So remember how I thought the pediatrician just thought I was angry and maybe a little crazy? And she was brushing me off? I take it back. The next day she called to say she’d personally gotten us in with the ENT. When? Oh, immediately! Could I just go over there NOW? (I was wearing my pajamas when she called. Also, Monkey was at school. But we made it, somehow.)
The ENT said many interesting things, making noises with his mouth-hole that sounded like “here are the things that are clearly wrong which I can see even before we start testing further” and also “chronic infection that has probably been making him miserable for a long time” and finally “I had another case just like this with a kid with Asperger’s and I’m telling you that you will not BELIEVE the change once we get him treated.” I am a little bit in love with the ENT now. Sorry, Otto.
(Oh, don’t feel bad for Otto that I said that! He doesn’t mind, on account of HE IS BUSY DYING. Both Otto and Chickadee are so beset by flu that I am starting to feel like Clara Barton, only way crankier. And neither of them care what I do right now as long as I periodically croon “poor little bunny.”)
So the ENT made up a list of tests we should do.
First, a nice nurse took Monkey away and did something called a tympanogram, after which the ENT informed me that Monkey probably could barely hear out of his right ear at all. “What?” said Monkey. HAR HAR. Not noticing your kid is half-deaf is funny!
Next, they told us he should really have a sleep study, because his tonsils are big and his head is filled with fluid and possibly his adenoids are trying to eat his liver. I may have made up that last bit. But the ENT said he would “bet money” that Monkey has sleep apnea, and so he wanted to check it out.
Fine, I said. I am an agreeable sort. Great, he said. I’ll have the nurse set you up.
When can you get to the sleep lab? asked the nurse. How about tomorrow night? Uhhhhh. Okay, sure. (This happened on Wednesday. So the tomorrow in question is now yesterday. You’re welcome.)
We were given a sheaf of paperwork and directions to drive to the lab and call this number when we arrived to be let into the building. Fine. I medicated and poor-little-bunny-ed my husband and daughter before we left, last night, and then Monkey and I drove an hour to the lab, which was in a deserted and somewhat spooky area. And then I called the number given to me.
It went straight to voicemail.
I stayed calm! I waited a few minutes and tried again. It went to voicemail again; I left a message. I called Otto, and asked him to get online and check the address and such, to make sure we were in the right place. Monkey stood next to me out in the cold, in front of this deserted building, in his jammies and robe and coat, and said maybe we should go home.
We had the right place. I called the number again. Voicemail again.
I called the ENT’s answering service and explained the problem. They told me to call the number I’d been calling; I told them it was going to a phone that appeared to be turned off. They told me to ring the buzzer; I told them there was no buzzer. I asked if we were maybe at the wrong door? They said they’d page the doctor.
I called Otto again. I may have been a little freaked out by then.
Monkey and I ended up driving around the building until HALF AN HOUR LATER when the tech called and insisted that he’d “called me back several times.” Which was complete and utter bullshit. He’d left his phone off and then (eventually) either the answering service or the ENT himself called the direct lab number and chewed him a new one, is my guess.
We parked by the correct door and got let in and Monkey grumped at the tech and we were taken to a very nice room with a big bed and told it would be ANOTHER HOUR before he’d be wired up. By this time it was already an hour past Monkey’s bedtime. He whined a little and then promptly climbed into the bed and fell asleep.
For an hour I listened to the tech chat on the phone with a friend and then his girlfriend. Eventually he sauntered in, woke Monkey up, and started hooking him up to every wire in the entire universe. Monkey—having been woken up to be wired—was mightily displeased and kept trying to crawl back into bed. It was fairly pitiful.
Eventually he was all hooked up and we were allowed to turn off the light and “sleep.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA. HA. Ha. Oy.
Monkey is a stomach sleeper. Guess which is the ONLY position you are not allowed to be in for a sleep study? NO, REALLY, GUESS! Apparently it compresses the chest belts which are there to monitor respiration. So every time Monkey turned to his stomach, the tech would get on the intercom and tell him to turn over. And then Monkey would cry. And I would fantasize about punching the tech.
