We made an emergency room run this morning, #3 and I. He has a stomach ache which has lasted 24 hours and has not gotten better. In a regular kid, I'd put him to bed and bring him toast and chicken soup. He's not a regular kid. He eats things that aren't food. Stomach aches are serious business, because not food stuff in your intestine could kill you.
When we got to the hospital, the waiting room had only one person sitting in the chairs. She obviously had to flu, so I sat him as far from her as possible. When I filled out the "What's wrong with you?" form, I wrote "belly pain with a history of ingesting non-food items." That should be clear.
It must not be. The male 30-something nurse who took us back for triage said "What do you mean by non-food items. What does he eat?"
I smiled in that don't-judge-me-I'm-really-a-good-mom way, sighed and said, "In the past he's eaten rocks, sticks, Legos, Barbie shoes, ball bearings..you name it."
His eyes lit up and he leaned a little closer to me. As my 9 year old sat next to me, the nurse said. "Have you seen that show Addicts? It's all about how people get addicted to eating weird stuff."
I silently pleaded with him to shut up and explained that we don't have cable.
"Oh...that's too bad. There was this guy last night who was really messed up. He ate his sofa cushions. What a freak." He said in front of my son who once chewed the leather upholstery off a chair. "Those people are crazy. They'll eat anything. Nut jobs."
My son turned a worried gaze in my direction as I patted his hand. "It'll be okay." I told him. "I love you."
We left the emergency room this morning without seeing anyone. His stomach was feeling a bit better after we sat for 3 hours in the waiting room chairs. (I would think a possible perforation would be an emergency....It seems that I'm wrong.) He's in bed sipping broth and I'm writing an angry letter to the Director of Nursing. #3 may not have learned a lot in school last semester, but by golly I've learned to write a letter. (I just wish I had the nerve to say it to the jerk's face.)
I am mystified by people. I get that what my son does is strange and that the medical staff will talk about it.It's interesting to people, especially those in the medical profession. Heck, I would talk about it if he weren't my beloved child. I would just hope that I would have the sense to not discuss it in front of him, to remember that he is a human being, and to see the impact I was having on the person with those big scared eyes.
***Edited to add: I read this to my son who nodded his head and said, "Yeah, Mom, that guy was a jerk....but can you tell the blog people that I don't chew stuff any more? I go to vision therapy. I don't eat things now."
So, blog people, #3 no longer eats non-food things. He just has a crazy mother who can't let go of the past. :)