Friday, September 30, 2011

They Call Me Mister Moneypenny

As is the case with most of these emergency rooms visits, I had plans for a nice quiet evening. The little boys were in bed, the older boys engrossed in Lego-land, and the girls and I were going to snuggle on my bed and watch a classic movie.

Now, every evening after the little boys go to bed, I expect a certain amount of "I need to go potty!" and "I need a drink!" and "Dad didn't give me a hug!" sort of shenanigans.

But this evening we had an entirely new pronouncement.
Baby came out and announced, "I accidentally swallowed a penny."
"What?" I said.
"I accidentally swallowed a penny. Pennies don't taste good."
"Why did you swallow a penny?" I asked.
"Because I didn't want it on my bed," he said.

At this point, I was at a loss for words and a rush of thoughts railroaded through my head:
Did he really eat a penny? Is there any harm in swallowing a penny? Should I just tell him to stop eating money and go to bed? What if he gets really sick from swallowing the penny? I'm not going to watch my movie, am I? Why the heck did he swallow a penny? What is wrong with that boy? Should I call the doctor or just Google this?

I decided to call the doctor to avoid finding out that the internet was wrong at 2:30 in the morning.

The pediatrician informed me that of all the coins Baby could swallow, pennies were the worst. I told him I expect no less of Baby than full throttle. After an awkward pause, he told me his concern was that the minerals in the penny could chemically react with whatever is in Baby's stomach and start causing ulcers. With the heavy sigh of a mom giving up her quiet evening, I told him I would take Baby into the emergency room.

Now let me pause to give you a little perspective here. In my 29+ years (42 for those who know me well), I have been to the emergency room twice. Just two times. In Baby's five years, he's been three times. Doing the math, that means I will visit the ER many, many, many more times before this kid moves out of my house. I would like to take this opportunity now to suggest to Hasbro Children's Hospital a call ahead seating arrangement for frequent patrons such as myself.

Anyway, bless their hearts, my girls, known as "Can!" and "Do!", sprung into action helping me prepare for an ER visit. As a seasoned veteran, unless someone is coding on the floor, I've learned to slow down and pack some essentials for a visit to the ER. The girls dressed Baby and got me some cash. Meanwhile I packed snacks, water and that ER must have, a good book. Then we headed out.

We got to the ER at 8:15 pm. We did triage, we did registration and then we settled in for a long wait. After a while, we were called in for x-rays whereupon Baby, through his extensive questioning of the technician, managed to earn his associate's degree in radiology. Then I heard the technician say, "Yup, there it is." Ever have one of those moments were you experience that perverse relief of "Oh good they found it, so I didn't come down here to find out Baby was pulling my leg."?

Having the pictures they needed, we were ushered out to the lobby to wait for the doctor. Here Baby asked me, "Can I have a penny?"
"A penny," he said, "I want a penny."
"WHY? Are you hungry?"
"No, I want to do a magic trick."
"NO! You are not getting a penny!! I will never give you a penny! From here on out, all your financial affairs will have to be conducted with bills or coins larger than a half dollar!"
"Ok," he said.

Soon we were called in to speak with the doctor. He showed us Baby's x-ray with the "foreign object" noting that the size of said object was "consistent with a coin". This was a good thing according to him, and here's why: (you mommies of orally fixated kids might want to take note) small coins are generally not a problem. It's those little tablet batteries that you find in those noisy Oriental Trading toys that are. If one of those bad boys gets swallowed, you have three hours to get it out. As the doctor told me, "It's one of those all hands on deck kind of emergencies." So it was important to note on the x-ray that the size of the object was coin size and not battery size. I made a mental note to clean my house of any and all tablet batteries lest Baby get any ideas.

As far as we were concerned, the doctor told us that since the penny had gone down smoothly, all we had to do was to let Baby poop it out. We didn't even need to keep an eye out that it had passed. I expressed my gratitude to the doctor for being relieved of poop surveillance for the next few days. After an awkward pause, he told Baby that the only thing he should put in his mouth was food.

Baby acknowledge this by saying, "Yes, food and whippits."

The doctor looked at me and I sheepishly told him that in our house, Bo sprays the whipped cream directly into the kids' mouths and that is what the kids call whippits. I assured him that they were in no way doing inhalants, in addition to eating money. It's the grace of God the man didn't call child protective services at that point.

Lest you think I'm one of those cynical mommy bloggers, I'd like to take this moment to give thanks here. If that's not your thing, scroll down to the end of the page.
I'm thankful that pennies are really harmless.
I'm thankful for 24/7 access to my personal pediatrician.
I'm thankful for access to 24/7 quality health care.
I'm thankful for helpful daughters and a husband who understands mommy hormones.

So we got home at 11:00 pm tired, but with some really cool pictures of Baby's innards. While the pictures show the coin in his belly, they do not show what makes him tick. The best part though, was the next morning when we all got the opportunity to exercise our pun and joke talents” "Hey Copperhead, whaddya want for breakfast?" "Excuse Mr. Moneypenny, please pass the napkins." and so on and so forth. Feel free to contribute, I think it would make a nice scrapbook page in Baby's book.