With $3 in my wallet

By Mir
April 6, 2010

So today has been completely awesome so far. I knew that first thing this morning Chickadee had a pediatrician appointment, and I’d carefully arranged my day so that it wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, right around dinner last night I was feeling pretty proud of myself for having worked ahead and such so as to have a couple of hours to spare this morning without any difficulty. Yay, me!

Of course—as is typical the moment I’m feeling on top of things—hubris decided to smack me back down, hard. It started at bedtime last night. “Mom. Mooooooom!” Monkey dragged his way down the stairs, eyes dark hollows, nose running faster than he could chase it with a fistful of Kleenex. “I need some snuffly medicine. Please.” I gave him a decongestant and remarked on how allergy season has been really rough this Spring, but after three more trips downstairs and the grand finale of “Myyyy eeeeeeeeear!” and associated sobbing at 10:00 or so, I had to admit he was likely more sick than allergic.

Well, we were going to the ped, anyway. No problem!

Except… problem. First of all, the early morning appointment meant I had to wake up a sick and miserable child who’d not gotten enough sleep, so that was exactly as joyous as you might suppose. Second, we recently switched to a new doctor (on account of our old one was a tool), and Monkey hadn’t actually been seen at this office yet. Meaning he was a new patient. Meaning that when we arrived and I tried to explain that Chickadee had an appointment but Monkey was clearly nursing an ear infection and could the doc just take a quick look, please, the desk admin told me he couldn’t be seen because he needed a new patient appointment and they didn’t have any of those. Fortunately, we looked just pitiful enough that she added, “Well, let me go check with the doctor,” and then came back and gave me some forms to fill out.

Have I mentioned that I love the new doctor? Because I kind of love the new doctor. (Seriously, what kind of doctor would turn away a clearly sick child—with insurance!—first thing in the morning in an empty office? Probably our old doctor, come to think of it.)

So, everyone got measured and weighed and had their blood pressure taken, and then the doc came in and looked at Monkey. She took one look at his red-rimmed nose and suggested I “put some Vaseline on that” and I tried not to feel like a bad mother as I pointed out that I’ve been chasing him around with Aquaphor for a month, but he keeps wiping it off. She then checked him out and declared that he not only had an ear infection, but that his ear membrane was “so heavily lesioned” she wanted him on an antibiotic even though she normally lets kids his age kind of tough it out. “I’m worried about a perforation,” she explained, and then Monkey wanted to know why his eardrum would have a line of little holes allowing it to easily separate from the rest of him. (Literal Boy to the rescue with the comic relief!)

We then talked about seasonal allergies and his current meds (Zyrtec, which is currently doing absolutely nothing so far as I can tell), and also about his ridiculously high tolerance for pain (I believe what I said was, “Once he starts crying about his ear I pretty much figure his brain might be melting, given how little he complains”). The doc prescribed more meds and then moved on to Chickadee while Monkey slumped in a chair with a book and a box of Kleenex.

So, remember how y’all said “Oh, don’t worry about Chickadee failing her scoliosis screening, she’s fine!”? Remember that? LIARS, ALL OF YOU. She totally has scoliosis! Of course! Because the glasses, the braces, and the persistent mysterious skin condition were NOT ENOUGH for a 12-year-old to have to deal with. I mean, I know she’s the queen of drama and tragedy and all, but at this point I’m actually feeling pretty sorry for her. Poor kid. So the doc ordered x-rays and said they’ll measure the curvature and decide how to proceed. Best case scenario is that they decide to monitor her and we’ll go back for more x-rays in a few months. Worst case is… well, we’re not thinking about that.

I paid the bill and we left, and I told Chickadee that we’d go do the x-rays another day, because she’d already missed a couple of classes, and also dragging Monkey all over town with an ear infection was probably not a great idea. And then she whined about how she was just going to have to miss MORE school on ANOTHER day if we didn’t just GET IT OVERWITH, and Monkey said he didn’t mind, so fine, we drove back across town to the hospital to have her x-rayed.

[Aside: I used the bathroom in the waiting room, washed and dried my hands, and then when they came out to collect Chickadee I started to walk back with her and realized that the ring I’d been wearing—which is just a little too big and I already knew really needs to be sized down a bit—was missing. Yes, I did allow my child to go into the x-ray room alone while I went and DUG THROUGH THE BATHROOM TRASH for my damn ring. I found it, thank God. Chickie was fairly understanding but I felt crappy about it.]

So they shot a series of x-rays and put them up on the computer screen and the two techs and I all went “Whoa, hey, that doesn’t look right.” Then one of the techs rushed to assure me “I’ve seen worse,” which frankly, I didn’t find all that reassuring. Chickadee’s spine is very, very pretty. Yes. Like a lovely winding road! Ahem.

