"I have had a good, productive, and kind of boring few days."
Those were some of the last words of the blog I posted last night. According to my friend Karon, they were the Famous Last Words of Emily B.
My day began at 3:00 a.m. when I was awakened by the perky, cheerful little voice of my son: "Good morning, Mama! I want uppa in your bed. I wanna cuddle, Mama. Where Daddy is, Mama? I want my Daddy, Mama." Needless to say, I didn't get cold last night. No, I had a sweaty, little person wrapped around my arm until we were joined by the squalling sister at 6:00. Guess what? She had to go to the bathroom but was refusing to go. I thought we got over this yesterday! Apparently I thought wrong. She sat shivering on the potty for an hour, alternating between obstinate, angry words, and pleading sobs. By 7:30 we were still poopless, and completely exhausted. I ditched the idea of church and put the kids to soak in a warm bubble bath. The bath perked Snapper up a lot, and I began thinking about church again. Debbie got breakfast for the kids while I took my shower. When I was all ready for church, I headed downstairs and found Snapper lying on the couch moaning. She had not eaten her breakfast, and was hurting all over, with intense pain in her right side. My kid? Refuse her breakfast? I quickly decided that this was not more of the usual drama. She was pale, and couldn't even walk across the living room.
I made a quick call to our pediatrician's exchange. After a brief consultation, the pediatrician sent us to the hospital. He scheduled us an appointment so we could get in right away. He said her symptoms sounded like the start of appendicitis. Oh no, this is not good! Debbie had left for church already, so I called Stephanie, our children's pastor, and had her track down Debbie. I loaded kids into Matt's car because Deb had taken my van. As we turned into the church parking lot, the car died. Just shut off. The steering wheel tightened up and my brake pedal got stuck. I couldn't restart the car. Right away I thanked God that I was safely in the parking lot of our wonderful church. A couple of church guys pushed my car into a parking place. Thanks, guys! You rock! I dropped Pepper off at his class, traded keys with Debbie, and found a friend to take Debbie and Pepper home. Then Snapper and I hopped into my van and headed to the hospital.
While we were on the way, Snapper cried quietly in the back seat. The hospital called me and we did all the paperwork over the phone. All I had to do when we arrived was confirm her information on a touch screen and sign a release form. We sat in the waiting room for about 2 minutes. At this point Snapper couldn't even walk. The doctor was with us 2 minutes after we were settled in the examining room. He thoroughly examined Snapper and came up with 4 possible problems: the early stages of appendicitis, the start of a stomach virus, a kidney infection, or kidney stones. We started with a urine sample. Snapper, being the drama queen she is, refused to pee in the cup. She was afraid it would hurt...Hmm...She was afraid she would poop...Hmm... So the nurses loaded her up with apple juice, and before too long, she couldn't hold it. After dropping two cups in the toilet (because Snapper knocked them out of my hand), we had success. Oh joyous mommyhood...she peed all over my hand! But she got some in the cup, too. And that was what mattered, right? I used some great memories to bolster me up. I grew up on a goat farm. I've experienced a lot of things way worse than having my hand peed on by my little girl.
We sat in the examining room for 15 minutes waiting for the pee to process. I was thankful that my iPod was in my purse. Snapper happily listened to "The Music Machine" while she reclined across my lap. The doctor came in and told us there was no kidney infection, but a trace amount of blood in the pee made him lean more toward kidney stones. So he loaded Snapper in a wheelchair and sent us over to radiology. Snapper was fascinated by the xray process. She was a perfect angel for the technicians, and took fantastic photos. I had to laugh...even her bones are photogenic! The nurses praised her up and down, gave her 5 stickers, and let her wear the hospital gown back to the examining room, just to make her feel special. She was thrilled to get to watch the life flight helicopter land while we were heading back over.
When we got back to our exam room, the doctor showed us the xrays. And wouldn't you know it, there were no kidney stones! What did show up, though, faint but clear, were Snapper's intestines. The doctor told Snapper that he shouldn't be able to see her intestines in an xray. He could see them because they were full. At that point he leaned over, whispered to me, and chuckled, "Full of crap!" He told me her intestines were impacted from rectum all the way up to stomach. She likely had been holding it in for 10 days. The little bit she managed to get out yesterday was nothing in comparison to what was still inside. He also told me that drama queens are the most likely group of kids to have this problem. He knows. He has a drama queen himself who has done the exact same thing.
He sent us home with a prescription for Miralax, and orders to return to the hospital at noon tomorrow if she had not yet pooped. So we went home. Little did I know what the afternoon would hold. When we got home, wonderful Stephanie brought me lunch from Taco Bell. Apparently she had read the future and knew I would need the extra protein from that bean burrito. I told Snapper she needed to take some medicine to help her go potty. And the screaming began. I very cleverly disguised the Miralax in a cup of her favorite hot tea. She drank it down without a clue. And then we waited. I slowly poured fluids into her. A cup of water here, a cup of water there. Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo! Momma Emmy runs a zoo! E-I-E-I-O! And then my little monkey asked when I was going to give her the medicine. I told her I already had. Can you guess what she did? That's right...she screamed. And stomped. And cried. And yelled. And then she stopped.
