My son has his annual appointment with his cardiologist this afternoon. Yesterday, when I told him we would be seeing his heart doctor he got a little nervous.
I reassured him, “There won’t be any needles. They’re just going to put some stickers on your belly (an EKG) and then they’ll put some goo on your chest and use a wand to take some pictures (an echocardiogram). It won’t hurt at all.”
Of course, because he’s a boy he then asked, “What kind of goo?”
“Well, it’s kind of like clear jelly, but it’s not sticky. You’ll be able to see your heart on TV and sometimes they add color and you can see your red and blue blood mixing because of the hole in your heart. It’s pretty cool, buddy.”
He asked, “My red blood mixes with my blue blood?”
“Yes, it does.”
He scrunched up his face and said, “Maybe that makes my blood purple.”
My six year old son has been known to say things without thinking them through first. He gets that from me. Poor kid. I can just hear him talking about me when I’m long gone…”My Mother? Well, she gave me the knack for sticking my foot in my mouth. Oh, and my unibrow comes from her too.”
The two of us really do mean well. In his case, the blunders stem from his pure innocence, whereas mine come from my desire to be quick-witted. I may think fast, but I don’t think smart. I want to be funny, but am still learning how to do that quickly and without offending people.
I am a typical parent. I want my kids to be better, more intelligent (my nine year old daughter already has this one covered), kinder, and funnier than I am. I know my son makes me laugh, but most of the time it’s because he has unknowingly hurled an insult at someone. I have always assumed that as he got older and realized what he was saying, I would laugh at him a whole lot less.
But today I sat in on a meeting at his school and listened as his speech therapist told the group how funny he is.
Then his teacher said, “Oh yes, he has a great sense of humor.”
And words like “unbelievable” were thrown around as they all nodded in agreement about his hilarious skills.
Apparently my kid has been making the folks at school laugh without being mean-spirited, and that made me swell with pride.
And, because I frequently have the taste of foot on my tongue, I was also just a little bit jealous.
This drawing is from some of my son’s speech therapy homework from last week. For this assignment, I had to show him the picture then ask him questions about it.
I said, “Look at this. The Mom is just coming in the door and the Daddy and the little girl made a big mess in the kitchen. Now they’re just sitting there eating and watching TV. What do you think will happen next?”
He replied, “Well, maybe the Mom needs to clean it up.”
On the day before Thanksgiving, four years ago, I received a dreaded call from my son’s doctor. He had been very sick and a nurse phoned to give us the result of some blood tests.
My son had a strep pneumo infection. Not always a big deal, unless you’re a kid with heart defects like my boy. And, because my kid likes to be different, it wasn’t the strain for which you get immunized, it was an antibiotic-resistant version.
They gave us two options. A seven-day, no expenses paid trip to the hospital for IV antibiotics, or a $300.00 bottle of a new, oral medicine that had an 85% chance of working. Because hospital stays turn our lives upside down, and because it was the day before Thanksgiving, we decided to try the oral meds.
The only problem? No one warned us that the medicine tasted like wet steel. One drop of it on my son’s tongue made him gag and vomit, which really isn’t good when you’re trying to get life-saving medicine down his throat.
We tried diluting it in juice, we tried chasing one drop with an entire Reese’s Cup, but nothing worked. We knew a week in the hospital was imminent.
I called the pediatrician on Thanksgiving morning to let her know, and she agreed that we had no other choice.
But then she said, “Well, there is one other thing we could do…”
She went on to tell a very anxious me, that she would agree to put in a Heplock (the short hub that sticks out of an IV catheter and can be capped off). But alas, she didn’t have a nurse who could do something like that on Thanksgiving Day.
I nearly screamed, “I have a nurse!!”
My sister-in-law is a pediatric nurse at a local hospital and I knew she would do it.
So the pediatrician agreed to meet us at her office later that afternoon…after she fed 20 people dinner at her house.
Now tell me, how many doctors do you know who would make Thanksgiving dinner, then go and open their office for ONE patient, and let a strange nurse come in and do a procedure? Oh, that’s right. You don’t know ANY doctors who would do that.
And then, after my sister-in-law got the Heplock in, as if there was a shred of doubt that we’d keep that pediatrician forever…she went ahead and sealed the deal when she offered me a beer out of her office refrigerator.