We then left the hospital, drove to the pharmacy, dropped off Monkey’s prescriptions, drove to the middle school, dropped off Chickadee, and then went back to the pharmacy. “Can I take a nap now?” Monkey asked, as we pulled back into the pharmacy parking lot.

Poor kid.

We got his meds and headed home. He is now dosed up and sleeping, and Chickadee is likely at school showing off the hospital bracelet she refused to take off when we left there. Heh.

The whole adventure took upwards of four hours, and although it cost close to $150 in copays, I didn’t have to pay for any of it in cash. And that was a good thing, because it meant that when I discovered I only had $3 in my purse, I was able to drive through the donut place and spend $2.12 on two donuts with sprinkles with a clear conscience and serenity. The serenity proved to be especially useful, because Monkey promptly dropped his and got sprinkles all over the back seat of my car.

Hey, sprinkles may not fix scoliosis or a near-perforated eardrum, but they made the kids a whole lot more cheerful than everything ELSE I dragged them through this morning.

Moral of the story: Always make sure you have at least a few bucks on you in case of DONUT EMERGENCY.


  1. Jess

    Clearly people were more lax about scoliosis when your readers were kids. ;) Hopefully, they’ll decide to monitor her!

  2. Lylah

    With $3 in your pocket, you could buy 3 buck chuck at Trader Joe’s!


  3. Leandra

    Yikes! My cousin had scoliosis as a child and now she has the most lovely posture. (Looking for bright side — that’s my specialty!) We’ll keep y’all in our prayers!!

  4. Chuck

    I have a (slight) bit of curvature in my spine, but it wasn’t diagnosed until I was grown up. A monthly trip to the chiropractor seems to keep things adjusted adequately, though. Hope Chickadee’s curvature is slight enough to just be monitored, and that Monkey feels better soon!

  5. Barbara

    Donuts with sprinkles should be reimbursable as medical expenses. Totally.

  6. Emm

    Fun times, indeed! Just wanted to say that Zyrtec did nothing for my dd at all. It was literally as if she had taken nothing. We switched over to Allegra and she’s much less snuffly. Might be worth investigating?

  7. Jamie

    I’ve always had a “slight” scoliosis, but I can’t recall if it was ever x-rayed. I do know that my left shoulder and hip are slightly higher than the right as a result. Hopefully it’s not too big of a deal for Chickie. I feel a donut emergency now, too!

  8. Aimee

    Gah! Poor kids, and poor you! It sounds like you could’ve used a sprinkle donut too or (as the astute Lylah recommended) some vino.

  9. Tracy

    Wow. You did all that in 4 hours. You are good! I’m so sorry about the news but hopefully it’s not too severe. I had horrible ear problems at Monkey’s age. I can do nothing but sympathis with him. I will keep ya’ll in my prayers.

  10. Kelly

    Man y’all have had it rough – but so glad you had donuts to make it all better!

  11. Randi

    Awww! Rough week already! I hope that things clear up for everyone very soon!!

  12. osteff

    Just adding my two cents — nose spray veramyst works wonders for allergies!! you know, since our noses are our filters if we treat them to fight the allergens less get in!

    Poor Monkey, hope he feels better, soon.

  13. Chris

    hoping there are more sprinkles for you soon.

  14. Scottsdale Girl

    “Can I take a nap now?”
    Oh to be a child again…. I say this everyday to no one in particular somewhere between 1 and 3pm.

    Speedy recovery to Monkey’s ear…and Chickadee’s winding road!

  15. 12tequilas

    Hey, I’ve been there and can tell you that if your ear is bad enough to almost perforate (mine actually did) it really really really hurts, so it doesn’t surprise me that Mister Laid Back About Sickness complained. Glad he got on the meds in time. Especially the donuts.

  16. Mom24@4evermom

    Hope Monkey’s better by now and that Chickadee has the watch and see variety. I’m totally jealous of your insurance, we would have been out the $150 before we even left the doctor. :(

  17. elz

    Oh, mama, what a day! Here’s my silver lining view- All of Chickie’s DRAMAZ is happening now. So, once everything resolves, she will be blissfully free of any dating, college, or partying drama down the line. Right, right?! Also, I’m pretty sure most craptacular days can be brightened with a sprinkled donut.

  18. Holly

    Hydrogen Peroxide in the affected ear works wonders. I used it on my five year old and he immediately said the pain was gone. It also completely healed it. Have him lay down, put a few drops in his ear and have him stay there for ten minutes. It’s itchy and uncomfortable but it really works. It also gets ear wax out as well. I hope your kids feel better soon!!

  19. Mara

    Sprinkles are good but for a day like that I’d require a cream filling. Just sayin’. I hope Monkey heals up soon and that Chickie’s scoliosis turns out to be the least-troubling kind. Seriously, poor kid!

