Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday night

Sorry I couldn't come up with a better name for this post. It's been that kind of a weekend.

Thursday's ER visit? From the perspective of today, it was nothing. Iyyar was limping. He was holding his foot funny. I got worried--it didn't seem to hurt him a bit but he was positively hobbling. I called the pediatrician and talked to the nurse, who said to bring him in in the morning. Ada, Babysitter of Amazingness and Inexplicable Baby Voodoo-Master, was consulted via email from her day (well, night, really) job at the local children's ER. Might be a toddler fracture, she said.

Hmm, I thought. If I wait till the morning, take him to the pediatrician, he gets sent for an x-ray, then if it needs a cast... it's going to be all day, and I'll have to either take the baby to the ER (no way) or leave him all day (no way--he still won't take a bottle from anyone other than Ada, cf. Inexplicable Baby Voodoo-Master, above.) What to do? Well, since Ada was actually working that night, the most reasonable course of action seemed to be just taking him to the ER for x-rays after Avtalyon had gone to sleep.

Which I did. Iyyar, for the most part, had a great time--he got to see Ada, he got to play with toys, he was plied with Bamba which he happily piled into the vomit basins conveniently provided, he pulled ear-probe covers out of their dispensers and discovered a DVD player with buttons within his (carefully supervised) reach. There were stickers. There were fish tanks, one with an actual shark. We got, thanks to Ada, total red-carpet treatment, and she hung out with us as much as she could sneak away from her desk. Iyyar was delighted to be reunited with his buddy; I had very little to do but trail along after them hauling the carseat.

And then there was the x-ray, which was less fun, but! Ada helped! and there were bubbles! Note to self--spring for the additional cab fare and use more distant children's ER if any further ER trips are necessary. Especially if it's Ada's night on.

Verdict: no break, it's probably muscular, keep an eye on it and bring him to your pediatrician if it's not better in five days. Ada was bidden farewell ("Right back? Rika right back?") and I tried not to feel too much like chopped liver, we took a cab home and Iyyar passed out in the back seat.

All in all, no big deal.

Fast-forward to Friday morning.

I was sitting working, the kids were with Asnat, and I heard the door open at around 10. It was MHH. What's up with that? He's supposed to be at the beit medrash, preparing his d'var Torah for the Shabbaton tonight. He came in--staggered, actually, and stood there, swaying. I took a look and realized that he was a) gray like dishwater, b) sweating profusely, and c) looking really, really ill. "I don't feel good," he said, unnecessarily. "Go eat something," I said. "Did you eat?"

"I did eat!" he said. "I had some heartburn this morning, so I took a Prevacid [he takes it for reflux] and then I had breakfast and went to kollel. And then I started really sweating. I thought I was going to throw up. Now I feel really nauseous. And really tired. I'm going to go lie down."

Nausea... heartburn... profuse sweating... dizziness... gray... fatigue...


"I think we're going to the ER." I said.


"Let's go to the hospital."

"That's what Marvin said."


"Marvin at the kollel. He wanted to take me to the ER. He said I was dia... diaphor..."

"Diaphoretic. Sweaty."


"Well, let's go."


"Because you might be having a heart attack. I'm calling a cab." I called the cab, picked up the sleeping baby to give him a top-up nurse, and we left.

We got to the ER and boy there is nothing like coming in with that list of symptoms to have them swing you right past everyone else in the waiting room and get you hooked up to a bunch of machines really really fast. The EKG looked fine, his heart sounded fine, and he was looking distinctly better. "Do you still feel sick?" I asked him, an hour later, as he was hanging out on the gurney in a hospital gown covered with stickers and wires. "Um, no," he said. "Just really really tired."

The attending came in, and explained that while they were sure he had not had a big heart attack, he might still be having a little one, and they would like to admit him, do two more blood tests six hours apart, and then put him on a treadmill in the morning. Which would be Shabbos. MHH looked horrified. "You're staying," I told him. He called his local rav, asked a few shailos, and that was that.

Did I mention that my cell phone was not working? No? Well, it wasn't, so I was checking in with the babysitter with the ER phone. I called myself a cab, waited until MHH was back from getting a chest X-ray, called a few people to find someone who could run food, clothes, and Shabbos supplies back to the hospital, and then went back home. Starving baby, worked-up kids (especially Barak, who, remember, had seen me disappear to the hospital with Iyyar the night before), and... you have GOT to be kidding me... no electricity. Which meant no phones, because we have VOIP.

