Saturday, December 5, 2009

Andy and the Toilet Incident

When Andy was little we made regular visits to the emergency room. That boy scared us so many times. Here are a few examples:
  • At his 2nd Christmas while visiting the Zieglers, I noticed that he was chewing on something. (Andy was always putting things in his mouth.) So I told him to open up so I could see. What I saw was a mouthful of blood and glass! He was chewing on a Christmas ornament.
  • I can’t remember how old he was when I caught him in the kitchen with medicine bottles and pills on the floor around him. I didn’t know what he had taken or how much. So…I gave him some Ipecac and called the Poison Control Center in a total panic. After telling them the kinds of pills that were out and starting to count, they told me he was in no danger. I asked why he didn’t throw up and they told me that it takes about half of hour. Half an hour?! What good is that?! Sure enough, about half an hour later I felt horribly guilty while holding my puking little guy. At this point I was pretty sure he’d swallowed nothing and was wondering what in the heck was going on.
  • We made multiple trips for steri strips and stitches from hitting the coffee table, wall, tub, etc. He once almost tore his ear in half when Tana pushed him off the bed. After a while, I felt pretty nervous walking into the Greeley County Emergency Room. My explanations sounded fake even to me!
  • The incident requiring the most stitches happened on a bicycle ride. After being warned repeatedly to watch out for the mud in the gutters (he was enjoying making tire tracks) he finally fell. I turned around to help him up. As I pulled my bicycle up beside him I realized that he was bleeding. His right handlebar was stuck in the left side of his neck! The rubber gripper had come off a while back and the exposed metal was sharp enough to pierce. I ran into the nearest house and called 911. It had stopped short of his esophagus and missed any veins or arteries. This ER trip required internal as well as external stitches.
After almost losing Andy when he was so young, it really scared me that he was so accident prone. I was afraid he would never make it through his childhood.

 On to the story…

Now, Andy is one of those males who can spend an easy half hour on the toilet. He has always been this way. In fact, we waited outside the Bramlage men’s bathroom for 10 minutes after the coliseum had cleared out once!

After one such episode when he was 3 or 4, I was in the bathroom to run the kids bath and noticed that he had forgotten to flush. Upon looking into the toilet bowl I was terrified to see that mixed in with the normal body waste were these grape-looking things.

To fully understand the terror I felt, you need to know that Todd had a cousin that died at a very young age due to cancer. The family would describe grape-like things that came out of her during baths and such. I had never heard of such a thing. But when I saw the mess in the toilet, I knew that Andy had cancer.

Almost hysterical, I ran to get Todd. We asked Andy what it was and he didn’t seem to have any idea. Of course, it surely scared him that I was so scared. I told Todd that I was taking Andy to the emergency room and that he needed to stay home with the other children. Then I got a glass from the kitchen, scooped up some of the offending material, grabbed Andy, and headed to the hospital.

The emergency room was empty that night (ah…the blessing of a small town) so the nurse took us to a room and I explained the situation. I knew all of the gals there, not just from our frequent ER visits but also from having their kids in class. After an inspection, the doctor was called. As we waited for him to come, I tearfully explained about Todd’s cousin and that I was terrified that it was the same horrible cancer. Several nurses came in and out to see this strange phenomenon. None of them had seen anything like it and they all seemed just as scared as I was!

Before the doctor came in, however, Todd came in.

While bathing Annie after we left, he noticed the toilet roll holder lying on the floor. This was not just a typical metal roll holder with a spring inside. It was a plastic slotted roll holder filled with scented granules. However, it was broken and some granules were lying on the floor and some were wet and bloated from splashed bath water. In fact, with some more water they could be bloated up like a grape.

Andy had apparently kept himself entertained on the pot by playing with this cool new toy.

Todd walked into the emergency room to see me and some nurses seriously inspecting a glass full of toilet water, poop, and scented granules. After an explanation (with broken toilet roll holder in hand), we left the ER to guffaws of laughter. But it was with great relief that we took our son and filthy glass back home.