Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How I Spent My Day (So Far)

This day. Oy. (ETA - This was started yesterday -- before I actually knew how the whole rest of my day would go...)

Slept through my alarm. Totally. Just didn't hear it. Running around getting ready before I wake up the kids & hear a moan... "Mooommmm.... my stomach. It hurts more than yesterday! More than last night!"

Last night I had found out the magical Pokemon Cure. You haven't heard of it? It's the one where you tell your ailing child that if he/she/it makes it through the week you will buy he/she/it a Pokemon Card on Ebay. It's amazing. Works wonders. Ears perk. Stomachs stop hurting.. or at least the VOLUME of the stomach ache is taken down a few notches... it's kinda, almost, all forgotten...

So I responded to the moan: "Remember... you make it through this week.... Pokemon!"


It was a tough morning, but relative to the ones I've been having lately... a piece 'o cake.

We make it out & up to the bus. I went off to work - although today I had to visit a client at a nursing home out in Brooklyn. This is the client who got the trach even though he had a living will that stated he did not want to be attached to any machines.

As I'm walking out of the subway my phone rings. It's X. Did I hear from Max's school? The nurse had called him (!!!!) to pick Max up. I said - No. Call them. Say he's staying at school. A roar from the other end of the phone: "I can't! It's crazy today! I can't do this!" I take the wimps way out & say fine. I go into nearby store & call the nurse. Max isn't there. As I'm on the phone with her the school calls. I talk to the woman who works in the office. Max came in with a teacher. His stomach hurts. It's been hurting for 6 weeks. If I do not come pick him up they will call an ambulance.

(It's been hurting for 6 weeks!?!? Really?!?! Well, watcha know! I had NO FRIGGIN' IDEA!) Gah!

I told her everything that has been going on: Three Doctors, One Pediatric GI, No stomach aches on the weekend, the professional opinion (from my shrink) that it does him more harm than good to bring him home... etc, etc, etc. She is sympathetic & transfers me to the.... Assistant Principal.

The Assistant Principal is probably the best person in the school. A very warm, kind, professional woman. I like/respect her very much. So, I tell her the same thing. She said yes, but the teacher was very alarmed. I explain how Max is VERY dramatic. She puts the teacher on the phone with me. I explain to the teacher. She sounds unsure but says "ok, I guess you have to do what's best..." I respond (just at the absolute total end of my rope at this point) that I do NOT have a crystal ball. That I AM trying to do what's best. That I have to rely on my instincts and professionals - all of whom are telling me that there is nothing physically wrong with him. I say that I am sorry if he is disruptive, but I'm just trying to do what is best for him."

I hang up and realize that I am in a Kosher store. I pick up some Kosher marshmallows, which are actually very hard to find. I tell the Hassidic man behind the counter that these are very hard to find. He very obviously could care less. I must go on, though, and say "I guess I haven't been going to the right places." He gives me a "please leave now" smile. (Kosher marshmallows are good for people who are veggies - since marshmallows have gelatin in them that's made from animals.

I went to the NH to see my client. As I'm walking I'm realizing I'm getting some funny looks from people. Then I remembered: I'm in Williamsburg. Brooklyn. This is an area that now is thought of as the young, hip area -- but actually still has a very large Hassidic Jewish population. And there I was. In the middle of it. They were looking at me. Wearing pants. Head not covered. And when I tell you that EVERYBODY there was orthodox/Hassidic -- I am NOT exaggerating. It's not often that a white woman has the chance to feel like a minority.... but I did.

Get to NH. See client. He is in a lovely private room. He has a tube attached to his trachea, a tube feeding him into his stomach, a tube draining his urine. He was awake but would not open his eyes. I told him we haven't forgotten about him. I told him we are trying to get him home. I told him that it is his choice if he wants to have the tube in, or not. That he has to think about it. He turns his head to the wall. I tell him I will be back to see him again.

I talk to the nurse who tells me they are weaning him from the vent. Three hours a day. But he is 87. It will take a long time. Then she says: "You know, we are a Jewish facility. We will not disconnect him."


Well, better (for me, I guess) knowing that from the start. I leave not sure how to feel about all this. What can I do? What did I do?

I take the subway back. I stop off at The Essex Street Market which is nearby but I've never been able to go to. I buy myself a carrot cake truffle and wonder at food's ability to comfort.

I get into work and promptly get a headache that I still have now.

Max's school calls. Stomach still hurts. I call sitter. Pick him up.

I talk to one child therapist who is no longer taking patients. She tells me she can hear the anxiety in my voice. She takes pity & gives me referrals for others.

I work. I leave to go on a home visit. As I'm walking to the client I call my house. I tell the sitter that she should still bring Max to Hebrew School. She says he's been laying in his bed for most of the time. I call J. I think it's just time to bring him to the ER. My Dad is actually at my house, I ask if he can stay. He will.

I go on Home Visit. Client is being terrorized by her neighbors. They yell when she puts on her fan. They yell when she puts on her tv. They watch her. She is starting to yell at them. From her apartment to theirs. They are starting to call the management company. She asks if I think she is crazy? I tell her. "Ignore them. If they yell - just ignore them. If they scare or intimidate you - just ignore them. They are bullying you. That's the best way to deal with a bully." She listens. She agrees. I wonder how long that will last and leave.

(Sorry this is so long. It was a long ass day.)

I go home. Both of my parents getting on my nerves. I feel like my mother is telling me that I need to do certain things with Max that I have not done yet. I do not want them to come with me to the ER. I call J. Please. Come. I. Cannot. Deal. Too much. He had plans with his sister. He says I will meet you there later. I had oh so many conflicted feelings: Don't ask him. Ask him. Do it on your own. Need him. Don't bother him. That's what relationships are for; it's no bother. He tells me to be quiet and he will be there.

We go to ER. Me. Max. My Dad. We do all the registration, the triage, etc, etc. Max is scared. He wants to go home. I talk to triage nurse who understands where I'm at. She's like listen: You can put in the time tonight & get the tests done, or wait another two weeks for a GI appointment. I tell Max we are staying. I have to stop the madness.

We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit.

J. comes with his sister. She teaches 3rd grade. She says that she has lots of boys with stomach aches. She does not even let them go to the nurse. I think I have to talk again to Max's teacher.

We go in. One Dr. checks him. Two doctors check him. (We're up to 7 doctors now, people!) He gets an x-ray of his abdomen. He pees in a cup.

He's... say it with me now.... Fine.

Except I have to give him a suppository. Yech. Nice to have another new parenting experience.

We go home. J stays over. We crash at 12:30. I wake up this morning with yesterday's headache raging... telling J I had a bad dream that we spent the night in the ER.

Max will be staying home from school today. I will be calling more therapists.


Family Adventure said...

Oh.My.Goodness. If all those doctors have seen him, you have to believe that he is fine. What else can you do? I think it's time to talk to the school, bring all your documentation and explain that physically Max is FINE. There has to be something going on at school....and they need to play a part in solving this now.

As for J. - I get the impression that he is there for you whenever you ask, but that you always hesitate to ask. Why is that? Maybe he'd be willing to carry more of the load if you'd let him?

I wish I could help, I really do...this is awful.


Julie Pippert said...

Babe. How can you get out of the wringer? You sound wrung dry. (hugs)

Poker Chick said...

I'm so sorry. That sounds like a really crappy day. I don't know how you do it, either, but it amazes me. You have....crazy strength.