No food, no power, no phones, a whole bunch of people to call and plans to cancel and stuff to do in three hours before Shabbos. Asnat lent me her cell phone, which was a lifesaver; I called Ada to tell her that our Friday night plans were off, and she offered to come over anyway and help out, which was lifesaver #2; getting three kids ready for Shabbos when you have notice is one thing, but doing it all on your own with no notice, a husband in the hospital, and, oh yes, NO FOOD, PHONE, OR ELECTRICITY is something else. There was no possibility of just eating what was in the fridge--we'd just been in Israel for two months and there was nothing in the fridge or freezer. So I loaded everyone in the stroller, and off we went to the bakery (where I immediately caved to Barak's request for a $2 slice of cake--which he will remember forever), the grocery store (since when is roast beef $18/lb?! we'll have the bologna) and the produce store (where I bought orange juice and cookies, planning to take the bribery route through the evening). We went home, calling Grandma E on the way; I fed the kids dinner, and then Ada turned up and gave them baths and got them into pajamas while I took a shower. MHH's new rosh kollel (did I mention that the shabbaton we were supposed to go to was the first shabbaton of his brand-new job?) called and then came over with food; I put the baby down, and was about to light when Jenny from work called and, as if inspired by a host of psychic angels, offered to come over the next day to check in on us and on MHH in the hospital. I gratefully accepted, lit, let the kids eat their cake, Ada and I put them to bed, we sat in the kitchen schmoozing and looking at baby pictures for a while, and then she left and I went to bed. By myself.

Let me state for the record that I cannot imagine being a single parent. No--let me restate that. I have imagined it, and the very idea fills me with unspeakable horror. I know that I could not handle it, practically or emotionally. I don't know how anyone does. I couldn't sleep; the baby couldn't sleep; I ended up taking him into bed with me for company and nursing him most of the night. The kids woke up out of sorts and asking for Abba; they were acting up within minutes, and I yelled at them by 9, instantly regretting it. We went outside to play; Jenny came, and went off to check in on MHH. At this point my stomach was in the kind of tight hard knot it has not been in since... can't remember when actually. My legs felt like water. To say that I was in a state of increased anxiety would be, you know, an inadequate descriptor of the situation.

We came inside and had lunch; I was about to put Iyyar down for a nap when I heard a familiar knock on the back door. Jenny came in. "He's fiiiiiiine," she said, reassuringly. "They're discharging him. "

"Really? He's fine?"

"He's so totally fine. I think he's milking it, actually. He's being pretty pathetic. Guys!"


The rest of the day was better, from my point of view, although the non-husband-related anxiety was pretty high again later when I visited a good friend whose baby was clearly in need of a return trip to the hospital from which she'd just been discharged. We got home at around 6, the boys had their Shabbos yogurts, Avtalyon had some rice cereal (or maybe it was cement--hard to tell, they look the same), and everyone went to bed. MHH came home, looking totally fine; he was kicking himself for not just catching a ride home with Jenny at lunchtime. What did they think had happened? No idea, really; sleep deprivation, dehydration, reflux, vagus nerve something, who knew. He wasn't supposed to stop taking his reflux medicine, and was supposed to check in with his GP.

He went over to the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet to get his reflux medicine and I was about to leave the kitchen when I heard a strangled sound. "What's this?!"


"What's this? This isn't my reflux medicine."

"No, that's mine."

"What is it?"

"Those are the class-A controlled-substance narcotics the neurologist gave me when I had that thing with the nerve in my face."


"Ohhhhhhhhh. Oh no."

"Um. Is that what you took yesterday?"

"But it says [our last name]! I thought it was mine!"

"That's the last name of everyone in this house. You took one?"

"I... I think I... I took one, and then I ate breakfast, and then I went to the kollel, and that's when I got sick."

"About half an hour later, then?"

"I guess." Pause. "Could it have really made me that sick?"

I googled the drug in question (I'm fast-forwarding a little here--I'm tired of typing) and read off the list. "Common side effects include dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, vomiting, drowsiness... less common side effects include allergic reaction, depressed respiration, irregular heartbeat, anxiety..."


B"H, he's fine. He will be reading prescription labels more carefully in future. We will be keeping our respective medicines in different locations in future. And all of us will be trying to get some more sleep.


Anonymous said...

That's the last name of everyone in this house.

I love that you managed to utter this without an accompanying dope slap. You are a much, much better person than I.

P.S.--I know it's not close, but Target pharmacies will give each family member their own colored cap for medicine bottles so you don't do anything...stupid. ;-)

uberimma said...

It truthfully did not occur to me to be mad. He was exhausted and sleep-deprived, in large part because he'd been staying up late helping me get the house back together; the bottles were, other than the labels, identical; he's not used to taking medicine, and is the only one in the house with a standing prescription (except for my prenatal vitamins). Anyone could have done it.

Besides, I was so relieved to have an explanation that did not involve heart disease that I took it much better than I might have otherwise!

shanna said...

The first though that popped into my head was: "Oh, what a dork." But in a pitying way, not a mad way.

LC said...

So, you should now be over your quota of panic moments for the next 16 years or so. But, yeah - at least it was explainable and not some still-unnamed weird thing that might pop up again at any time, and NOT his heart.

And I *so* hear you on the single parent thing - school starts tomorrow, and DH is out of town on business ALL week. Not on my list of fun.

Yasmin said...

Oh, thank goodness that's all it was! When I started reading the bit that begins with him coming home gray and sweaty, that's exactly what I thought of (MI, I mean) and I was increasingly alarmed and worried as I read on. He's young and all, but still. A bit of a consolation that the docs didn't find anything wrong w/ his heart but still worrying not to know.

SUCH a relief when you figured out the drug cause! Whoo. Not taking it any more is an easy fix.

Hugs to you both, in great relief.