Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Totally lost my cool

On Monday, I completely lost my cool, collected manner. I'm usually pretty good in an emergency situation; I can assess the problem, stay in control and take action. So I was really surprised when I betrayed myself in such a way. I'm just thankful James was here. He didn't jump in instead, but just seeing him for a moment or two helped me clear my head, steady my nerves, and be able to do what needed to be done.

Colin spiked a fever on Sunday. No other real symptoms, just a really high fever. He slept most of the day, playing while the acetaminophen was working, crashing when it was time for his next dose. Monday he had a bit of a runny nose. He was going through boxes of Kleenex like mad, because he was just dabbing at the tip of his nose and then grabbing another tissue, and another, and another. So I tried to teach him how to gently blow his nose and get a little more out. Now, he's only five, and five-year-olds don't really have a lot of power behind a nose-blow. So when I was in the kitchen and I heard Caleb exclaim "There's something coming out of Colin's nose!" I didn't drop everything and run right away. I figured it was just a long line of snot. But then Colin started to weep, that kind of low, steady scared cry. When I came in, there was two inches of plastic tube handing from his left nostril. I immediately knew it was the tube he had inserted during his tear duct surgery last month. And I knew there was no way it was supposed to be able to be dislodged.

I froze. My body shook uncontrollably. My mind went completely blank.

I scooped Colin up in my arms and just stood there, unmoving.

I ran to the door and yelled for James to come in. He was just about to pull out of the driveway for work.

James came in the door and I tried to covertly explain what was going on, without alarming Colin. Even though I had completely had my own wits scared out of me.

"I just need to call the surgeon. I'll call the hospital. Or his office."

My brain was the first to come back online. I muddled through what needed to be done. Colin needed to be dressed. We needed to make sure he didn't pull at the tube. I needed to find out where to go to have the problem addressed.

I grabbed the phone, surprised at how much it shook in my hand. I stared blankly at the numbers. I needed a phone number. Where to find the phone number?

It was like my mind was moving in slow motion through a lake of tar. It used every effort in me, but I shook myself loose from the stupor and finally jumped into action.

The surgeon was in Mississauga and was leaving the office in 45 minutes - not long enough for us to get to him. We were instructed to go to the ER here in town, and have the doctor call the surgeon for instruction.

The clock was ticking. I dressed Colin, gathered my things and high-tailed it over to the hospital. I was obviously shaken, because as I carried him into the ER waiting room the triage nurse rushed to me. But when I explained what was going on, a wall went up and she condescendingly instructed me that I would just have to wait. The area waiting to be triaged was packed. And once you were triaged, then you had to wait to see the doctor. It was going to be a long wait.

As I saw the clock tick by, the hands passed the time when the surgeon was leaving his office. Now what would happen?

3 hours later, we were finally in to see the doctor. It was a small consolation when she expressed anger and frustration at the triage nurse for not admitting us earlier so that she could talk to the surgeon. She spoke with some of the surgeon's colleagues, who gave instructions based on what they knew about our surgeon. As it turned out, there wasn't much to do other than remove the tube completely.

So there is no longer any tube hanging from Colin's nose, but the result is that we may have to start this whole process again, including the anesthetic and surgery. The tube was supposed to stay in for 3-4 months, and it was in barely one month. There is a possibility the new duct will have healed enough to work, but it is just wait-and-see for right now.

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