Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy B-Day! Here's 10 pricks with the needle!

Poor Jack. Last week we had his 12 month "well baby" check-up at the clinic. I should have known things were off to a bad start when it took me forever to find a parking spot. I try to schedule most of our appointments in the morning, before things get too busy. Before there was a Jack, I'd schedule all my prenatal appointments during the 7am slot. Sure it's no fun to get up at o'dark thirty, but least I knew the docs wouldn't be running behind. I can't quite swing that hour with a 1 year old, so today we were scheduled for 8:40 and "please arrive 15 minutes early." Anyone else think this is funny about military clinics? Every appointment I make I'm told to arrive 15 minutes early. Why not just schedule me for a time 15 minutes earlier?
Well anyway, we walk into a very crowded clinic and immediately I notice all the men in uniform, wearing surgical masks. Faaan-tastic. We're probably sharing a room with swine flu carriers. (In their defense, I may just be being dramatic. They keep those masks in the waiting rooms, along with tissues and sanitizer, for people with "colds" although I've never seen anyone use them ... until now.) Jack and I "read" through a few of his favorite "touch and feel" books and then I was pleasantly surprised to hear his name called without too long of a wait.
I laid him on the scale, and stripped him down to his birthday suit. I would just like to add here that he never once squirmed and flipped over during this process, like he usually does at home. I'm convinced he was trying to impress the nurse. Our Tank is 27.9 lbs. Which is actually a little less than what Jon and I had guessed based on our home scale, but since it's in the 97th percentile I'm quite relieved. I know we have a big kid, but for some reason it makes me feel a little better knowing he still has a place on "the grid." On the other hand, since Day 1 I've been worried that he's never getting enough to eat (I know, I know) so I feel better knowing that he's maintained his position for the past year despite how little, or how much, I've been feeding him.
Jack's 33 inches tall, which is also in the 97th percentile. I'm a little surprised by this. I mean, his height and weight look proportionate in person, but I still can't believe we have a kid on the "tall" side. The only tall person in either of our families is my mother-in-law's father. And those genes did not carry through to MIL or to Jon. But perhaps baby-height has nothing to do with destiny. Only time will tell.
I think the doctor was a tad disappointed in Jack's development. No, he doesn't say 3 words, just mama. No, he can't walk yet. Yes, he still stands on his tip-toes. No, he doesn't hold his own bottle. Yes, he can take a sippy cup but he won't drink a whole serving of milk out of one. Yes, he can wave bye-bye he just won't do it for you today. Yes, he's eating table food but he's not consuming nearly as much as he did when he was eating baby food. To which she responded, and I could have BET MONEY she'd say this because they always do: "Well, he's obviously healthy." I'm fairly certain a doctor or nurse has told me that at every appointment we've been to. Nothing like having your concerns taken seriously.
Our visit with the doctor was, thankfully, short. But then she sent us to the labs for bloodwork. I'm not sure why, some routine blood check they do at 12 months. So we waited, and waited. More "touch and feel" books. More flirting with the people sitting in the row behind us. More trying to touch the lady sitting next to us. We finally got called back where I was told they would prick Jack's heel twice, just to get enough blood to fill these tiny tube thingers. It didn't sound too bad to me. So they did. And didn't get enough blood. Then they pricked him at least 2 more times. Still not enough. By this time Jack is pretty upset. It's past naptime, he's in a strange place, and some guy is stabbing his heel. The blood-drawer finally gave up and called over another person, who informed us we'd have to take it out of us arm. So I had to sit in the chair, with my son on my lap and his arm strapped down and tied off with a piece of elastic. By now I'm frantically trying to disract Jack with a book, while the nurse stuck a needle in his arm and drew two tiny vials of blood. Jack was beyond upset, and everyone sitting around us looked just as uncomfortable. Thankfully it was over soon and he calmed down right away and was back to playing games and crawling all over mommy by the time I made it to our next stop, and more waiting, in the immunization room.
Now I know there's a large debate about immunizations, and whether children should have them, and when they should have them, etc. We get them, and for now, we get them on schedule. If I could, I think I would space them out a bit more. So far we have had no trouble at all. Jack's never had a bad reaction, and except for taking a longer than usual nap afterwards I've never noticed anything different. But at those visits we've only ever had 3. This time they gave him 5 shots. And all this just minutes after having his heel pricked and blood drawn. I was really getting upset. I wish Jon would have been there because he would have had the courage to say "no" to at least a few of the vacs, or asked if we could come back later. But he wasn't, and sometimes I'm a wuss with authority figures. Jack was a mess. You could tell he was exhausted and confused ... and sore. The nurse gave him a lollipop when it was over. He's never had one before but I wasn't about to deny him the pleasure. So, as usual, he was quick to recover and spent the next 20 minutes happily alternating between sucker and pacifier. Two sucks here, two sucks there, and switch.
When we got home I couldn't get him to take a nap. It was almost lunch time anyway. He seemed fine, just a little more fussy and clingy than usual. Especially that night when Jon got home. He just sat on Jon's lap for a long time without moving. I thought he was just extra tired from the day. But then he wanted me to hold him and for the next hour he just laid on my belly and watched HGTV. I was starting to get worried because this is very un-Jack-like. I was about to put him down to bed early when he got a second wind and seemed back to normal roving about the living room and opening all the cupboard doors. Jon put him to bed and about an hour later he woke up crying. He felt a little hot so we decided to take his temperature. This is the first time we've ever taken Jack's temperature. I have an ear thermometer I've tried a few times but it's never been accurate. We figured this situation called for the big guns, if you know what I mean. I guess I was kinda hoping I could go through life never having to take my young child's temperature that-a-way but no such luck. Between the two of us it wasn't too bad. It turned out Jack had a fever of over 101. We were both a little worried. We're new parents and this is the first time Jack has ever been sick, except for a two colds. I assumed it was just a result of the vaccinations, which just made me more angry. I think Jon was afraid Jack had picked up swine flu in the waiting room or something. So we gave him some Tylenol, took turns holding, kissing and snuggling up on the littlest love of our life, and got him back to sleep in his bed. Jon wanted to take him to the hospital if he still had a fever by a few hours later, but I checked on him and he seemed better. By morning he was back to his old self again. Even so, Jon took off work to stay home and offer me back-up taking care of his recovering child. Jack must have been saving up all the energy he didn't spend the day before because he was extra wild that day. I had to take him on a long walk to 7/11 to get him out of the house and to get me some caffeine in the form of a fountain drink (shhh, don't tell #2 Mama's breaking pregnancy rules).
And that was how the military clinic celebrated Jack's 1 year milestone. Now, not to bash on military medicine, because for the most part they've been very good to us. But Jon and I are seriously considering switching Jack to a civilian doctor. You know, the kind that have stuffed animals attached to their stethoscopes and who don't have to ask you your family history at every visit because they were the same doctor that met with you last time you were there? The kind of doctor that has a phone number so if your child gets sick after a shot you can call them with questions. The kind that have toys in the waiting room for kids to play with instead of surgical masks and sanitizer. Yeah, that kind. Then again, Jack only has one more appointment before we move (and I think I'm going to make Jon take him). And, as one of my Facebook friends commented: This is the kind of healthcare we can all look forward to if the new bill gets passed. Yikes, I said it! I made a political comment on my Mommy blog. I better stop now.

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