If there’s a time when you wish it was yourself who was being prodded, poked and scanned like a barcode, it’s when your child is undergoing unpleasant hospital tests.
We’ve known for a while that my oldest son has – and this is going to sound odd – an extra ear. Not on his head. On his bladder (a diverticulum is the proper name). It’s likely to need a fairly major surgery to prevent kidney damage and so we’ve been making a few trips to City Hospital recently for various tests.
The first of which I’m still traumatised about, because it involved the eye-watering insertion of not just one, but THREE catheters – with no pain relief or anaesthesia. But I’m blogging about the test he had this week because it opened my eyes to a branch of medicine I knew nothing about.
On the morning of the nuclear scan, I felt so bad telling him the good news – and then the bad news.
“BB, mommy and daddy are coming to pick you up from school today – early.”
“Really!” he grinned.
“But then we have to go to the hospital again, for another test. Nowhere near as bad as the last one, ” I added quickly.
“Awww,” he replied, a flicker of fear passing through his eyes, followed by silence.
Later, at the hospital, DH and I tried to remain jovial despite wanting to chew our fingernails off. We filled in the paperwork, tried to ask the technician in charge (who clearly didn’t speak English as his first language) a couple of questions and quietly reminded ourselves that this had to be done.
BB, who seemed far less worried than us, kept busy playing Angry Birds (don’t you just wish you could distract yourself that easily?)
He was totally unfazed, until the Filipino nurse inserted the needle – and then all hell broke lose.
“He will keep still, won’t he?” asked the technician, as the nurse injected the radioactive fluid that was to go round his body. “For 30 minutes.”
THIS was the part I was dreading. If he moved, the test would have to be done again. I just couldn’t imagine my darling boy not moving for a whole half hour – not my active 6YO, who doesn’t even stay still while asleep (he sleep walks, even!)
And so started the bribery.
“BB, you have to stay still. If you stay still, we’ll take you straight to Chuck E. Cheese’s afterwards. AND the toy store. You can buy whatever you want.
“How about that 135-piece 3D Titanic model you really wanted? Mommy will help you make it.” [boy, did I regret that one!]
“And Global Village – we’ll go there too. Tomorrow.”
It worked – his panic subsided, his breathing slowed.
“And BB, you know what? This test is going to give you superhero powers! You’ll be like Radioactive Man – for the rest of the day. How cool is that?”
Very, apparently. Enough to keep my little wriggler quiet and as still as a statue – almost – for 30 long minutes while the scan was successfully carried out. Phew!
He may not have glowed green that afternoon, but he is my superhero.