Friday, August 27, 2010

A penny saved....

Before I get to the penny I need to talk a little bit about poop. You read it right - you don't have to go back and re-read the first sentence.

A few weeks ago when we were on vacation we discovered that Spencer had acquired a new ailment. The boy suffers from jabbers - or nervous stomach - or whatever you choose to call the feeling that you have to poop whenever you get a bit agitated. His call from the backseat that he had to go to the bathroom about every other mile got to be a bit frustrating to say the least. I mean c'mon we are on vacation for crying in the bathtub - what in the world do you have to be stressed about?

On day two of our vacation we found a drug store and Trent ran in to buy the boy some Pepto Bismol. I ran into the drug store a few minutes later with Spencer because he felt like he had to poop again. Fun times. We didn't know if the Pepto would help or not. If he really did have some stomach issue going on we figured it might. If it was all in his head (as we imagined) then maybe the medicine would have a placebo effect on him.

At one point during our trip Spencer picked up the Pepto bottle and began reading the label and asked me which one of the ailments that it claimed to help was what he suffered from. Since the label did not say "nervous stomach" or "urge to poop whenever we are nowhere near a bathroom" I didn't quite know what to tell him. It turns out I didn't have to tell him anything because as he continued to read he came to his own conclusion that what he suffered from was "traveler's diarrhea". I didn't have the heart to tell him that traveler's diarrhea was actually something you get by traveling to foreign countries not traveling a few hours north in the state and country you currently reside in.

Traveler's diarrhea has become a phrase heard daily around our house because he is still obsessed with it. He likes to inform me on a daily basis (at least) that he thinks his traveler's diarrhea is gone but he worries that it might come back once he starts school. I reassure him by telling him that I am sure it will be gone by then but if it is not there is a bathroom in his classroom so he really shouldn't worry about it.

OK - on to the penny.

Last night the boys were going to sleepover at the house of a friend in our neighborhood. Trent and I decided that since we only had Hailey to deal with that we would go out to dinner. As the boys loaded up with their overnight gear and sleeping bags I scribbled Trent's cell phone number on a piece of paper and told Spencer to give it to his friend's dad because we were not going to be home for about an hour or so and if he had to reach us, this would be the way. (Someone had a hand in that little move on my part.) The boys ran excitedly down the street and Trent and I packed up Hailey and had a wonderful dinner out with only one child to entertain. Which always causes us to ponder how we ever thought life was tough with one child?

On the way home Trent noticed that he had a message on his phone. A message from friend's house. Trent called back and from what he was saying I noticed no urgency the only thing I caught was that "Spencer was freaked out a bit". I honestly thought that his traveler's diarrhea had made an appearance at friend's house. Trent hung up the phone and told me that Spencer had swallowed a penny.

What the what????

Our nine year old son swallowed a penny.

Apparently he had put the penny into his mouth so that his friend couldn't get it and then in a boyish struggle, the penny went down his throat. He was a bit shaken up, but otherwise seemed fine.

I immediately texted my BFF who is an ER nurse to ask her what is the protocol when someone swallows a penny. She told me that he was big enough that it was most likely in his stomach and that I shouldn't worry too much. Maybe give his pediatrician a call in the morning. In the meantime, get him home from his friend's house and watch his breathing and make sure that he didn't turn blue or his stomach didn't start to hurt or something. What she said made sense and Trent was pretty low key about the whole incident citing the fact that a friend of his once swallowed two quarters. Not helping right now, but thanks honey.

We got Spencer home and assessed the situation. He looked all right, but what worried me was that he said he thought he could still feel the penny in his esophagus. I decided that I would not be able to sleep unless I knew where that coin was in my baby boy's body. And I really wanted to sleep because I am trying to stave off some sort of sinus issue. Spencer was upset because I told him he wouldn't be able to sleep at friend's house because we had to watch him. But if I knew the coin was in his belly, he could probably go back to the sleepover. So off we went to the Immediate Care Facility. It was five minutes to eight o' clock and I was praying that they didn't close at eight. We pull into the parking lot and the hours posted for the ICF are 9-6. Six! Are you kidding me? I get on the highway and am wondering to myself if I am overreacting. Probably. But I am a hypochondriac by nature. There is no way that I can just take him back home. If the unthinkable happened I could not live with my decision. So at 8:15 we walked into the hospital ER and the two girls who were filling out our paperwork to get us to triage didn't know how to spell "penny" and "swallowed". I second guessed my decision for a minute and I never wished so bad that my BFF was working. Spencer was visibly upset while they checked him in. He was afraid they were going to have to stick something down his throat to get the penny out. I told him that the worst thing that would happen to him would be an x-ray. He didn't seem convinced.

The doctor came in and told Spence that he was the oldest kid that he had ever seen that swallowed a penny. Fabulous! He listened to his breathing and talked to Spence a bit while Spencer got more and more upset. The doctor sat next to him and put his arm around him and asked him what he was so scared of - all the while looking at me like I had forced the penny down his throat or something - ER docs always seem super suspicious of parents to me. Probably because they see such horrible things or something. He finally told the doctor he was scared because he thought the penny was still stuck. The doctor told him he didn't think that was the case and that he would be fine but they were going to do an x-ray just to be sure.

The nurse came in to take us down to the x-ray room. I had a flashback of Spencer screaming his head off in the same room when he was four and dislocated his elbow. He was fine this time though - hopped up like a champ and stayed as still as could be. I stayed behind the glass wall with the technician and watched as the picture of my baby's rib cage appeared on the computer screen with one solid white dot in it. And me being the science idiot that I am had to ask "so it's in his stomach then?" To which she replied, "That's his stomach - you can't miss it."

As we walked back to the room to wait for the doc the first words out of Spencer's mouth were, "Since it is in my stomach can I go back to friend's house to sleep?" He was extremely relieved and back to his old self.
The doctor came in a few minutes later and told us that the penny was in his stomach and will most likely be appearing in his poop in the next few days. He then asked me if Spencer pooped at least once a day. I chuckled a little and told him "at least once -usually more". Then Spencer looked at the doctor and told him " I have traveler's diarrhea." I laughed out loud. I am sure the doctor thought we were nuts or something.

At nine PM we were out the door. Forty five minute ER visit? Not so bad after all.

So now we are waiting for the penny to make its reappearance. Where is that darn traveler's diarrhea when you need it?

Update: We told him he had to wear his hospital bracelet until we "recovered" the penny. He wore it for a long time because we never did find that darn penny. We think it most likely came out two days after the swallowing when he was playing at a friend's house and pooped over there despite me telling him to run home if he felt the urge! After a week of checking poop and finding nothing, we had to take him back in for another xray and this time there was no little white circle anywhere on the screen. He was penny free!


Brandi said...

OMGoodGrief! HAHAHA! Can I tell you I feel so much better about our marble incident? Never a dull moment, huh?

I'm going to be giggling about 'Traveler's Diarrhea' all evening. ;)

jensenbo said...

What a great story!! You are such a worrier, little Spence. Who do you get that from---- perhaps your mommy??