Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Overpriced Sunflower Seed

After several false attempts at starting this blog, I have decided to just jump right in. I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to talk right now since I usually am capable of talking whether I have anything to talk about or not whether I want to or not. Sometimes I think I just try to act like I'm bashful. Sometimes I can hope I am becoming a more shy person. I guess admitting that proves I really am not shy and probably never will be.

So, here I am.

I am not sure what to blog about. I could blog about our cat and how she screamed and cried and tried to bite us when she had the first 2 of her 4 kittens today. That's pretty much all the information I have on the cat though so that would be the end of this blog if I decided to blog about the cat.

I could blog about the weather but that isn't very interesting... it's only in the 40's. I could blog about my kids but other than eating, drinking and occasionally not getting along being little angels, we don't have much new to report on the home front.

Unless I go back to last year.

And by last year, I mean just last week, December 29, 2008.

Yeah, I think I'll blog about that fateful day.

It was a fair evening and after a week of subzero temps, a fair evening was a special event. The weather was mild, probably in the twenties (balmy, let me tell you) and the day's events were just wrapping up to a nice end with warm biscuits and hot soup for supper. We were on our Christmas Vacation trip and staying with my parents. And when you're on "vacation" everything is supposed to be fun and nothing is supposed to go wrong. Or, we supposedly think anyway.

I had been gone all day and upon arriving "home," I naturally assumed that my baby would be glad to see me. And he was. I could tell. Even though he was irritated and fussy. He kept poking at his face and crying and not acting very comfortable. But he was still happy to see me, I'm just sure of it.

He had that I-just-put-something-in-my-nose look and knowing his habit and addiction of doing so, I instinctively looked up his nose. Sure enough. An unknown foreign object lodge where it wasn't supposed to be.

Okay, just so you know, Alex puts stuff in his nose like most people put stuff in their mailbox. Sometimes every day, sometimes he might skip a day and sometimes a lot of stuff goes in on one day. It just all depends.

We have a system down where we tell him to blow, he blows, everyone cheers, and odd colored objects slime out one of his little nostrils. It's that simple.

If he won't blow, then we bribe him by giving him a whole Kleenex to hold under his nose himself and then we all take our own Kleenex and everyone gets to blow at once. It's great family fun. The problem with involving the Kleenex is that as soon as you look away, Alex will immediately shred his own personal Kleenex and eat it like cotton candy. The problem with that is then the object in the nose can be quickly forgotten while everyone tries to get the remaining Kleenex away from Alex as he viciously chews the pieces in his mouth. I know, he's an odd child.

The following list is a compilation of items based on memory of what has been inserted in his nose or insertion was at least attempted:

French Fries
A Tiny Bell (those are easy to detect: you just shake the child.)
Sunflower Seed Shells
Anything Found On Highchair Tray
Anything Small Enough To Fit In Nostril

So, upon realizing we had another Object in Nose Epidemic on our hands, we did the usual system. Alex blew hard, nothing escaped, Alex got a Kleenex, nothing escaped, everyone got a Kleenex, Alex blew hard, nothing escaped, etc. Finally, Toby got a bright flash light and tweezers and went on an intensive recovery mission.

The only thing we concluded was that it was an item of the Sunflower Seed family and it was firmly lodged in his nose.

We waited a bit to see if it would work down. It didn't. So we went to the Emergency Room. Yeah, the ER.

It was funny how we got lost on our way there because Alex's mom thought she knew a short cut. That's embarrassing because she grew up in that area.

Even funnier was that Alex sang the whole way. And he had never really sang before and definitely not in the car. Alex usually cries in the car so to sing was really out of character for him. We made sure he was really our kid before we were admitted to the ER. To have to pay an ER bill for a kid that's not our own would not be something we'd necessarily feel compelled to do. But of course, he was indeed our son.

Alex got quite the treatment. He was weighed. Had his pulse checked. Flirted with the nurses. Listened to mommy answer a million-and-one questions. And then Alex waited. And so did his parents.

What is it with ER's requiring making people wait so long? It's as if people get there, could be half dying and then they just sit in a tiny room and wait. And wait. And wait. It's almost as if the waiting part is the processional to the doctor's exam and treatment. His treatment just might not work if you don't spend a good period of time waiting before hand. Maybe they want to make sure you are good and sick/dying before they attempt a treatment.

And their timing is always off. The nurse said to wait a minute. We waited for several minutes... like as in at least a half hour.

Once the doctor told us just to wait 45 seconds. It was at least 5 minutes before our wait was up.

It's like these people don't know how to tell time. Seriously. If they said, "Wait about 45 minutes to an hour and then the doctor will be in" it would be easier to cope with the anticipation of every noise potentially being the doctor coming in. But they don't. They give you false hope that you will be out of there in no time.