  20. RuthWells

    Ooooh, poor kids. Poor Mir. The donuts were a masterstroke, though. I am eternally grateful that my son’s podiatrist is right next to a Dunkin’s — he was immensely cheered by a chocolate frosted after the podiatrist removed part of his large toenail. And then did it again, the following month.

    Donuts is good.

  21. Little Bird

    Should ear drops be required, and should they be the kind that must be applied warm, do not, I repeat, DO NOT use the microwave to heat them up. When I was a tyke, I needed such drops and my folks had to literally hold me down to apply them. In retrospect my mother realizes that that method of heating them could have rendered me deaf. And she feels immensely guilty about it. I think if they had used a different method of heating, it wouldn’t have required both of them to hold me down and the whole ordeal would have been less frustrating for them and less painful for me! I should have gotten doughnuts with sprinkles for that!! For LIFE!

  22. Tirzah

    Well it sounds like an eventful day was had by all! Hopefully Monkeys ear is all better soon and I’m sure that Chickadee will be just fine with monitoring and your non-tooly doctor!

  23. Headless Mom

    New kid doc sounds great-it’s about time!

  24. Emma

    Poor Kids….hope they are feeling better soon!

  25. Kat

    I had a friend in school with severe scoliosis. She had several operations and ended up with a rod in her back. She’s now a very tall and very highly paid model. Travels all over the world, always first class, and she claims she owes it all to having scoliosis. I was always so jealous…

  26. carolyn

    I had surgery for scoliosis when I was 13. It was a little tough for about 10 months, but I have been fine since. Also, I have great posture and no lingering health issues related to it. My 17 year old daughter was monitored for scoliosis thoughout her growing years. She started with a mild case but it never developed into anything. Hope the same thing happens for Chickie!!

  27. Robin

    My two bits: I’m 47 and I was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14, well after I started puberty. My only option (back in the dark ages) was a surgery that would require me to lay in bed encased in a cast for about a year. Both my mother and I said no way. I have regretted that decision for the past twenty odd years. Every day is filled with constant back pain. Every. Day. I am now forming a dowager hump on my back (yes, it is lovely, thanks!) WHATEVER treatments may be offered to Chickadee, even ones that seem painful/inconvenient/expensive, please look at them seriously. The steps you take now could save her a life time of pain and discomfort. By the way….my diagnosis back then? Mild to moderate scoliosis. We just didn’t think it would be as big of a deal as it turned out to be.

  28. Karen


    Oh Mir.

  29. MelissaB

    No knowledge of scoliosis but have had eardrums rupture many times, mine are all scarred and thick now. FWIW, if it does rupture it feels so much better so unbelievably fast. Recovery is a pain but not physically, you just have to be really careful to not get water in the ear. The last time it happened to me, I didn’t even know it. I went to blow my nose in the middle of the night and scared my dog to the point he went flying out of the room. He didn’t like the high pitched whistle sound coming from my ear. My husband didn’t like it either, he also went running out of the room, but insisted he wasn’t scared by the noise, he just thought the dog was hurt. I was laughing so hard by that point that I nearly wet the bed!

  30. Tiffany

    I’m Sorry Mir. I hope the Curve is mild and can just be monitored. Emily starts her Boston brace on thursday(she is now at 32 degrees in one curve and 20s in the other),we didnt want to have her wearing it while the stitches for her spinal cord surgery were still healing. There is a good website called spinekids that has kids and parents on there talking about treatment/surgeries etc. Ive been on there reading about how to make the brace more comfortable.
    (((hugs))) I hope Monkey feels better soon also!

  31. RegularCinderella

    Little Sister had a kid in her class with a busted ear drum…he’s the highlight of our dinner conversation, even though it was months ago. As far hospital x-rays go, they probably wouldn’t have let you in with her, anyway…uterus or not, they don’t take any chances. ;-)
    Hope things turn out well for Chickadee–she’s 12!?!? When did that happen? and that Monkey feels better soon!

  32. JulieB

    I had two friends in HS (twin sisters) who had scoliosis and they both wore braces at different points. They were very popular and did just fine. Hoping for the easiest solution, but if something more is necessary, hoping Chickadee will have as easy a time as my friends did.

  33. carrien (she laughs at the days)

    I have heard some good things about chiropractors and scoliosis. It can sometimes help a lot, without needing to resort to surgery or braces and stuff. My dad has scoliosis all his life and a lot of pain. He finally listened to people about seeing a chiropractor in his 50’s and the pain started to diminish significantly, and his spine even straightened some. He now wishes he had started chiro treatment much younger.

  34. Amy

    I had to laugh at Monkey’s thoughts about perforation…I have two boys with Aspergers, and literal is their middle name! I am sorry the kids are having it so rough right now, though! Hope things get better soon. : )

  35. Lady M

    Wishing better health luck for Chickadee! And Monkey, of course. And better a dozen donuts all around.

