No, I am not talking about the original hospital stay. I am talking about the one from last night. The one where I had to terrorize a security guard to get access to the children’s ER.
Okay, maybe I didn’t terrorize them, but I was scary enough to make them think that they would rather let me run loose in the hospital than see what I would do next if they try and make me sign in.
Nicholas woke up at three in the morning super raspy, like he did a few weeks ago when he was super sick. I got up with him, gave him the nebulizer treatments, sucked an impressive amount of boogers out of his nose, and went to work. Later in the day, my husband called me and said the he needed to see a doctor.
My father-in-law was nice enough to bring him there for me, and I met them at the doctor’s office after school. After a long wait and some albuterol, they told us that he was severe enough to be take to the hospital.
Leaving my car behind, my father-in-law started driving immediately to the hospital. My husband left his job, went home to pack us a bag, and would join us soon after.
To expedite his check in, he dropped the baby and I off at the door. Since I wasn’t sure whether the insurance card was in the diaper bag or my work bag, I lugged both bags and the car seat into the building. Something about “hulking out” on all of these heavy things made me feel like a beast. So, the security guards didn’t stand a chance.
The first one was on the phone, and I wasn’t about to wait for that nonsense.
The next one tried to stop me in my tracks.
“Ma’am, ma’am. You can’t go through there, ma’am.”
I looked right at her, and in my meanest, scariest teacher voice, said “I need the infant emergency room NOW.”
She dropped her clipboard to her side and pointed to some elevators and said “fourth floor.” When I got up there, I did get in trouble for not checking in, but at that time Nicholas was checked in, so I didn’t care.
After waiting an hour, we were called into triage. This is the moment where I realized that this was something I needed to write about. The triage nurse checked him over, and asked me if he had any other medical conditions than the ones he just checked for.
Until this moment, I hadn’t even thought to bring Down syndrome up at all, and I was proud of myself for that. I had forgotten all about it. We weren’t there for that, we were there because his chest was caving in when he was breathing and he was turning purple at times.
I replied “no, but he does have Down Syndrome.”
After we left triage, we had to wait in the waiting room for two more hours before we were seen. During that time, I was getting more and more mad. Our doctor made it sound like we were in an emergency situation, so anxiety was building up with me with each passing minute. I started to wonder if I could use his diagnosis as an excuse to get me in sooner. I know this was irrational, I hadn’t eaten or slept since the crack of dawn.
Finally, after we were called in, poor Nicholas had to endure a whole lot of torture, but he did not shed a single tear! The above picture is of him loving his nebulizer treatment! He also had this crazy vacuum thing used to suck his boogers out, and his temperature taken the “indelicate” way. He did nothing but enjoy all of the attention he was getting. We even had a visit from our friend, who is a nurse in the building!
I hate to say it, but it’s true. It was nice to have us all together in that little half-room. With my husband and I working opposite shifts, and only seeing each other on Sundays, it was nice to be all together even though the reason was not ideal.
When Nicholas was not improving after his treatments, the doctors ordered an x-ray of his chest so that they could see if he had a pneumonia. So, I went with him into the little room, put on the apron, and started to take him out of his jammies.
Here’s where the mommy-beast wanted to come out…
The x-ray technician wheeled over this thing, and said that Nicholas had to sit up in it and hold on to the front of it. I said I am not comfortable with that, because he can’t sit up.
“He can’t? Like at all? Why?”
I know that I am going to have to deal with things like this for the rest of my life, and I think I did an okay job this time. I responded by saying “well, he has Down syndrome, but even so, he is only eight months old.”
“Oh. Okay. Just lay him there I guess.”
As I helped her hold him still so the pictures could be taken, I wanted to say so much more, but I knew that once we left there, she would forget all about us and go on to do countless more x-rays that night. She shouldn’t have made me feel bad for him not being able to sit up yet. It was not her place, especially because I don’t feel bad about it. I am extremely proud of the gains that he has made in physical therapy so far.
She must be someone who is not familiar with Down syndrome, and she should know how to be more compassionate toward parents with differently-abled children. I had the opportunity to say that, but passed it up. I hope I can get braver and more understanding as my journey through motherhood continues. I didn’t want to yell at her (well, yes I did…), I wanted to educate her.
Maybe next time.
Of course, I want to say hopefully there won’t be a next time, but I know there will. I learned from connecting with other DS mommas online that kiddos are in and out of hospitals all of the time. So, I have to say it again. Thank you, moms, for sharing your journeys with the world. Knowing that you all go through similar experiences made me feel less afraid last night, and more prepared for whatever was to come.