks. ($8.72)
I looked longingly at the Independent Coffee Place, but I really did need to get to the hospital. And I had no place to put a hot beverage.
We whizzed through admitting. (Score! He was in the system from being born there!) We waited in the lab as a bunch of techs stood there ignoring us (were they on break?). AM ate chocolate sandwich cookies for lunch. He screamed through the blood draw and the X-ray, hurting, exhausted, hungry, and scared.
A few hours later, as AM was snoozing his way through a dose of children’s Motrin and a marathon nap, our doctor called to tell us everything was fine*, it was probably a virus that had settled in his joint. “It happens sometimes,” she said, “and it really hurts. If he’s not getting better by Friday, call me.”
And it was fine. He got up, ate something, and played. Squatted, crawled, and by evening was running up and down the hall.
Me? I’m still tired.
* The Lyme test takes a couple of days, but since the child has not been outside for more than 14 seconds at a time in weeks, we couldn’t imagine that was the answer.