For the next two hours Snapper paced the living room, moaning and softly crying. We watched the NASCAR race. I gave Snapper the other half of her dose of Miralax. And then things started to happen. Snapper's aggitation increased, and a little monster reared its ugly head. Snapper marched around the house, stomping her feet and yelling. She walked over to poor little Pepper, who was sitting quietly on the couch, and slugged him. I could tell she was getting desperate trying to hold it in. I knew that the pain was driving her to do crazy things she normally would never do. At that point I began to fear for the welfare of my couch and carpet, so I sent Whitney to go march and yell on the Pergo in the kitchen and dining room. That was the final straw. Poor Alara Kitty was sitting in the sun on a kitchen chair. Snapper stomped over and roared like a lion in Alara's face, then burst into tears and screams. It frightened Pepper and he too began to bawl, clinging to my leg and demanding to be held. Snapper began swinging her fists at me. So I picked her up, put her in the bathroom, and closed the door. Through the closed door, I told her to sit down on the potty and just go to the bathroom already! Did I mention that Matt is in Oklahoma?
After a half an hour of INTENSE tantruming, I saw two different neighbors standing outside staring at our house. I went out on the front porch and realized the whole neighborhood could hear Snapper's screaming. Through the walls. She was that wild and that loud. Not Good! The last thing we needed was for CPS to show up at our front door! So I brought the still crap-filled Snapper out of the bathroom. She turned it off like a faucet. No more screams. No more tears. Just smiles. Little Booger! Snapper continued to pace and moan, and Pepper continued to cling and cry. I tried to make dinner. Finally, I ordered both kids out to the back yard to jump on the trampoline. Maybe that would get the crap rolling! After more tears and whining, they both headed out. I sat by the dining room window and watched Snapper stomping defiantly around the trampoline. Every time she passed Pepper, she shoved him over. I could hear her exclamations: "I hate this! It's not fair! Dr. Smith is stupid! Mommy is mean! I won't go poo-poo! I won't, I won't I won't! I hate Mommy! Dumb stupid dummy!" Bless her little heart! (If you live in the South, you know that "bless her heart" makes it acceptable to talk about someone's uglies).
I was actually amused by all this. As absurd as it all was, I managed to stay calm and keep my head about me. I didn't get angry or frustrated. I just didn't know what else to do, and I wondered if it would ever end. For a few brief moments, I thought I might be losing my mind. So I called my Auntie Maggie, and she encouraged me to remember the intense pain Snapper was experiencing, and to extend huge amounts of grace and patience. And then I heard a piercing shriek from the back yard. My neighbor, who was grilling on his back deck, jumped and ran to the edge of the deck, peering anxiously into our yard. I ran out onto our deck in time to see Snapper jump off the trampoline, and come racing across the back yard, screaming and clutching her crotch with both hands. Hallelujah and rally the troops! Poop cometh, I think! I ran out to poor screaming Pepper, all the while frantically explaining to the neighbor that I really don't beat my children. Then I ran back inside, deposited Pepper on the couch, and met Snapper in the bathroom.
30 amazingly painless seconds ended the 12-hour ordeal. I breathed a sigh of relief and went to take dinner out of the oven. And then I heard coming from the bathroom a sweet little voice singing a familiar tune with not-so-familiar words: "Somewhere, over the rainbow, poo-poo flies! And my tummy is better, I'm not scared anymore." Silly goose! A new person emerged from our little downstairs bathroom--a sweet, well-mannered 6-year-old girl, wreathed in smiles, perky and cheerful, offering to get a glass of milk for her brother. What! The! Heck! And just like that it was over. Both kids were content and cheerful for the rest of the evening.
As I look back on the events of today, I see God's hand of protection covering our family. Historically, when a LifeChange staff husband goes out to an event, all hell breaks loose at home. Appliances break. Kids get sick. Cars have problems. Are we noticing a theme here? I see it for what it is: spiritual attack. The Weekend to Remember conferences shake the realms of darkness because people are being introduced to Jesus, and satan's pet project--destroying families--is being threatened. I choose to take this attack as a compliment. My husband out at the conference, and I as the support person here at home, are doing work for the Lord that draws fire from the enemy. God shielded and took care of us today. He protected me on the road. He allowed the car to reach a safe, loving place before it broke. He provided for each immediate need surrounding the hospital trip. There wasn't even a co-pay! He gave us a thorough, gentle, compassionate doctor. He kept Snapper calm at the hospital. She cooperated with the doctors, nurses, and technicians, which she NEVER does! The doctor's office is usually where she is at her worst! He kept me calm and peaceful through the midst of some major turbulence all afternoon. He allowed Snapper to finally go to the bathroom so she doesn't have to be admitted to the hospital for a very painful disimpacting procedure. And he brought my husband safely home from Oklahoma about 10 minutes ago.
It was a rough day--a hell of a day, really. But God brought us through it and opened my eyes to His presence in the midst of the storm. Now I'm on the other side and I'm exhausted. Matt is taking tomorrow off to give me a much-needed rest. Hooray for Matt! I'm glad this battle is over. And in order to protect myself, I'll never again say those fateful words: "I have had a good, productive, and kind of boring few days."