Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spread your legs please, thank you

I am in love with my gynie. That's my ob/gyn, not some alleyway romance I am having with the man in alladin's lamp.

He is the most charming, darling man. He knows my body well, asks after the silliest issues I have, listens to every ridiculous body related doubt I have, shakes his head and seems fascinated by whatever I have to say. And after all thes years, I've even come to terms with our conversations which we conduct in what most would consider unusual positions.

My ob/gyn and I hail from the same town--Bombay. He went to the same medical school as my mum. We once frequented the same haunts in the city. Lots to talk about. Understandably, I don't meet him for coffee or lunches to catch up. He's too busy to do that.

And so we do our catching up the ahem...examining table. Me sans clothes--I have that open gown that patients wear which strips you of any and all dignity--with legs firmly encased in stirrups. And the good doctor standing above me looking down with kind eyes and gloved hands.

Not a pretty sight for the uninitiated, but I assure you it has gotten not wholly discombobulating as it first was.

"Spread your legs please..." Smiling brightly, "so how is your handsome son?"

"Fine doctor, such a pleasure. Naughty, bright," I say gushing like any mum would.

"Work, husband?"

"Still unpublished, husband doing great."

My knees are starting to draw together. "Keep the knees apart for me please...I was in Bombay last week. The Taj Mahal hotel looks almost normal now. Am doing the pap now."

"Oh that's good," I say. Not commenting about the pap silly. The Taj Mahal hotel. Although having a regular pap is a must for those of you who think nothing's going to ever happen to you.

"They say they're going to build it back better than before. Ovaries seem fine. Good. good."

"Bombayites tend to forget the bad stuff and move on but they're urging each other not to this time...," I say wincing a little. "How about your son's wedding."

"They're getting married in California in the summer. Uterus looks fine." He laughs. "My sons gets used to the local trains in a matter of days and travels all over like a pro. I still fumble while getting into a crowded train. Old age, I when are you planning to have another baby?

"Soon doctor. I have fondish memories of the local trains myself."

He peels of his gloves. "Everything seems fine. Get dressed and we'll have a chat in my office."

See, and for this lovely exchange I sometimes wait a hour, maybe more. All this to hear his lively voice boom across the hall as soon as he sets eyes on me. "Ranjeenee, how ARE you!! Nice to see you."

I am in love with my gynie, you see.

Dysfunctional, you say? That word just about sums up most modern relationships, doesn't it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A not so funny trip to the ER

I sometimes forget that my three year old son is three. He doesn't talk like a baby, you see, unlike all his classmates, he has no lisp, is articulate and sounds rather sensible and I get taken in. I foolishly give him credit for a lot more than I should. Such as not taking the Tylenol off the shelf and gulping it down for kicks. I thought hey, I've told him not to do it. My son's sensible, he won't do it.

And sure enough, he does.

I walk into his room one morning and a part of the floor is sticky. Ok, what did I drop here, I wonder and don't give it another thought. He goes to school, I bring him back a few hours later and suddenly I see the Tylenol standing precariously close to the edge of his cabinet. Hmm...
"Did you by any chance touch this bottle," I ask.
"Oh yes," he says refreshingly still honest about his antics. "I drank some."
My heartbeat starts to quicken of course but I stay calm. This is my smart son after all.
"How much?" I ask.
On tiny fingers he counts off, "One, two, three, four five."
Sips, cups, gulps? No idea. Now he's confused and I am panicked. I grab him and ask again, This time he says he's had one cup. Then he changes it to one sip and yes he dropped some on the floor. He didn't want to waste it, hadn't I told him never to waste anything? So he licked that off too.

God bless America for poison control. I call the number and get a reassuring nurse. How much did he drink? No idea. How much was in the bottle before? To be completely honest, no idea. But it looks like he's had a lot since I have never given him much. "But its so unlike him," I plead.
"He's a baby," she says quietly.

And looking at my wide eyed son looking up at me, clinging to my leg, I have to agree.

At times such as these, my strong much more sensible husband is usually around to calm me down and help out with next steps. But this time he isn't. He's out of town. No need to panic, I tell myself. We go to Immediate Care but an hour later they tell me I have to go to the ER since I have absolutely no idea of how much he might have ingested. My son is being really really good through all of this, apologizing at regular intervals. "I won't do it again ma," he keeps saying until I am close to tears.

