This week the poor little Gadlet went through some terrible stuff. Not as bad as it could be, thank the stars, maker, Gods, God, whoever and whatever, but deeply unfun nonetheless.

She started off last week with a low-grade fever and serious grouchies. Horay, I thought, Teething! Um, no. The fever persisted for days, so I took her in to the pediatrician. At first pass, they thought it might be pneumonia, so the Gadlet had to have a chest x-ray.

How do you x-ray a squirmy infant? Funny you should ask.

They stuffed her into this thing:

I don’t know what kind of baby happy crack they put this kid on to get this picture where he looks all calm and normal except for the vacant look in his eye, but the Gadlet did not like this thing AT ALL. She screamed her little tiny head off. Worse, she looked at me the whole time going “mamamamamamama!!!” in between sobs as if I had betrayed her in the vilest way. Which in a way I had because it was my job to stand there HOLDING HER ARMS ABOVE HER HEAD watching while she screamed, so clearly I was in on this torture that she was undergoing. It was horrible. All the while, the X-Ray technician was swearing to me up and down that it was actually better if the Gadlet screamed because then they could get a clearer image of her lungs. But you know she had to be lying just to make me feel better.

I just found out while looking for this thing on the internets that it is appropriately called, and I shit you not, a “Pigg-O-Stat.” I don’t know if that means it is a way to make a pig static, in which case I’m deeply offended that my infant is deemed a pig in medical terminology, or if the poor inventer’s name was Pigg. Either way, it did not bode well for the little Gadlet.

Well, the X-rays were fine, she did not have pneumonia. So they sent us home and told us it was viral, but to check back in a couple of days if her fever persisted.

It did, of course.

So then we had to go back on Friday. In the fun baby luck of the draw we got the rookie PA rather than the doctor, and she thought maybe ear infection. So she spent 40 minutes trying to look into the Gadlet’s ears while I held her immobilized. After 30 minutes of violent screaming and even more violent squirming, I almost wished I had the Pigg-O-Stat.

The PA finally gave up and called in the Doc. He took literally about 10 seconds to look, got a good view of her ears, and said, “Nope, not an ear infection.” That meant worse. He said, in a very loud voice to overcome the Gadlet’s screams, “Sorry, but now we have to take a urine sample and that means sticking a catheter into her urethra. Do you consent?” Once again, I became Mama the Vile Betrayer. And she thought the ear exam was bad. Woah. Add to this very rude intrusion on her internal private parts the to the fact that she never actually stopped screaming from the bungled ear-checking, and boy, was she one pissed-off infant. And then of course she peed everywhere as soon as they took it out. So she was wet, cold, mad as hell, and probably in some pain. By this point she had been crying nonstop for about 45 mintues solid. She screamed so hard that she did that sobbing breathing (huh-huh-huh haaaa, pause, Huh-huh-huh haaaaa) afterwards for half an hour even though she fell asleep. Poor little cookie. It broke my heart. Next time they stick some tubes in my baby or decide to plunk her in any thing O-Static, Spousal Unit has to come along and be Papa the Vile Betrayer. I’m not doing that one again.

Except, I think I am. It turns out that she’s got a urinary tract infection and is on antibiotics. The bad news is that there has to be more testing on May 8 at the hospital to make sure there isn’t anything wrong with her bladder, urethra or kidneys.

And what are my instructions for before the testing? Get this — we have to: not let her eat after midnight, and then make sure she comes in with a full bladder for the test.

Uh, yeah. Right. The fact that they are suggesting this prepratory process for an 8 month old (it will be her 8-month b-day on the test day) does not inspire my confidence in the hospital that has requested such a thing. Don’t you’d think they would know that you can’t tell babies not to pee and have it work?? I mean, hello, hospital? Dealing with babies all of the time?? And not nurse her after midnight? Do those foolish hospital workers want to come to my house and deal with my screaming baby at 2:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. when I refuse to nurse her? I’m guessing probably not.

Oh, and did I mention I’ve got 36 papers to grade this week, 25 to grade next week, and get another 50 on May 12? And I got another scolding email from the volume editors reminding me (as if I could forget…) that I’m a year behind and delinquent on this article I’m supposed to be writing? Add to this the fact that Spousal Unit is at his hardest point of work for the next 6 months (Overheard phone call from the Lab today — Spousal Unit “It blew up?” Pause. “How loud?” Pause. “He should really report this, especially if he is still hearing ringing in his ears.” Pause. “O.K. Well, how much got out?” Pause. “Hm…that’s not good.” At which point I was so freaked out, I left the room.) I think we’re both feeling like we’re stuffed into in the Academic equivalent of the Pigg-O-Stat.

