Thursday, January 07, 2010

You May Not Want to Read This, but I'm Going to Write It Down

The Professor is now officially on leave. He has set up a system where he has to e-mail two colleagues daily at end of business with the total time he wrote that day. Yesterday he wrote 0 hours which he said was pretty heinous for leave. I told him that it was a "leather strap and brandy" kind of a day, which it was.
I'd had no sleep, staying up with Joss who was playing from 3:30-6:00am. Then he woke up to terrorize me all day, smashing a glass, throwing cat food around the garage, busting a beaded garland, etc. always one step ahead of me, making another mess as I cleaned up the last one. He's on antibiotics and the pharmacy was out of probiotics . . .
I took Sebastian in to the Dr. office to get his cast off. On the way there, at the intersection of Bulldog and Columbia Lane, he commented "We've never been to Check City. I want to go to Check City!" I explained what payday and title loans were and explained the usual clientele. He decided he could live without paying them a visit.
We thought we were just getting the cast off, but on arrival we learned that they would take the pins out as well. I had been trying for three weeks to figure out what this was going to look like, since the doctor said they were visible out of the skin. I also couldn't figure out how it was going to work removing them.
It occurred to me throughout the office visit that I had once again missed the medical boat and fallen completely for the euphemistically named procedure. I had worried about people having clean faces and bringing books to keep Joss entertained. I thought about how to pay the bill. I had completely overlooked the possibility of pin removal and what that actually means.

While there I realized that medicine is like missionary work. On some visceral level you know what is at bottom, but you think that with the technological advances/spiritual miracles it is going to go as smoothly as advertised. Time and time again we get blindsided when getting a shot/IV/stitches/tooth pulled/blood sample taken is horrific to endure or to watch; or when teaching someone about the gospel boils down to hours and hours of walking and knocking and shoe leather and rejection. That is how it works (at least that is how it worked in Western Europe; I love a friend's question: "what did you do when you realized the field wasn't white already to harvest?"). It is really miraculous that doctors can save people's lives/anyone ever gets baptized on the one hand. On the other hand, it doesn't feel so miraculous in the medical/missionary trenches. It often feels pretty grim.

So it was awful [and you should quit reading here if you haven't already]. There was an open wound through which the ends of two pins were supposed to be waiting. They weren't. Instead the doctor had to fish around inside looking for them. Once he found one, he had to draw the end through and then pull the other three inches or so out. They look like very thin titanium allen wrenches from the IKEA of hell. Sebi held onto the Dr.'s wife's hand (she is the Joan of the office, elegant and vivacious and the seasoned parent of 12) and cried and squealed. Dr. Mac tried to get the second pin out, but it wasn't as accessible and he didn't want to hurt Sebi even more, so he suggested we come back to the ER in two hours and he would remove the second one with a local anesthetic.
I got up out of my chair to talk to Sebi and got very lightheaded. Suddenly the Dr's wife said I looked green. Later she offered me the pin as a souvenir and I shook my head. Then out in the parking lot Sebastian was disappointed we hadn't kept it. In fact he was sorry we hadn't taken out the other pin right there in the office, so maybe it was all a big show on his part, but I tell you, it was gruesome-looking from this end.
So Rob came home and took Sebi to the ER again (by request, Rob is the chosen ER parent, and I can't blame the kids; I choose Rob for the hospital too! He is the master of distraction and an excellent medical advocate -- everyone should have a Rob in their corner). Unfortunately the anesthetic didn't work out as promised and the second pin was even more horrific than the first. The pain wasn't deadened, and Rob said even the stitches were an ordeal. He knew how many there were not because he looked (he doesn't fall for that) but because he heard Sebastian.
The good doctor was pretty unhappy himself by the end of it. In fact he called late last night just to check on Sebi, and his wife brought by a treat tonight -- she looked relieved to see him so well and nonchalant.
However Sebastian himself was full of swagger even as he walked in the door. As soon as Will was home from scouts he got to see the second pin. We watched some Phineas and Ferb, put away Christmas decorations, colored and had a quiet evening, and then Sebastian announced that it was time to collect on his promised set of Legos for bravery.
I took him to ToysRUs where, heaven help me, I would have bankrupted us to keep him from any more pins or needles or hospitals. He was leaning toward the $7.99 set, and I told him his bravery was more in the $39.99 range. He managed to find a vehicle that looks like it moves entirely on circular saw blades, which I guess is appropriate enough. Then I took him to In-n-Out, again, more for me than for Sebastian.
He appears fine now. He's much more comfortable without the cast or the pins, though he's kept an ace bandage on where the stitches are healing. He is more comfortable talking about all the parts of the procedure than I am. I hope only Rob and I are traumatized. And a note to self: when you open the boxes at the end of the year, don't freak out. Yes, we just threw everything in there without wrapping or sorting or organizing any of it, but it was a leather strap and brandy sort of a day.


Brenda said...

I hate dr. stuff, but I am feeling sorry for myself because after my surgery, hospital stay a couple of years ago no one took me to Toys R Us afterwards or brought me a treat.

Zina said...

It wasn't actually as bad to read as it must have been to witness (although it did take me quite a while to get around to reading.) I'm with Brenda, I want someone to take me out and spend money on me.

I actually grew to love even the hard parts of missionary work like knocking on doors and meeting people, even the ones who rejected us (it probably helped that Belgians are usually fairly soft-spoken in rejection) but the 6+ months I spent with companions who had psychological ailments that kept them from knocking on doors or teaching were very, very, very hard.