When I wrote this post on Columbus Day about taking my son for blood work, I thought it would be therapeutic. Preparing for and taking Philip to get his blood taken had caused me anxiety worrying about the experience he would have. After hitting “Publish” I thought I was done with blood work until next year. I did decide to submit the post here at The SPD Blogger Network, but then I thought that was really the end of it. It was scheduled to be published today. I thought I might respond to a few comments and move on.
And then my phone rang.
When I saw the pediatrician’s office on my caller ID, I assumed they were calling to tell me that the form for Philip’s preschool was ready to be picked up. I didn’t get to my phone in time to answer it, so I had to wait for the voice mail.
The nurse’s words shook me: “We received Philip’s test results. I need you to call me back as soon as you can.”
No mother wants to hear those words. When I returned the call, I was in for more words I didn’t want to hear.
Philip has an elevated lead level. Since he has had no blood work since his first birthday, we don’t know when it developed.
While this news was troublesome, I didn’t start to feel queasy until the nurse continued. She rattled off dietary interventions and then spoke of another blood test in three to four weeks to monitor the level.
Another blood test.
I’d like to say I kept it together on the phone, but the nurse could tell I was on the edge from my one-word responses. All I could think about was putting Philip through more anxiety-inducing medical procedures. When the nurse asked, “Are you okay?” I couldn’t hold back the tears.
I dreaded calling Peter to share the news, but I knew it wasn’t fair to keep this to myself. I sent him to pick up the orders from the pediatrician. I spent the morning trying to track down medical records never sent from previous doctors, scheduling an appointment with the county health department and calling to find out about the location and hours for the x-ray.
I did manage to get some work done before calling it quits at my lunch break. Then I drove home so that we could take Philip for the x-ray.
Peter, in his usual impatient way, wanted to get it done RIGHT NOW. By the time I got home, it was obvious that Philip was tired. He had been on a field trip that morning (something that I had been certain would be fodder for today’s blog post). Grandma had gone with him and was at our house when I arrived. I found the two of them laying on Philip’s bed.
Peter didn’t want to wait until after the nap for the testing, so Philip was fussy. We live only ten minutes walk from the hospital, but we made the even shorter drive to get there. Philip wanted to be held as we sat in the waiting room. He wasn’t anxious about being there as much as he was tired.
I opted to go into the room with him. I was pleased that he could stay in his non-metallic clothing for the x-ray. I’m not sure if going into this unusual room made Philip anxious. The fatigue either masked or amplified it. I just don’t know.
Philip did not want to lie down on the table “to get his picture taken.” I think he associates this with uncomfortable things happening to him at the doctor. However, he did lie fairly still during the two shots considering that he was crying. The staff (at least two regular staff plus three students) gave him a sticker and did a lot of talking. I hadn’t even told them that he was autistic and non-verbal. I didn’t bother to tell them that they were just adding to the noise and confusion. I could tell that being tired trumped any other issue that he has.
Despite all of this, Philip remained on the table until the technician announced, “All done.” I had to smile to see that he truly does know what this phrase means. He immediately tried to climb off the elevated table. I led him back to the lobby to meet with Peter and we departed.
Within fifteen minutes, Philip was asleep.
Later in the evening, rejuvenated from his nap, Philip and I walked Roscoe. As we made our way past the hospital, I thought back to our visit that afternoon. I was irritated that Peter had insisted on going before nap.
Then I remembered something. During one of several phone calls to Peter from work this morning, he had asked where Philip’s insurance card was. He wanted it so that he could take Philip for the x-ray. By himself. Right after school. Well before nap time.
I was the one who volunteered to come home and go with them. Just as Peter can be impatient, I have to admit that I like to have control. I wanted, needed to go with them. I didn’t have to. Even if Peter needed an extra set of hands, my mom was right there having brought Philip home from school.
As we continued our walk, Philip was having a grand time kicking leaves and acorns along the sidewalk. He was having so much fun, he started to laugh.
I realized that the visit to the local hospital hadn’t scarred him. However, both Peter and I could have made different choices that would have made the experience easier for Philip.
I guess I’ll have a chance again in three to four weeks.