Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I almost wish for the common cold...

Here we go again. Last winter, my then-7-year old son had a hemangioma (big word for broken blood vessel) in his toe. It involved buckets of blood, visits to my podiatrist, minor surgery, a special shoe, and loads of drama and attention. That reigned as our best family-injury story...until this week. My 5-year old son woke up Sunday morning complaining that his shoulder hurt. Immediately I chalked it up to the incessant brother-tackling and arm-twisting that occur on a daily basis in our house. Following the time-honored Mommy Tradition, I gave him Motrin and assured him he'd be fine. However, by Monday he was clutching his arm tightly to his side, crying in pain whenever he tried to move it. My husband whisked him off to the pediatrician's office, where Riley was seen by the most senior doctor in the practice. This experienced, knowledgeable man...admitted he was stumped. If that's not disconcerting enough, he called in his partner, also a wise, older physician...who didn't know what it was either. So, we got an expedited pass to the Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, so he could try his diagnostic luck. Fortunately, the Specialist was a delightful man--he called Riley "dude" and made silly jokes to distract him as he gently poked and prodded. Unfortunately, I could see the tears glimmering in Riley's eyes, and his lower lip quivering as he bravely whispered "yes" each time the doctor asked if it hurts. But at last, the verdict! The Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon is: not sure. Well, he knows it's an enlarged lymph node, but he can't tell us why. He seemed intent upon blaming the cat, though, which I could thoroughly get behind. Except that his questions were: "when was the last time the cat bit him?" Um, never. "Scratched him?" Not once in his life. "'Well, what does the cat do to him?" He PURRS at him! Does that help? All in all, this was not the concrete, definitive diagnosis and treatment plan I was looking for to cure my child and ease my mind. So for now Riley gets heating pads, super-strength antibiotics, and round-the-clock Motrin. And we keep our fingers crossed. And maybe heap some more guilt on the cat!

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