Saturday, February 25, 2006

I wanna be sedated!

I actually joked with my future brother-in-law that a few hits of even mediocre pot would go a long way in taking the edge off of today. I had to settle for Lindor Truffles and a half a bottle of white wine.

All this past week, I had been getting more and more nervous about the MRI. John was telling me about how Heather Armstrong dealt with Leta's last MRI and the cracks she made about Leta coming out of the sedation. I remember being able to read some of the fear and anxiety between the lines. Last night at 2 am I was struck with the thought, "What if he has a reaction to the drugs?" Once that thought enters, there's little you can do to beat it back. I've gone on, "What would I do if _(insert name here)_ dies?" tangents before. Once when John was very late coming home from gaming one night I had actually gotten to the point of planning the menu for the funeral luncheon. Note: I'm really not that morbid or obsessive, it's just how I deal with worry sometimes Once those dreaded thoughts came up about Michael I couldn't even get past the soul-crushing blackness of despair. I even woke John up at 3 in the morning so I could cry.

We got a late start this morning and didn't get to University City until 9:30 (when we were supposed to be checking into CHOP). It was a nasty day. The sun was out and the temp wasn't too bad, but the 20 mph winds put a wonderful spin on things. I always remember a bit from James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series where the Yorkshire men refer to this as a lazy wind - one that can't be bothered to go around you. We stopped at Starbucks because for some reason freaked-out mom with a caffeine buzz seemed like a good idea. Michael's recently started saying "More" and making the sign as well when he wants something to eat or drink. Because of the sedation, he had to be NPO so that was one more heart-wrenching thing.

We get checked in, taken back. The IV is placed without too much trouble or screaming. They explained to me what drugs they were using and how they would be administered. They dimmed the lights and started. It was the scariest things I've ever had to do as a parent - watch my child be sedated. It was so heart and gut wrenching that words fail me. After he was out, I went out front to call my mom (and have a cigarette - I know bad, but I'm not apologizing for it today) and I just cried over the phone to her for 10 minutes. John and I grabbed a bite to eat in the cafeteria. In my freaked out state, my mind chose to focus on disappointment that the cafeteria used styrofoam cups instead of paper and to think about all of that waste taking decades upon decades to biodegrade and leaching toxic chemicals into the environment. They had cardboard disposable trays - would it be too much to ditch the styrofoam to make thing better for our children? I'm not one to go on those types of environmental rants, but today was a special occasion.

Michael received three different drugs - two tranquilizers (one was a close cousin to Valium), and phenobarb to keep him knocked out during the study. Normally, the phenobarb wears off pretty quickly (it was dosed to last about an hour), but the other two drugs will keep them asleep for a good hour more. Michael falls in with the 5% of children for whom this scenario does not work. They had to give him a second dose of one of the tranquilizers when he started to wake up right after the study was finished. I had to hold him, first on the stretcher and then in my arms until it fully took hold. He was arching and crying intermittently for 30 minutes, in a shallow sleep for another 30 and then a true sleep for almost an hour. During the arching and crying one of the nurses suggested that we offer him some liquids to see if that would help him settle. John and I had a tense second or so when Michael was choking. By the time the nurses rushed in, I already had him in the baby Heimlich - I forgot I could move that fast. It was what I needed to feel back in control, when the Mom gene kicks in and everything else is swept away while you do everything to take care of your child.

Since this is already too verbose and disjointed, I'll just sum up.

The nurse seemed aghast that I was planning on taking public transport home and tried to offer me a cab voucher. I've already broken the car seat rule once in a moment of "I can't handle one more thing so you make this decision for me." (John referred to it as pulling a Brittany) Secondly - the thought of an unrestrained, not drugged enough to be compliant but enough to be a serious hazard to himself-child in the back seat of a cab in Friday afternoon city traffic is way too far to go. We walked the 20 blocks back into town. No matter what, I had my workout today.

There is nothing funny about a child trying to walk after being heavily sedated, and if the parent tells you otherwise they are LYING. He couldn't even take two steps without falling. Take a look at this and you'll see what I mean. I panicked and called my sister to come over because there was no way I could handle this by myself.

I left the room several times while my sister was here and he didn't even make a peep, which is not at all what I was expecting. This either means he's fine or he's suffered some lasting emotional trauma that will take years of intensive therapy to overcome. It's probably the former, but I'm still in a bit of the mode that believes the latter.

He fell asleep in record time tonight and has not woken up once which has really freaked me out - I've gone in at least twice to make sure he's still breathing. Even though I have the bed all to myself tonight, I'm still going to sleep on the air mattress next to his crib.

Sorry for the length and ramble, it's been a day. Besides, how many All Creatures Great and Small references do you get to see? Yes, I've read the books, multiple times even.

My humble apologies to Strunk and White.