In the meantime, I was parked in a giant leather recliner next to the bed. It was a pretty comfortable chair, really, and I should’ve been able to sleep in it. Except, I couldn’t, because:
1) Monkey didn’t sleep
2) Leather is slippery.
I brought a pillow with me, but every time I tried to arrange it so that I could actually, you know, USE IT, it would slide out from under my head. I am not even kidding.
Over the course of the 10:15 to 5:30 timeframe when Monkey was supposed to be SLEEPING so that he could be STUDIED, it went something like the following:
10:15 – 11:00 p.m. Tech chats on the phone with his buddies, loudly, just outside our door, pausing only to bark through the intercom when Monkey flips the wrong way. I continually futz with my phone to play “soothing music” for his royal I Want To Sleep On My Stomach Whyyyyy Caaaaaaan’t I-ness.
11:00 – 11:20 p.m. I doze off.
11:20 p.m. Monkey says he has to use the bathroom. The tech comes in and helps him and his wires get up.
11:22 p.m. – 12:45 a.m. Tech chats on the phone some more. I switch the soothing music to white noise. Monkey flops around in the bed like a beached fish.
12:50 – 1:20 a.m. I doze off.
1:20 a.m. Monkey asks if it’s time to go home.
1:21 – 2:23 a.m. Monkey dozes, still flopping around.
2:24 a.m. Monkey becomes convinced that the pulse oximeter on his finger is making his entire arm fall asleep. GET IT OFF GET IT OFF IT HURTS I HATE IT CAN WE GO HOME NOW? The tech comes in and redoes the tape. Monkey continues to whine and grumble.
2:25 – 2:45 a.m. I whisper useful sentiments like “shhhh, it’s okay” and “just relax, buddy.”
2:46 a.m. Monkey says he has to use the bathroom. The tech comes in and helps him and his wires get up.
2:48 – 3:10 a.m. Monkey sobs softly about wanting to go home while I precariously teeter on the edge of the bed—so as not to interfere with any wires—and rub the patch of his back not wrapped up or covered in sensors.
3:11 a.m. I slide back into the recliner. Monkey is quiet.
3:30 a.m. Monkey asks if it’s time to go home.
3:31 – 4:50 a.m. Monkey flops around in the bed like a beached fish.
4:50 a.m. – 5:05 a.m. I doze off.
5:06 a.m. Monkey says he has to use the bathroom. The tech says if he can wait just a few minutes, we can wrap up and be done. So we wait until he starts barking orders like “Look right. Now cough. Now look left,” through the intercom. Monkey complies, whining all the while that he really, REALLY has to go.
5:15 a.m. The tech comes in, turns on the light, and begins removing all of the leads and wires. Monkey dashes for the bathroom as if he hasn’t gone in days.
5:30 a.m. I have gathered up our things, filled out the post-test paperwork, and realized that Monkey’s head is covered with conductive goo.
5:31 – 5:35 a.m. I wash Monkey’s hair in the bathroom sink. He chats the entire time about how he’s not tired at all and can he go to school and can he bring cookies and do I know if it’s pajama day?
5:40 – 6:55 a.m. We drive home. I stay awake the entire time! So proud of me!
7:20 a.m. I take Monkey to school and he acts perfectly normal. I nearly break down weeping every time someone so much as looks at me, I feel so crappy and tired, but he is FINE. I suspect he is a pod person.
I asked the tech before we left if Monkey actually SLEPT long enough for him to get the data he needed, and he said “he slept a little, so it’s gonna be kind of borderline.” I don’t know what that means. But I do know that I will cheerfully choose removing his damn adenoids with my own two hands and a pair of pliers rather than ever go back to that horrible place. They should call it the HAHAHAHA YOU CAN’T SLEEP, SUCKER Lab.
Last night is DEFINITELY going on the “after all I’ve selflessly done for you” list I keep in my head. So far it consists of 1) labor, 2) that one stomach flu and 2) this sleep study.