Today, I'd like to say Thank You to McDonald's.
Right after Stroller Strides class, I took my 3 year old son in to his pediatrician so we could get some kind of action plan for his asthma. He has been having more and more really acute episodes, and it was time to deal with it.
They found something shoved into his tiny little ear. It was hard and bright green. The pediatrician stuck a curette into his ear to try to get it out. The nurses did an ear lavage with a massive syringe, and nothing worked. By the end, he was sobbing and yelling "Owie!!" and I was promising ice cream. They gave me the number for the ENT, saying it could wait a couple of days, and we left.
If you're not from here, there's a joke. Minnesota has 2 seasons. Winter and Road Construction! hahahahahaha....sigh.
I loaded him back into the car, and started driving down Excelsior Boulevard, which was only moving in the direction I was headed, because there was no northbound on ramp to the highway the road crosses. I decided to call the ENT on my way home to get the first possible appointment, feeling SO HAPPY I wasn't stuck going the other way.
They wanted us to come in right away. The traffic on the other side of Excelsior WAS. NOT. MOVING. I turned a different way to see if I could avoid it, only to find that I had to get back onto Excelsior to get across route 100.
Insert miraculous traffic pattern allowing me to get into a brief lull in the traffic, and we arrive back at the clinic.
And he had fallen asleep in the car. Whee!
So up he goes, in we walk, and he starts mumbling about how the long hallway looks like an airport. We get up to the ENT's office on the 5th floor, he spies the really #basic toys and runs off happily to play, while I check us in. Here's the thing about a really massive health care facility. They all share the same information, so we had no paperwork, no ID's, no Insurance cards, nothing. Just "thanks, they'll call you back as soon as someone is available." And I go settle down to wait.
Immediately they call us back, and I'm thinking "HOW AWESOME IS THIS??" The nurse takes a look, the doctor comes in, takes a look, makes a quiet comment to the nurse who says, "you think so?" "yeah." And she goes out and comes back with a board with large velcro straps on it. Yes. A baby straight jacket. My blood goes cold. I'm cheerily telling my little boy to hop on up, and they'll get that thing out of your ear! Look at that! Isn't that cool? (I'm going to you-know-where, people.)
The tools the ENT pulls out of her arsenal are HORRIFYING. Long needle like things, and I just can't even remember some of the other stuff, but when he starts screaming, I start crying. I'm usually pretty stoic, but this was bad. The nurse was wonderful, quietly telling him it was going to be okay, and I finally pulled it together and tried to comfort him. "It's almost out! She has it! Just another second!"
It turns out to be a tiny piece of candy. Rock hard. Totally impervious to water. I sprung him immediately and held him close and rocked him. His ear canal was bleeding, and he was still hiccup crying for a long while after it was all over,
There was a McDonald's right next to the medical center, so we drove through for an ice cream sundae with loads of fudge sauce. He was FINALLY calm. As I was perusing the menu, things like the voice of my trainer saying "you're not a dog, don't reward yourself with food", the article after article I had read saying how bad McDonald's is for your health, the environment, etc, etc, etc, kept running through my head, and rising above it all was "THANK GOODNESS FOR MCDONALD'S". I'm not really good at extremes. I feel like there's a place for balance in all things. And there IS a place in this world for McDonald's, even if it's just a little treat to take away the sting of having people stick things into your ear while you're strapped to a board.
I'd like to finish with this.
To every mom out there who is dealing with a truly sick child, I am so in awe of you. You have my utmost respect. No one ever ever EVER deserves to see their child in pain. And I know this is nothing compared to what you go through every day. If I have gained even an iota of empathy for you today, then there is a positive in our experience. But please know that I SEE YOU. I am crushed under a second of the weight of what you are just taking in stride. So thank you for the steel in your spine, and thank you for your smile, and thank you for being the glue that is holding your family together. You are amazing.