WARNING: This post has nothing to do with Down syndrome. If you read this blog only for it's Ds content, you may skip this post entirely.
If you have a large family, you may relate to the story I'm about to share. If you don't, you may think a call to CPS is in order. When we set out to have a large family, I had visions of the families that grace the cover of the homeschooling magazines, with all the children in matching outfits, gazing adoringly at their calm and sweet-spirited parents, ala the Duggars. My reality is um, a tad different.
We have been dealing with coughing and sickness in our home for weeks. The only time my kids will share without coercing from me is if it's a virus or bacteria. They share those really well. A few of the kids coughs seemed to be worsening, so I finally called the doc. Eon was only a little congested, but his bradycardia alarm on the apnea monitor had been going off every night for a week, so I took him in for good measure, too.
Unfortunately, one of the sick kids just happened to be my oldest, who also happens to be my babysitter when I need to run to a doctor's appointment with one or more of them. Which means, I wasn't just taking three of them to the doctor, I was taking all six of them. Ben, 4, had speech class right before the appointment, so we raced home from there to pick up the rest of the crew.
I didn't think to actually look at any of them, I just ushered them into the bus, er, van and away we went. Our appointment time was 2:30, or as we like to call it, naptime. All three boys still take naps, which is fantastic...unless we have an appointment at that time. We waited in the waiting room for a half hour which gave me ample time to realize that Tali, 5, had oatmeal from breakfast stuck to her shirt and ketchup from lunch smeared all over her pants. I also noted that she had apparently taken scissors to the knees of her jeans. Her hair remained unbrushed. I didn't bother to look at her teeth.
Zak, 2, sat kind of glazed during that time, but just started to get his second wind when the nurse called our names. As we all ushered into the tiny exam room, four of the kids noticed the small bench with ample seating...for two. They immediately started jockeying for position with lots of elbowing, yelling, and a little pinching while I was trying to give the nurse the histories. When she took Zak to get his weight, he started screaming and refused to climb on the scale. Big sister, Michaela, 13, bravely showed him how it's done and he reluctantly participated.
Back in the room, Zak, Tali, and Ben discovered the stairs to climb on the exam table. They had a great time climbing up and jumping off....over and over again, complete with war whoops with each jump. Ellie, 9, took it upon herself to corral them, until one of them bit her! Of course, she erupted into tears just as the doctor came in the room.
He asked me to repeat the histories all over again (why do they do that? Why must I share it the first time? Why did she write it all down?). I am hissing at the children to "sit down! Be quiet! Get off the floor! LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON, BENAIAH!" in between answering questions about coughs and fevers.
Finally, he examines them. Eon's up first and I'm told that the child I brought in as an after-thought is "really sick" and needs a breathing treatment right there. Zak's up next and is really ticked when I have to hold him down to be examined, so he kicks me and calls me, "stupid". Nice. His left ear looks great, but the doc needs to clear the wax from his right. He proceeds to do that, and pulls out...a fruit snack, at least a partial one. Sigh. That kid has a complete fascination for all the openings in his head. Thankfully, I learned a long time ago the secret to removing foreign objects from a nostril without a trip to the ER. Otherwise, we would be on a first name basis with the triage nurse.
Michaela complains of a plugged ear during her turn, so the doctor jokes that maybe Zak stuffed something in it when she was sleeping. Oh, he's hilarious.
The chaos continued as the nurse hooked up the nebulizer machine for a breathing treatment for Eon and informed me it should only take about 15-20 minutes...in the little-bitty room...with six children, three of whom still hadn't had a nap! Eon wailed during his treatment which just added to the fun. Before he stepped out, the doc mentioned that he was sending us to the hospital for chest x-rays.
I panicked and tried to call my husband for reinforcement. No way was I about to have a repeat performance at the hospital! My blessed husband informs me that he can't really hear me above the machine, Eon's cries, and the fighting of the others, but he'll call me in a few hours when he's at a stopping place on this job. Ack!
Breathing treatment ends, finally, and the doc returns with the scrips for the x-rays. He has the nurse take another reading of Eon's O2 sats, and finds they are only 91%. She keeps trying and he's talking about sending us to Riley Children's Hospital and I'm thinking, "No. stinking. way." Eon is happily shredding the paper chuck he's sitting on while the machine drops to 88%. I mention that perhaps it's the machine. Thankfully, the nurse is smart enough to move the monitor to his hand and it magically increases to 96%, where I immediately take it off of him before it has a chance to drop again.
Finally, they let us leave and I find that it's now 4:30. We have been there for TWO HOURS! The boys fall asleep as soon as their car seats are buckled. My dear husband calls to tell me he wrapped up his project early when he heard the distress in my voice. I'm able to drop off my problem children into his capable hands.
I call my sister, share the whole sordid tale, and admit, "The only thing that seperates us from white trash is that they all have the same father...and I'm married to him."