Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Today is Ben's birthday. He turns 6. He is my baby. My daughter, Riley, had her birthday in May, and Shelby celebrated her 7th birthday in June. We have one more birthday to celebrate this summer. Our oldest girl, Grace, turns 15 in August. There is a lot to celebrate in the summer time. I am just grateful that Ben got to celebrate his big day at home and not in the hospital.
Yesterday we were out running errands in Searcy (Arkansas) when Riley started whining that she had to use the restroom. Ben was heading into the men's room when he slipped in a puddle of water in the hallway of the restaurant where we had stopped to let them go. Man! That kid's feet went over his head, and he knocked his head on the tile floor...HARD! He started screaming and crying. He had a huge goose egg on the back of his head. I felt better about that, because I had heard before that if there is swelling on the outside of the head it means there is probably no swelling on the inside of the head. Good news, right?
I told him to look at me so I could take a gander at his pupils. It really seemed like one of his pupils was reacting faster than the other one. That startled me. We jumped back in the van and ran to the closest medical facility. It was an urgent care center close to the restaurant. I thought the place was to be used as overflow or an alternative to the emergency room. They refused to see him. For one thing my husband was not with us, and he had the his social security card in his wallet. For another thing they called his primary care doctor, and they told us to bring him over there. My husband, Shawn, was at an appointment. We were supposed to pick him up, so I had to interrupt his appointment to tell him Ben had an accident.
At this point Ben is just not acting like himself. He is crying that his head hurts and just acting lethargic. We get to his Dr's office, and are made to wait. And wait. The whole time I am thinking that if there really is something serious with his head, they sure don't seem to care. They finally take us back only to make us wait some more. Ben just leaning against me telling me he is tired and that his stomach hurts. The Dr comes in and looks him over. He seems pretty concerned. He said Ben really whacked his head hard and he thinks he needs a CT scan. He said the last time it happened the kid had fractured his skull. Not exactly a comforting thought.
They told us to take Ben to the hospital a couple of blocks over and go through admissions. They said they would be expecting us. Shawn doesn't handle this kind of thing very well. At this point he is being very vocal to pretty much everyone that he is angry we are waiting and no one is making sure Ben is alright. I am going back and forth between thinking he is fine because his eyes actually look normal now and he has not passed out or anything close and being afraid because he is acting so sleepy and keeps complaining he feels sick. I am not a doctor. I don't know how much is normal and what we should be concerned about. No one is telling us anything because no one seems to care enough to actually look at him.
We waited quite awhile before they took us to admissions. They had not received the orders for the CT scan. They called while I was there and was told they were faxed over. They told the clinic to fax them again. The whole time my son is laying in my lap like he can't sit up straight. He tells us he is going to throw up. So the admissions clerk hands me a trash can, and my son starts vomiting into it. So, he is crying and puking and scaring the snot out of me, and the admissions clerk only cares if our phone number is correct in the system.Shawn and I both wanted to scream at someone. We didn't. We were polite, but we were being treated like we were just stupid.
Finally, they took us up to X-ray for the CT scan. Still no orders. We were told to sit and wait. We kept having to wake Ben as he kept dozing off. He did not throw up again. Thank God. Finally, the orders came in and they took him back for his first ever CT scan. I am 38, and although I have had an MRI on my brain, I have never had a CT scan. He was a trooper. We waited a little bit longer for the results. The nurse (I guess she was a nurse. I am not sure) came back and told us that his results were fine and we could go home. We were relieved, but still didn't understand why Ben was acting so strangely.
Let me tell you, the exact minute that nurse told us he was alright, Ben perked up and started acting like himself again. It was startling and downright embarrassing. I discovered something about my son that I did not know before. He is very much like his maternal Grandmother. He is astonishingly like my mother. The moment he thinks he might be hurt he goes into stress and fear mode. He starts exhibiting the symptoms...until a Dr. tells him he is alright. Then all stress and anxiety leaves and so do the symptoms. In short, I think my boy is a bit of a hypochondriac. I think he is vulnerable to suggestion. The fact that Shawn and I were concerned about him being sleepy made him more sleepy. The fact that we asked if he felt queasy...he started feeling queasy just from asking him once...until he made himself ill.
We are just grateful he is alright. The goose egg went down over night, and he is very much himself today. In fact, he just came in the room to ask me when I was going to start on his birthday cheesecake. He wants cheesecake instead of chocolate cake. He also requested rainbow sherbet instead of ice cream this year. He sure is a great boy, and we are so humbled and grateful to be assigned as his parents. We learned not to ask him leading questions when he is hurt because he will take on the symptoms. Oops.
Here is just a funny side note. On the way to Searcy yesterday I was teasing with Ben. I told him, "You sure are a handsome fellow. I feel sorry for all those teen girls when you get to be a teenager, because they are all going to want to date you because you are sooooo handsome." I was playing around with my boy. Well, without missing a beat, he replies, "I know it. Even my dentist in Cabot is already in love with me. She tells me all the time." Well, now. Maybe I should scale back the teasing. Don't want some guy with the big head walking around the house. ;-)