It has been a crazy couple of months. Besides the ongoing saga-of-Ren's-back (which will hopefully reach an anticlimactic conclusion in the next month or so), Stow decided to enter the fray. During a six-week period starting at the end of January, he had a fever for all but about five days. In the end, the doctors think he simply managed to catch everything going around in succession with maybe a teething fever thrown in for good measure. But the multiple tests, including an abdominal ultrasound, indicated an anomaly in one of his kidneys. So today, we followed up with a pediatric specialist.
One thing I have going for me is that Stow is possibly the most mellow baby on the planet, which means that even though the doctor's visit took close to five hours from start to finish, he was cool with that. What he wasn't so cool with was the blood draw. You might be saying to yourself, "Well, duh, Moe, of course he didn't like the blood draw. What kid likes needles?" But, you see, this was Stow's fourth blood draw in as many weeks, and he was much less feisty on the previous three. In fact, at his last draw, I marveled at the fact that he didn't seem to remember what lay ahead given the trauma of the previous two. Turns out that baby veins are tiny and some babies can be a difficult draw (No! really?) And each time Stow has had to have blood drawn, it has taken no less than four sticks. On previous draws, I'd been amazed by how stoic Stow was until the phlebotomist started using the needle to dig around in his vein in an attempt to get an angle conducive to good blood flow. Turns out Stow's not a fan of vein digging, particularly when the first three "stick and digs" tend to yield no results. Getting his blood drawn has started to feel like an epic saga.
So, when the specialist ordered a couple of blood labs today, I was understandably apprehensive. Since we were at a pediatric hospital, though, I tried to hold out hope as I took Stow into the lab for his draw.
Here's the short version of the story: blood was successfully drawn on the fourth stick.
Here's the long version (if I was going to give this particular epic saga a name, it would be, "Stow Wises Up"):
While on earlier blood draws, Stow remained quite unaffected until the digging for veins started, today, he was onto them from the moment we entered the lab. As soon as the phlebotomist started feeling his arm for possible veins, Stow began to grumble. And when she tied the rubber tourniquet around his tiny arm, he started to cry and make a break for the door. When that didn't work, with both eyes on the woman with the needle, he used his free hand to try to undo the tourniquet. Alas, since he was one nine-month old VS the world (or, in this case, three adult women), he failed to free himself.
I know there are moms out there who have to watch their seriously ill children go through much worse than what Stow went through today, and I want to applaud those moms for their strength and perseverance. Because, frankly, on this fourth epic-saga blood draw, I had a little trouble keeping it together.
Fortunately, Stow was all over it.
When his attempts to remove the tourniquet failed, he tried some baby Kung fu. Of course, he was no match for three adults, so he then resorted to looking the woman with the needle right in eye and giving her a dressing down like she's never gotten before(it's true, she told me). It sounded a lot like he was cussing her out in Japanese, and his stream of baby obsenities didn't stop until the needle was removed from his arm. His strongly-voiced objections unnerved her but didn't help his situation in the least.
And then, after his fifteenth sitick in four weeks, one of the lab technicians told me about the numbing salve I could buy at the hospital pharmacy that can be applied twenty minutes before a shot or blood draw so THE BABY CAN'T FEEL ANYTHING WHEN THEY STICK HIM WITH A NEEDLE! Are you freaking kidding me? THAT would have been nice to know about, oh, fourteen sticks ago.
So, the traumatization of Stow took a brief pause as salve was obtained and applied. And twenty minutes later, with no less crying (I mean, he was onto them, after all) but much less pain, three small tubes of blood were successfully drawn from Stow. The whole ordeal took more than an hour. And as we left the lab to go to get his ultrasound, I felt like I was emerging from a long dark night into a new day.
Hopefully, now that we have the salve, future draws will be less traumatic. And hopefully his sharp mind and ninja-like reflexes can eventually be trained to forget those first fifteen sticks ever happened.