Tuesday, June 22, 2010

pain and anticlimactic aftermath

The Toddles paused, throwing a sneaky grin over his shoulder. Maybe I'll use this bathroom. Or maybe this one? Oh, or maybe this one...
I declined to roll my eyes.
Or maybe this one? I think....hm....I think I'll use this one. Or maybe, hm, well.
Outside, the Eldest pounded on the door. Now! He roared. My jaw set, and I yanked the door open.

Some feet away, the kid was curving, half-folded around a fist pressed to his chest. It hurts, he spat. It hurts a lot. He dropped his hat, shoving the other balled hand into the planes of his torso. Sank to the ground, eerily quiet.

I consigned the Toddles and his toiletry to an impromptu exercise in causality, and dropped my bags in the doorway. The Eldest looked at me, perfectly white. Will power hauled air into his chest, stubbornness shoved it back out. It hurts, he murmured, his voice blurring - but the edge of anger was bright. Sharp.

Two puffs of albuterol under the fascinated gaze of the site manager, and the kid had only one fist to his chest, twisting his shirt, kneading the fabric and skin, muscle. He was sitting on the edge of his chair, unable yet to relax, but the haze of pain, fear maybe had faded, and now he could see me. He remembered to be angry, and, This is not good, he snarled. The medicine isn't working.

But twenty minutes later, he was less pale and the anger was fading to a nicely edged bitchiness. Can you walk to the car? I asked. He thought it over, and stood up. The lady-in-charge person tried to insert herself into the situation. Gosh, Mom, she said, do you have enough bags? I swung our various bags up onto my shoulder, her voice fading behind the Elddst, walking carefully, and the Toddles holding my hand. We walked, the Toddles bouncing, managing to drop his ball, scoop it up, wave his glove around, rinse and repeat. We drove off, the Toddles chattering, the Eldest quiet. Go straight 0.6 miles, the map suggested, then right, 2 miles, then - the Eldest blinked.

It still hurts, he said thoughtfully. I wish I didn't have to breathe.

I drove the car.

Oh, he said, surprised. Oh. Paused. Mum, I need a doctor.

I drove the car some more. In the back, the Eldest alternated between quiet and surprised, scared outbursts. I listened to him hauling in air, shoving out air, all of us waiting for the inhaler to take effect. Slowly, the kid's tone shifted towards a brittle cheerfulness.

You sound better, I suggested. I could feel his nod between my shoulder blades.
I refuse to be scared, he informed me. It's like what Dumbledore says, if you don't name it, you will fear it. I don't want to be afraid, so I'm doing this.
I am but a Muggle, I admitted, and could not possibly argue with the great Dumbledore.

Also, I was lost. Map?

Seven minutes later, the kid was bouncing, words pouring from his mouth, interrupting himself as he whisked us through triage. Comfortably wiggling on a chair, two chairs, my foot, he was humming to himself as he redesigned the Wong-Baker scale. This is what I mean when I say that I feel like a 3, he explained to the triage nurse. She nodded solemnly, rolling an amused eye in my direction. One more puff from that inhaler, I mused, and we'd be scraping him off the ceiling. She grinned, and followed the kid down the hall, offering suggestions as to where he might want to go.

A young doctor peeled the curtains open to our cubicle, and the kid pounced. Do you have a sense of humor? The doctor blinked. Um, sometimes I do, he admitted. The Eldest nodded, satisfied. Good. We will get along.

While the Eldest poured a stream of medical history, what he ate for dinner, his theories about the relationship between asthma and allergy, bounce wiggle and zing onto the poor man's head, I settled into a chair. It was going to be a long, dull night, I knew.

The kid, sizzling with albuterol, began to giggle. Hm. Long, maybe - but dull? Maybe not.


C said...

It's like 20 cups of coffee. I'm so very glad he's feeling better, but um, good luck with sleeping tonight. Or, you know, ever.

persephone said...

see, we're paying through the nose for xoponex, because i hate hate HATED what albuterol did to aleph.

but i just googled it, and the studies seem to say there's no measurable difference in side effects - just subjective report.

on the other hand, aleph was the irritable kind of wired, not the giggly kind, so i was pretty motivated to switch.

on the other OTHER hand, can you even use xoponex once they outgrow the nebulizer? maybe it has to be albuterol. we're not there yet, so i don't know.

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

omg, C - you are not kidding. And they put *that* side effect in small print? Yowza.

and persephone, yes. After this, it's time to do a quick review of the kid's script, and make sure we're all still persuaded that the choice of med and dosage work. Not to mention that we're all still happy with the plan for care...not casting stones, this is just a good moment to take stock.

lots and lots of stock. and possibly some chocolate.