    I remember lining up in the hallway my the school nurse’s office in our elementary school, waiting to be tested. The good old days of actually having school nurses.

  36. Brigitte

    Ah, yes, the good ol’ chocolate-frosted with sprinkles. I too have bought the emergency doughnuts for the little girl, sometimes with the change I throw into the cup holder, if my wallet was empty. Good thoughts are being sent your way, sweetie!

  37. JennyM

    That Chickadee, man. You know, some kids just have all the luck.

    one of my best friends growing up was diagnosed with “moderate” scoliosis and wore a brace for much of our childhood. She also had glasses and headgear. (Do orthodontists still prescribe those awful things?) My other best friend was… vertically challenged, had glasses, braces and a good case of acne starting at about 10. I had glasses, braces, a periodic mysterious eczema-like skin condition, severe seasonal allergies and was about a foot taller and 30 lbs lighter than anyone else. It may be reassuring to know that we’re all now reasonably attractive, successful adults! But looking back, good heavens, I don’t know how we survived all that. We were quite a trio– but at least we had each other, I guess. Middle school is the pits, for real.

    I hope the spine situation is something that can just be monitored. And I hope Monkey feels better soon. Happy drug-induced Bakugan dreams to him!

    PS — Mmmmm, doughnuts.

  38. JennyM

    (Oh, and it’s extremely annoying to my inner childhood self that my husband was apparently one of those kids who had NO “issues” as a child — perfect vision, straight teeth, etc. If we ever do have children, he’s in for it.)

  39. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh my LORD. What a day. I really hope Chickadee doesn’t have to go through any more crap than she already has. It seems so unfair. Everyone has their “thing”, but it seems like some kids just get heaped with it.

  40. Crisanne

    Glad the new pediatrician seems better than the old one. Do you have a referral to an orthopedist? I’m guessing she has an S curve since you called it a winding road. One thing to keep in mind-don’t compare curvature measurements if the x-rays aren’t taken from the same direction. Some docs prefer facing the x-ray machine, others with the back to it. I switched docs once and everybody thought I’d had a huge jump in my curve till they realized it was just the change of position. Her body will be changing so much over the next few years, hopefully they will just monitor her for a while.

  41. Katie in MA

    I always keep $20 tucked away in my wallet for emergencies just like that one. It just about covers a venti Starbucks and a sugar cookies each – and if I’m willing to pay their prices, it MUST be an emergency! ;) Hope your serenity lasts as long as you need it to. We’ll all send Chickie “Straighten Up Or Else!” vibes!

  42. Jenn

    I had a perforated ear drum when I was a kid and it really sucked, although I only know it sucked because I have been told many times about how miserable I was. I don’t remember it at all.

    Is Monkey on regular Zyrtec or Zyrtec-D? My husband has tried just about every allergy medicine and only things marked “D” work (Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D, etc.) I can’t take them because they make me terribly, terribly alert, which is really crappy because they work really well for me.

  43. David

    Wait a minute! Hold on there, Missy. D’you meant to say you didn’t get lost going to the new doctor’s office? And the car didn’t didn’t have a flat tire or ‘splode or anything? And the school didn’t call an hour after you dropped her off to say Chickie was sick now too? Hmm. This is just way too smooth for one of your days. Oh, wait, Otto’s in town, isn’t he? That’s gotta be it. There’s no other rational explanation for all that stuff that actually worked out. I mean besides getting sprinkles on the car seat. *chuckling, and so glad you can’t swat me from way over there in Georgia* Seriously though, I’m glad for the things that went right for y’all yesterday. Three cheers for the new Doctor!

  44. Paula Douglas

    Now it is Wed night, and you haven’t posted. I’m a lurker and I WORRY about you when you don’t post. Looking foward to Love Thursday. Love your writing!

  45. Trish

    You know, here in Wisconsin, they don’t even screen for scoliosis anymore. Hubs and I were just talking about that…we clearly remember being separated boys from girls, lined up in the downstairs locker room, shirts off, and bending over multiple times during our school careers. Being that we share 1 nurse with 4 schools (Yeah, you read that right), I think a child could possibly grow horns and if her hair was fluffy enough, nobody would catch it. It’s kinda sad really….good luck to your daughter!!!


  46. Debra

    Here’s the x-ray tech in me wishing you both much luck with a brace so you don’t need the surgery. If you don’t get a referral to an ortho ask for one. I work with 2 days/month with a wonderful pediatric ortho from Hotlanta. His patients LOVE him. Also, I have a friend who is a top notch pediatrician and she has the most horrendous scoliosis of anyone I have ever seen. She gets her relief from yoga. And don’t feel bad at all about not going into the x-ray room with Chickie. Most facilities will ask the parents to wait outside the door if the child is school age and seems unafraid anyway! It’s all about keeping the radiation dose low for everyone. Even Mom.

    Yay for sprinkles.

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