A Mentsh Tracht un Gott Lacht* א מענטש טראַכט, און גאָט לאַכט
Friday morning, and the to-do list is pretty long. Shabbat comes in late in the Spring, so that list can include the usual preparations (cooking, cleaning, etc.), plus a lot of the spillover from the week -- several work projects, in this case. I would just get the kids on their ways and get down to work.
As usual, Blondini Boy pulled his wake-up-early-and-refuse-to-go-back-to-sleep number. But something was up. When I gave him his morning squeeze, he pulled away with, No! My tummy hurts.
Since he has been known to neglect that certain daily ritual, I wasn't too worried. I would encourage him to sit on the toilet for a few minutes, and all would be well.
Within ten minutes he was writhing on the sofa. He wouldn't let me touch him. He wanted his bed. He refused to walk upright. His face was pale. I took his temperature -- normal. I tried to feel his abdomen. He screamed in pain and then kept moaning.
Quick internal debate: Do I call ER this second, or first consult a friendly neighborhood physician to confirm I'm not overreacting?
The latter won out. I discovered that our friend G was on call at the hospital (I'd been afraid to call because I didn't want to wake him up after a night shift). He asked a few questions -- Is he walking with difficulty? (Yes). Is he willing to jump up and down? (No) -- and told me not to waste time, bring BB into ER right away. He would meet us there. I threw some clothes and favorite toy vehicles into a bag with my wallet, phone, and hospital ID, and put BB in the car.
On the road, I tried to keep my focus, a vast selection of scary scenarios competing with a the beautiful winding road I know so well from my morning commute. Appendicitis. Peritonitis. I imagined my little boy being called in for emergency surgery after being diagnosed with one of these.
Or worse: Neuroblastoma. Wilm's Tumor. Burkitt's. All those exceedingly rare childhood diseases that my work experience has long since deceived me into believing are common. (They are not).
Back in his car seat, Blondini Boy was looking paler and paler, his eyes nearly closed. The trucks and bicycles that normally grab his attention passed by without remark. My tummy hurts, Mommy, he groaned over and over.
Seven minutes from the hospital, he wanted to stop. Mommy, I have a pee-pee.
You're wearing a diaper, I told him. You can make your pee-pee right now. I hadn't taken the time this morning to change him out of pajamas, and now there was no safe place to stop along the road.
I have a pee-pee, and I want to make my pee-pee in the toilet.
He was insistent; he knew what he needed. We stopped in a parking lot at the entrance to a hiking trail along the road, where I offered a pee-pee in nature as the next-best option to a toilet.
Two liters poured out of him, and that was it. I peered into his strained little face and watched the tension drain away. Does your tummy still hurt? No.
Unconvinced, I pressed his stomach. Here? Here? What about here? (Not a grimace). Jump up and down. (Three jumps). Run over to that tree and look at the birds. (But I don't want to scare them!)
Soon, the color had returned to his face, and we were heading towards home.
Next week we'll be visiting our regular pediatrician to ask whether some organic problem might have gotten BB into this state in the first place. I suspect he'll tell me it's nothing. For now, I am relieved, thankful, and acutely aware of being safe and relaxed at home, as opposed to where we could have been, and still would be, now.
And if something like this every happens again, I'll try to keep some things in mind: Use caution, but try to stay relaxed and focused enough to check the obvious.
* * *
ALN: So tell me, what did we do this morning?Blondini Boy: This morning?.. We were going to the doctor, and then I made a pee-pee!
* * *
Yah, that pretty much sums it up.
* From the Yiddish: A man plans and G-d laughs.