Brian and I took Carter to the ER last night. After four nebulizer treatments in three hours, he still wasn’t breathing well so we piled into the car at midnight and headed out in search of a few doses of prednisone.
Why can’t they put reasonably comfortable chairs in ER exam rooms? Do they think we’re not miserable enough between the fluorescent lights and the frigid temperatures and they have to also make sure our backs hurt and our asses go numb?
In fact, those awful chairs were probably the only reason Brian and I were awake when the doctor finally wandered in around 3 am. That, and Carter’s incessant chatter. Struggling to breathe makes him understandably anxious; anxiety causes an adrenalin dump; adrenalin (not to mention a shitload of albuterol) makes him hyper as hell. When he ran out of things to say, he would just string nonsense and curse words together: hookie wookie bookers are bitchy stupid hooker nucker fuckers.
Like Dr. Seuss with a potty mouth, my boy is.
We were too tired to care much until his anxiety took a strange left turn and he became convinced that they had shut down the hospital and we were the only ones left in the building. The staff members we coaxed into our room to convince him otherwise were more than a little perplexed by Carter’s insistence that, indeed, the hospital was closed and also, a tornado was coming soon to sweep us all into the sky.
Tornadoes in Albuquerque? Not gonna happen, but anxiety isn’t rational. Awake seven hours after his bedtime and loaded with stimulating asthma medications, all his fears grew until we couldn’t convince him to stop shouting in that wheezy, asthmatic way, “Stupid fucker asshole hospital people went away! I want to go home right now! Stupid fucker asshole parents are making me stay at the hospital and there aren’t even any doctors here!”
Finally, after three hours of waiting, the doctor came in to do his doctor thing. We were so bleary-eyed and exhausted by then, we were about ready to stretch out on the icy floor to sleep.
Then came The Question, “Is he on any meds?”
“Yes,” I said, and gave him the list: five psychiatric meds (4 daily and 1 PRN), an allergy medicine, and 2 supplements.
The doctor’s face changed. “That’s a lot of medicine for a little kid,” said our white-coated Sherlock.
“Yes, it is,” I said out loud. Yes it is, you lucky fucker, I thought to myself.
Why lucky? Because I was way too tired to react to the veiled judgment on his face and in his question.
Yes, it is a lot of medicine. His board-certified, well-published, and widely-respected pediatric psychiatrist agrees that it’s a lot of medicine, but this is what it takes to help Carter be functional and safe.
Yes, it is a lot of medicine. Kids with leukemia also take a lot of medicine. Do you judge those parents?
Yes, it is a lot of medicine. We lay awake at night thinking about the risks of his medicines, balancing those risks against the severity of his illness and wondering if we’re doing the right things, doing enough, if there is something more or different we should do. Thanks for adding your pinch of salt to that wound, though.
Yes, it is a lot of medicine. We didn’t come out in the wee hours of a frigid night to be judged by strangers.
Yes, it is a lot of medicine. Did anyone ask you for your fucking opinion?
We finally got the prescriptions we needed and headed home after 4:00 am. Lying in bed, too tired to sleep, it occurred to me that I have changed. I’m still angry and defensive; I still despise the people who are willing to judge.
But you know what? Whatever.
More and more often, just whatever. The world is full of fools and judgmental idiots. Whatever.
Who’s the lucky fucker now?