I Thought We Were Done

May 13th, 2023

Two weeks ago, Karin and I took our grandson, Asher, to the ER. It was late in the evening, and Asher had been sobbing uncontrollably. He’s two and a half years old, and he can express himself fairly well. However, something was hurting him that night, and all he could do was cry and cry and cry. He had thrown up the night before, so we figured he had some kind of stomach problem. We couldn’t find a way to calm him down or console him. There was something wrong and we didn’t know what to do about it. Finally, we gave up, and decided to take Asher to the hospital.

It’s been nearly 25 years since we last took a toddler to the ER. The experience doesn’t improve with time. Driving to the hospital at night with an upset little boy is never a good deal. I felt exhausted and anxious all the way to the ER. I thought to myself,

“I thought we were done with this shit.”

Apparently not.

The registration at the ER was mercifully brief. Asher’s pediatrician is associated with at hospital, so they already had Asher’s medical history and insurance information on file. The young woman who checked us in asked us,

“How are you related to Asher?”

Asher was howling continuously during this time, so we had to have the woman repeat her question.

Then Karin said, “We are his grandparents.”

The young woman paused for a moment. That wasn’t exactly the answer she needed to hear.

I added, “And we are his legal guardians.”

Bingo. The woman had the authorization she needed to admit Asher.

They took us to a little room to wait for the nurse. She came and tried to get Asher’s vital signs. He was less than cooperative. After a brief struggle, she finally got his temperature. He had no fever. She gave him some medicine for nausea. That seemed to make him feel a bit better.

Upon further examination, the nurse found a wood tick on Asher’s abdomen. He must have got it while playing outside. The nurse called in two other people to hold the boy down while she used a tweezer to pry loose the tick. Asher was not happy about this operation. Eventually, she had the thing removed. Asher didn’t have symptoms of Lyme disease, so the nurse did not think the tick had anything to do with his illness.

Shortly after that, Asher had a diarrhea explosion in his diaper. It was like a grenade went off. We used a lot of wipes to clean him up. He had been wearing a onesie, and that was also nasty. We threw it away with the diaper.

The rest of the stay was anticlimactic. We got a prescription for an antibiotic and nausea medicine. It was too late to find an open pharmacy, so we drove back home. It was midnight. We all crashed in bed after that.

Asher was better in a couple days, but Karin and I were sick with whatever he had. We like to do things as a family.

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