Stating the Obvious

Do you ever find yourself saying stuff you just can’t believe you have to say? Things like “please stop giving scissors to your baby sister to play with” or “no, we don’t drink bleach because it is not meant for children”. Mama sometimes has to verbalize the completely obvious.

Would you believe that I recently had to provide instruction that children are not allowed to play with dead animals?

When we were in the hospital last weekend, my son was a bit of a medical mystery because of his unusual collection of symptoms. Being a medical mystery is actually great news because it means you are put in a private room where peace and quiet reigns. It was luxury living and a quick reminder as to why I keep having babies – my hospital stay is the best holiday I ever get!

Just as my request for a meeting with “Dr. House” was turned down, they figured out my son picked up a strange parasite. Just the word parasite reminds me that my life is destined to never have any glamour attached to it. What they were able to assess was that it was not your garden variety E-coli or Guardia. I don’t actually have a whole lot of parasite experience, unless you count pregnancy. I think it’s fair to say fetuses fall within the parasite family.

After some conversations with daddy-o, I was able to shed some light on the subject. While away at his grandparents’ farm, my son took up a project. Nothing makes me happier than a kid picking up a project during summer holidays. His project was a museum he set up in one of the barns. Each object was beautifully labeled and described. Sounds lovely, right? But this is where it ALL goes horribly wrong. He had created a museum of sheep bones.

Every day he walked the farm fields in search of decaying sheep. He would collect, wash and display the bones with great pride. He was resourceful enough to enlist the help of Sox, the trusty farm dog to go with him. Sox would have the duty of eating any remaining flesh or wool off the less-decayed sheep before my son would collect the bones. That can only be described as teamwork gone wrong.

So, I may not be Dr. House, but I’m thinking I may have cracked the case of the mysterious parasite!

I’m now going to include another instruction for my son’s “411 Wristbands” when he is not under my watch and I’m not there to state the obvious. Next time he is heading off to the farm, I will have printed beside his name: “please don’t allow me to play with sheep carcases!”

(The picture is of my son with some lambs. In a few years, they’ll contribute nicely to the museum!)

Shhhh…Don’t Say it!

It’s funny how just speaking about a subject makes it happen. I suppose that is why people often scan the room for some wood to knock as they are about to share some information. Well, it would seem that I should have been knocking on wood with one hand and typing with the other as I was posting the blog from last week about going to the Doctors. You see, I write this from my son’s hospital room.

Child presents with tummy bug which does NOT warrant a trip to the doc. There is no point in dragging a bucket carrying and pull-up wearing kid around town just to be told to try to get some fluids into him. But, as days progressed and he worsened, it was clear that the time had come. Besides, it was Friday afternoon at that point, so it was time to act. Everyone knows the medical system irrationally thinks people don’t need health care on weekends. Medical services aside, I’m currently suffering through no cable, no wireless Internet, and the shop that sells the celeb gossip mags is also closed. Why did his hospital stay have to happen over a weekend? Who is going to care for the care-giver??

Our doc closes up shop at noon on Fridays, so first stop was the drop-in clinic. I was instructed to head straight to the emergency room: do not pass go, do not collect $500.00. Number One Son was admitted so we needed some supplies from home, namely a change of clothes for me and a Nintendo DS for him. Daddy-o had four kiddos to put to bed so I did a quick inventory of my support network. One sister just left for overseas; other sister, SIL, and mother enjoying time at our cottage. Have I mentioned that our family cottage has no electricity or cell phone reception? No fancy city-folk cottaging for us. While we enjoy the peace and screen-free lifestyle, it does not come without some inconvenience especially at times like this. I phoned my 92-year-old Grandma who is a bit past running errands for me, but it was good to hear the voice of someone on my team. She readily provided moral support but also dashed any hope of being able to turn to my “Plan B” team of supporters. The Williamson family (the cousins who keep getting married) were all up at their cottage enjoying the weekend. More evidence that weekends are not the time to have a sick child. Needless to say, a nice taxi cab driver arrived at the emergency room with our supplies!

Why does saying something out loud turn into a mama’s nightmare? We’ve all experienced it – as soon as you start telling people your baby is sleeping through the night, it’s back to three hourly feeds. You mention to the daycare worker that your two-year-old is fully toilet trained and suddenly you’re back to several accidents a day. Even whispering “I have not had a cold yet this season” is enough to warrant immediate intake of Vitamin C and Cold FX.

So, the lesson is clear. Don’t say anything out loud since it makes bad things happen to good mamas. Pass the wood, I’m gonna start knocking.

Mama Medicine

At Mabels we have a couple of safety products that make a lot of sense. Our “Allergy Alerts” and “My 411 Wristbands” are a great way to notify folks that your kid has a medical condition or allergy. Clearly it brings piece of mind to mamas whose kids are going off into the world of people who just don’t get how severe an allergy can be.
I think that a severe food allergy would pretty much make me psycho. Strangely, I’m quite laissez-faire when it comes to other ailments. This is particularly obvious when I’m deciding whether something warrants medical attention. Clearly, I can’t run to the Doc for every runny nose or rash or I’d be doing nothing else. Fortunately I have a friend who has a TV medical degree – she has been a committed viewer of everything from St. Elsewhere to ER, and now Greys and House. As such, she’s well qualified to field my first call and when she does not feel confident in her diagnosis, happily refers me on to a professional.

My TV Doctor friend must be doing a good job. A couple of years ago I was called by one of those professionals to bring a kiddo in for a check up. Turns out, the Doc had not met that kid, even though she had been on the books for three years. Because I don’t immunize my kids, we seem to miss out on the early wellness check-ups so I generally have no clue about their growth rates or weights. While there is one kiddo who has an allergy to penicillin, I couldn’t tell you for certain which one without checking my medical files. Oh, and there was that time my son walked around on a broken foot for three weeks……ah well, as my MIL would say, ya can’t wrap them in cotton wool!

Some recent medical happenings with daddy-o got me thinking that maybe he’s inappropriately applying this laissez-faire attitude to himself in all situations. Most recently, several Specialist appointments and a couple of biopsies later, he was going in for some results. I left him with strict instructions to phone me at the office to immediately report on the findings.

No phone call came and when I finally got a hold of him, the phone conversation went like this:

Me: “So what did the doc say about such and such…..pause……oh, you didn’t ask that?”
Repeat that about five or six times. For every question, no answer.

I hung up in frustration and one of the Mabel mamas in the office shared some advice. First up, it’s nothing short of foolish to let a daddy-o go to a specialist appointment alone. She relayed that with her husband’s fair Irish skin, he has an appointment every year for an inspection of his ever-changing, growing, shrinking, appearing, disappearing moles and freckles. If she can’t go to the appointment, she pulls out a pen and circles every mole she wants the Doc to look at with the simple instruction “tell the Doc to look for the ink!”

Perhaps a new market for the “My 411 wristbands”: the beloved daddy-o. A wristband could be applied before every appointment with the instruction: “when appointment is finished call this number to field questions and give results”.
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