I guess at this point all we can do is hope that the Gadlet doesn’t have another Pigg-O-Matic, (oops! Static, Stat, whatever…) in her near future.


12 responses to “Testing…One…Two…

  1. I heard someone interviewed on TV today (sorry. I forget who). He was asked what it felt like to be a new father. He said, “The best I can do is quote my baby’s mother, — from now on, I walk around with my heart outside my body” As you have so beautifully expressed.

  2. I hope that the Gadlet starts to feel better soon. And that next time you don’t have to be Mama the Vile Betrayer!

  3. Oh god, is it wrong that some of this made me laugh? Of course, I would have been bawling too if I had to hold my baby down for those treatments. Over here, we call that ‘Dad work’. Yikes. Poor Gadlet.

    And boo grading.

  4. Oh, honey, I am SO sorry. She won’t remember it, but you will.

    In a couple years, it will make a great story to tell and retell. Family lore, and all that.

  5. FWIW, breastmilk is a clear liquid, according to medical type people. If she’s allowed liquid at all you should be able to breastfeed her as much as she wants (and probably lots if they want a full bladder). Hope this effort is happier than the last.

  6. oh goodness! that looks quite uncomfortable. i’m sure that was torture for you.

  7. My daughter (two weeks older than the Gadlet) had a UTI too. If the Gadlet is having the same tests my wee one did, I can reassure you that the ultrasound is not a big deal at all. The VCUG is less easy, but having been through having the Gadlet catheterised you’ve already seen the worst of it. You have to keep them still-ish for the scanning, but not as still as you need to for getting the catheter in. None of it is fun, but it also doesn’t sound as traumatic as the Pigg-o-thing was.

    So, here’s to hoping they find that the UTI was just bad luck and that the Gadlet’s insides are in perfect working order.

    Good luck!
    Dissertating Mum

  8. OMG this sounds awful! I’m so sorry you’re the one that’s had to go through this with her without any support for yourself. I hope she’s all better soon. I can’t help but think it might be worth it to ask around to see if the instructions you’ve been given are appropriate for her age. My thoughts are with all three of you!!

  9. Whoa. This does indeed sound terrible. I hope she’s doing better and hope all goes well on the 8th. “make sure she comes in with a full bladder for the test”? WTF?

  10. oh, no. i am so late, i’m sure round 2 has happened already. and i hope everyone is feeling better.

    but boy howdy — my baby boy will be 21 next month, but i remember the pig-o-stat clearly from his young days. it is incredibly awful! hope things are on the upswing now.

  11. Yes, the Piggostat looks terrible. And the name is ridiculous. And my own son went into the thing a total of seven times in his infancy. And he screamed. And was pretty ticked off and also looked at me like I was betraying him. But, as Radiologic Technologist, I use it myself on a frequent basis. I would rather have someone use that thing on my child than have them try to do it without it and having to shoot him over and over again and keep exposing him to radiation. ALL IT DOES IS MAKE THEM HOLD STILL. That is basically the extent of it’s “horribleness”….nothing else. Think about it. It is not painful. It makes them angry. And if it reduces their radiation exposure by decreasing the chance the xray will have to be repeated then that is a good thing. I’d rather have them mad for a few minutes than have them overexposed because I am too tenderhearted. When a child is crying, they are taking in deeper breaths than normal. Since we cannot instruct a baby to take in a deep breath and hold it, it is true that it is actually easier to get a better xray when they are crying. So the tech was not lying to you. I know these things are hard to go through as a mother, becasue I have been there, but I hope you know no one there is out to torment your child. Seriously. Please don’t demonize healthcare professionals who love their jobs and love their pediatric patients. Lastly, “piggostat” has nothing to do with calling a child a “pig”. I didn’t even know what to say when I read that particular conjecture……I hope your son is doing better and hope if you ever have to take him back that it is less stressful for everyone involved.

  12. Thanks ,Rebecca for your comments. I certainly didn’t mean to disparage or demonize any medical personnel with my post. The comic relief and sarcasm was designed to relieve the tension a first-time mother felt when seeing her child receive intrusive medical tests for the first time. We all react to stress in different ways, my way is to be ironic and sarcastic and to try to find a black humor in situations that aren’t very funny.

    As for the pig reference, I’ve since been told that the Pigg-o-Stat was named for the nice man who invented it, Dr. Pigg. His great invention makes it much easier for technicians to x-ray squirming little children, and I’m sure it’s a wonderful medical tool.

    But you’ve got to admit that the name is pretty funny.

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