Ok, ER then. I start my car and begin driving. Never before have I felt so alone in my life as I make my way to the hospital. I stay calm on the phone to my husband so he won't panic. But I am in shreds. I tearfully look at my son sitting sleepy eyed (it's close to nap time) in the backseat and wish I had my mum and dad around, my brother. Someone who loves us.

Then luckily, suddenly, I think of that someone. I call my baby's adopted grandma, my dearest friend and start to sob. "I need you at the ER," I say and without question or comment, she says she'll be there in ten minutes.

And so I stand at the ER front desk, stoic, answering questions while my son is being examined. He'll need a blood test for liver function all that sort of thing, they say, so ordered by the doctor at immediate care.

The place smells of emergencies, big insurmountable problems, huge accidents, trauma, all that can go horribly wrong. But I stay strong, that is until my friend and her husband walk in with worried, loving faces. Promptly, I start to howl. My friend hugs me assuming the worst--later she tells me she pictured my son lying insensible somewhere instead of where he is really--laughing and chatting with a nurse who is taking his blood pressure behind the door.

She leaves most reassuring adopted grandpa with us while she has to run an important errand and just as suddenly, I am no longer alone in the world. "I'll wait here," he says. "Call me when you want me."

I take the boy backstage where I feel like I've walked into a set of well, ER. Not having been to one before, I am of course in an increasing state of panic. A nurse comes up to me and asks me what happened. I tell her and try to make light of the matter by saying that my son "fessed up" to drinking Tylenol. She looks me over. She sees standing in front of her a scruffy looking child of three and his scruffier looking mum in gym clothes with a puffer jacket, hair tightly pulled back in a bun and high furry boots. She's probably thinking I am some sort of gangster's moll instead of a straitlaced suburban mum.
"You mean he admitted to it," she says coldly.
"I most certainly do," I say, acutely aware of how she has characterized me by my idiotic choice of words and promptly switch back to more respectable language.
"If he does this again it might kill him," she says for added effect, even more coldly.
The ground just about gives under me. An orderly comes in, ties my baby down to the bed and they take numerous vials of blood for their battery of tests. My son is bawling and I am close to doing that too all over again when darling grandpa walks in with a joke and a tentative smile on his lips.

We're left alone and the air lightens.

We sit on the bed in an area closed off by a flimsy curtain with all sorts of activities and goings on outside. We cannot leave until the results come in. Two hours or so.

I hug and thank grandpa for coming. We start to chatter and talk about Christmas and new year which is still to roll around and next to our area is wheeled another patient. She starts to moan once the doctors have left her.
My son asks, "Who is that?"
A person in pain I think, wondering what must be wrong with the poor soul close by. My son's questions about her condition get louder and more persistent until her doctor walks in.
"Your stomach hurts because you haven't pooped in a great while," he says, not even trying to keep his voice low. "We are going to put a little tube in there and get it all out."
Grandpa and I give each other stricken looks. Not now is that tube going in right?? is the question that is in the air.
"So," the doctor continues, "you are also unable to pee and that is why your stomach hurts so badly. Once we get all the poop out, that pain will reduce." The poor woman moans in answer. Grandpa and I burst into a giggle.
"What's wrong with her?" my son persists.
"She cannot go potty," I hiss back at him at least happy to be able to provide an answer so he can finally lose interest in her.

The rest of the afternoon is further lightened and we spend the time glancing with some trepidation at the curtained area next to us. I sniff the air, sure that I am smelling all sorts of unpleasant intestinal nonsense. But it is just ER smell, I try and reassure myself.
"My sinuses are completely blocked," grandpa says. He has a poor sense of smell. Lucky him.

Two hours later, four hours since the entire ordeal began with my finding the pool of sticky medicine in baby's room, we're done, cleared of all this. Baby is fine. Grandma joins us and the fun and games continue. grandpa and grandma have a dinner that they offer to cancel. I promptly accept the offer.

The rest of the evening is wonderful. We have dinner, discussing the poor woman next door and my boy's short but no less traumatic tryst with danger.

This was the one time the only time in my life I have felt absolutely horribly alone, I tell my friend. Luckily that feeling only lasted fifteen excruciating minutes. Until you answered the phone.

In hindsight now, I'm glad I had this lesson. It has made stupid me finally accept that I need to stop trusting my child just because he seems and sounds so smart and do the things that keep babies safe from such idiotic accidents.

Until he's about twenty five or thereabouts, I figure.