But I won't complain. Even if they can't tell time, at least they know medicine.

Anyway, the doctor came in, gave us a few options of what he'd try to use to pull out the foreign object but admitted that our best bet would probably be with a Ear Nose and Throat doctor. Of course at 9:00pm that wasn't really an option.

The ER doctor tried a couple of his instruments in hopes of getting the 'object in nose' out. Alex screamed and screamed. Nothing was productive. Except for Alex's lungs producing lots of air that helped sustain a nice, steady wail. He disliked the restrain -- the instruments in his nose were painless since the doctor really couldn't get too deep with them anyway. Alex screams like that in a car seat and I know a car seat is entirely painless but very restraining.

After making a few phone calls, the doctor gave us our last option: "Drive 20 minutes to the next hospital where the regional ENT doctor will meet you." I wanted to laugh. The hospital he was talking about was at LEAST 30-45 minutes away. But, that didn't matter... even though he did say 20 minutes. We agreed to go.

So, before we left the first hospital, we gave our address to the front desk so the nice people in that ER who never helped us could send us a nice, generous hospital bill. And then we drove to another hospital and gave them our contract contact information so they too could get a donation from us.

A weight, pulse, background check, etc. was all required here as well but we told them we had already verified all that at the last hospital. We were able to skip out on some of the requirements, thankfully. I think every time they pick up a pen or use an electronic item, you're charged another $50. Seriously, the kid has an object IN his nose -- does it really matter if the kid is up to date on his shots?

The wait began in another ER room but this one didn't last long. A kind, country-style doctor came in with frayed hemmed jeans, a wrinkled doctor's gown and a soft smile. He apologized for his attire as he explained he had just came from a movie theatre and was dressed for that occasion, not for medical purposes. He said all that while he waited for his microscopic glasses to unfog that he had just carried in from his car in a rustic, wooden box. He didn't make us feel like we had invaded on his evening and when we thanked him, he seemed too humble to even admit that he was doing anything worth thanking him for.

Now, this doctor was smart. He took one look at Alex and immediately called for a male CNA. He had Toby hold Alex, the male nurse restrain him and I (the soft hearted mother) stood on the perimeter and just watched.

7 seconds later a WHOLE sunflower seed popped out of Alex's right nostril. Seriously. The doctor just pulled it out with his long pick. Alex immediately stopped crying once he was no longer restrained and then he just looked at all the men in the room as if he was embarrassed that he had shed tears in such a masculine environment.

The doctor wrapped up his things and the CNA dropped the seed in the trash. We said thanks and goodbye and then a nurse came in and discharged us. Okay, that took a little bit since we hadn't filled our wait quota yet. But it was only a half hour 'minute'.

Our discharge papers had follow-up care which simply stated that we should "teach child not to put objects in nose." We entirely agree with the logic but have to conclude that it's slightly idealistic.

I can assure you we are doing our best to practice the hospital recommended follow-up care and when we get a double ER bill in the mail in a couple days, we'll be tempted to tie Alex's hands together so he can't put anything in his nose sue the sunflower seed company in hopes for enough money to cover the bill. Actually, we'll probably sell one of the kids just pay it and hope we never have to again.

The worst part about it is that we paid for that sunflower seed three times and ended up just throwing it away. And in our any economy, that's a pretty inefficient budgeting system.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Courtney,
I really needed that laugh today!
Did I just say LAUGH? I am so sorry about the hospital bill and the pain poor Alex must have been in...but with 9 little ones of my did make me smile~

Ranelle Del Belle said...

Interesting... you have a knack for writing things in a manner that doesn't just state what happened, it makes what happened come back to life. :-) Not that you want to experience that again....... :)

I'm glad that the sunflower seed did eventually get out. And... I really can't believe that the hospital actually told you to teach him not to put things up his nose! I laughed out loud when I read that.

Kate said...

... the bells are easy to detect.. ;)

Teee hee hee hee! :) Such an adventures you go through with little'uns!

We see our fair share of objects up kids noses in Urgent care where I work.
So far I've seen a blue bead, a chocolate covered raisin, and a maroon crayon!

Yah they don't like getting them removed either! :) waiiiiillls and screams....

Jean said...

No doubt the first payment on that seed was far less than the second and third ones.

Since it is nigh on to impossible to teach Alex to "not put things in his nose" my suggestion is don't have sunflower seeds in the house - of course that doesn't cover all the other items.

ope this week is less eventful in the negative way.

Be glad you weren't waiting in the ER in Canada - the time frame is much longer unless you have a bonafide poisoning case or chest pain.

Christine said...

You should have tried the vaccum cleaner, Courtney.