Saturday, March 29, 2008

Watching My Son

The reaction to being stuck is not all a physiological effect. There is a strong psychological component as well. I lay this partly on the workings of my very vivid imagination, but mostly just the way some high stress situations affect my blood pressure. Now when I get pissed off it goes through the roof, but some other times it bottoms out. Like being stuck with a needle or some other things. Of course, when you combine it with actually draining some blood it makes it worse. It does not take a needle to get the affect, though.

When our son was three he was having frequent bladder infections. After a few trips to the pediatrician and some trips to the urologist, there came a day when we went for a test for reflux from his bladder into his kidneys. This meant having a catheter inserted, his bladder filled with an isotope-laden fluid, and pictures taken to see how much it made his kidneys glow. Yeah. At three years old.

Our daughter had been through the same thing a few years before when she was also three. The routine then had been that the parents were banned from the imaging lab. The idea was that it was better for the child to hate the doctors than the parents. We hated that, but the choice was do the test their way or not do the test. By the time my son was put through the ordeal the plan had changed so that the parents were encouraged to be with the child to help calm him. Much better for the child and the parents in my mind.

Mary was sitting at the end of machine stoking Nelson's head, talking to him and trying to keep him calm. I was squatting at the side of the machine holding his hand doing the same. We had given him the basic run down of what was going to happen so there it was no surprise when the doctor started up with the catheter business. He was not a bit happy about that though. He did not cry or squirm away or anything. He just looked at me and said in a kind of tight voice, "Daddy that's bothering me." Over and over.

The doctor and his assistant were having some trouble getting things just they way they wanted. Then the doctor said something like, "Oh well no wonder it won't go into the bladder. The problem is that this catheter is too large. You have to take that one out, get a smaller one and we will start over."

About that time a medical student that was assisting asked me if I was OK. Mary asked if I was alright, too. I told them I was a little light headed, but would be fine. It was just thinking to hard about tubes being pulled out and then shoved back in while my three year old son was telling me over and over, "Daddy that's bothering me" but otherwise not putting up any fight.

They finally got the right tube in, filled his bladder with radioactive juice, took pictures of it going unnaturally far up into his kidneys proving that the little valves did not work worth a damn. Somewhere in there the med student suggested I should sit down before I fell over. I declined saying I was staying where I was until the procedure was done and Nelson was calm. Which I did, fuzzy headed and woozy as I was. As soon as they had finished taking pictures and draining his bladder back out, I told him I was going to go sit in a chair for while and he said that was OK.

I stumbled over cords and cables, around a nurse and my wife who both helped me plop into a chair that was nearby. Nelson tracked all of this by swiveling his head around to watch as I made my way. As soon as my butt hit the chair I was out. The rest of the tale comes to me from Mary.

My head flopped forward, I slumped in the chair, and the medical student caught me before I fell out of it. I was not breathing or was breathing very raggedly. She was getting a bit panicked by this. She asked the doctor if she should call for some more help. The doctor was all calm about it and told to her to just hold my head up so I could breathe. She did, I did, and then I came around.

All of this kept Nelson distracted while the doctor de-tubed him and cleaned up. By the time I was conscious again he was ready to be up. He sat in my lap and we comforted each other for a while.

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