Wednesday, November 12, 2014

From the hip

Greatest.  ER picture.  Ever.
Do you know what Toxic Synovitis is, aside from the most kickass punk band to ever crawl out of the Athens underground?   You should, because according to the internets, it's a very common ailment affecting children between the ages of 3-10.  And I had never heard of it before last Friday either.

The good thing is that Toxic Synovitis can be treated with Ibuprofen and rest.  Or, alternately, it can be treated with a trip to the ER, surgery under general anesthesia, and two days in the hospital.

Being concerned about money, we opted for the latter.  Of course.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

After being home sick on Wednesday, but making a full recovery on Thursday and going to school & karate, we were surprised when Finn suddenly announced that he couldn't climb the stairs as we were going to bed Thursday night.  Assuming that this was just Standard Finn Manipulation protocol, I sighed, picked him up and carted him off to bed.

When he was still complaining that he couldn't walk on Friday morning, we went into full on parent-mode, deploying the most effective tool in our arsenal:  fear.  We told him that if he couldn't walk, we'd have to go to the doctor, assuming that he'd snap right up and start brushing his teeth.  When that didn't happen, we were out of ideas and we scheduled the doc appointment.

While waiting for the appointment, his condition worsened, his fever spiked again and he began crying about pain in his groin with any shift in his body position.  The doctors ruled out a groin strain and recommended we get x-rays done at Children's Hospital, just to rule out a bone issue or infection.  No problem - it's across town, but we have 3 hours before we need to pick up Edie, so should be plenty of time to get some x-rays and get back.

This is how parents who have never had to take their children to the ER think.  It's all sunshine and roses, until it's 12 hours later and you're in an abandoned, dark, surgery reception area in an empty hospital, pacing holes in the floor because the surgeon was supposed to contact you 30 mins ago and your son is under general anesthesia and it was only supposed to be a groin strain and you only agreed to this whole stupid procedure because the doctor scared you into it with fears of infection, even though there wasn't much fluid in the ultrasound, which followed the x-ray, which followed the blood test and christ you're tired and your wife looks like she's about to throw up and you hope that your sister-in-law is still OK watching your daughter while you silently freak out, worrying that the last time you're going to have touched your son is when you were helping him hold his wiener steady so he could pee in the bedpan, in this dark, empty hospital with its ghostly footsteps echoing in the distance.

Or something like that.

When the surgeon does finally call and tell you that everything is fine, that he extracted a little bit of fluid from his hip and it's not infected and while you're not supposed to see him, because he's still sleeping, hell it's two in the morning, so come on over and we'll get you into a room - that's when you exhale.  And you promise yourself that you will never, ever take a single minute with your son for granted and you chuckle about that whole "holding his wiener" thought, and you smile and head home to let your sister-in-law off the hook while your wife spends the night in the hospital.

The next day, as you and your wife switch places, you have the most amazing day with your son.  He's completely healed and you race around Children's Hospital - which, incidentally, is THE hospital to be in if you can choose, where mac & cheese is always on the menu, where there's a Starbucks on every floor and where they bring you free unopened Legos if you but ask - chasing & tickling each other until you're both exhausted and making your son laugh so hard he pees in his pants instead of in the bottle they're trying to get him to use.

It's heaven.  And it lasts about two hours, before you're yelling at him for some small offense like spilling his juice or neglecting to flush the toilet.  Just like that, everything returns to normal, except you're still stuck in the hospital.

Now we're home and Finn wishes we were back at Children's, where the bed is adjustable, the TV is always on, and his Dad buys him cake pops from Starbucks whenever he asks.  And his Dad is reading articles like the one linked above stating that Synovitis can be cured with Ibuprofen while he waits for the hospital bill and wonders what kind of kickback the surgeon gets for recommending all of the tests.

But that doesn't matter.  His son is healthy and happy.  Or at least he was healthy & happy until he faceplanted running down the street last night with his ams zipped into his jacket, leaving nothing but his nose to break his fall.

Luckily it was just a little bloody - no lasting damage - and we were able to bypass a second trip to Children's.  Better luck next time, Finny.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Low Tech

When asked whether his kids enjoyed the amazing technology devices that he had created - specifically the iPad - Steve Jobs famously replied, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

He was apparently not alone in the world of technology leaders - lots of folks that spend their days living and breathing tech, limit the amount of interaction their kids have with those same electronic devices.

That's admirable.  And totally freaking impossible.

I mean, we do monitor the screen time Finn gets at home, but temptation is everywhere!  Especially when you're hung over!  Or busy!  Or feeling like just maybe being a grown-up for just a minute and pretending that your life is actually your own, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

While we attempt to limit the technology to just 30 mins every other day (plus those extra-special qualified situations), increasingly technology is sneaking in around the corners.  Finn now has iPad apps for both his reading homework and his math homework.

Who wants to read books when you can read an app, particularly an app that reads for you in a far more attractive voice than your clumsy Dad's?  I know I don't.  I wish Finn's reading app could keep me up to date on all of my important reading.  By which I mean celebrity gossip and Derek Jeter fanzines.

But I digress.

While the concerns about addiction and impact on cognitive ability linger, conversations with Finn have gotten more... interesting, of late.

For instance:

  • When I informed him that his behavior was making me frustrated one morning and tried to engage him in a discussion about how we could fix that, he set me straight.  "I think you just need to meditate, Daddy."
  • Last week, after we told him that we would no longer be reminding him of his chores, we asked him what might need to be cleaned up before he could have dessert.  Without missing a beat, he replied, "If I told you, then I'd be reminding you."
  • As his mom was pressing him for details on a story that he was telling that wasn't quite ringing true, he stopped her dead and asked, "Why are you asking questions?  You have all of the information that you need."  And then went back to playing Legos.

    This will not do.  I did not intend to have these types of conversations until our children were much older.  Edie just showed us that she can count to eleven (though to be fair, I'm pretty sure she has no idea what she's saying).  I'm at risk of being outsmarted by my children before either of them reach the age of 10.

    Either I need to start killing their brain cells with technology or I need to double down on killing my own brain cells with beer so I no longer care.  At the moment, it's a toss-up.  

    Maybe we'll do both.