Homestead happenings: reckoning
It takes Dr. S, the ENT, three minutes to determine that Col is a good candidate for a tonsillectomy.
“Right side’s a plus four, left’s a plus three,” the doctor says after a cursory look in Col’s mouth. The scale tops out at four.
This means Col’s right tonsil is all jammed up against his uvula and his left is leaning in like a child looking for snuggles. Explaining Col’s symptoms to the doc was like watching Agatha Christie solve a mystery. Dark eye circles, short stature, bedwetting, frequent infections, snoring, daily naps: aha!
I picture Col’s mouth all clogged up with this gargantuan tissue, choking out his airway and harboring germs like stowaway rats on an ocean liner. And I’m Rational Mama, understanding the medical rhetoric and the need for this routine surgery. I carry a flag that says “tonsillectomies: 500,000 children a year can’t be wrong!” I will kiss my son goodbye in the operating room, confidently leaving him with the experts and their expert tools. My eyebrows are pleasingly tweezed and my glasses fit square on my head, not sliding down one side of my face like my left ear is caving in.
Then, I’m Freakazoid Mama, who can’t get the phrase “cauterized knife” out of my anxious mind, nor the image of someone slicing—slicing!—living tissue from my son’s throat. It doesn’t much matter that tonsillectomies are the most common childhood surgery, because at some point the anesthesiologist is going to tick off the potential complications, and somewhere buried in that list is the teensiest possibility that my child never wakes up. And even though it’s a million times less likely than a vehicular accident, and almost every day I strap my children into car seats thinking about nothing more earth-shattering than onion bagels, the bottom line is I’m going to have to consent despite the risks. And my eyebrows are an absolute mess.
Col knows his tonsils are coming out but he doesn’t want to talk about it. When I read the kids the cheesy pamphlet we got from the ENT about Benny, who can’t wait for his tonsillectomy so he can finally have enough energy to play soccer, Col hops down off the couch and says “I don’t want to hear anymore of that.” So I read the rest to Rose, which reminds me of my friend who went to couples counseling alone because her husband refused to go.
A woman I just met asked me “have you looked into alternatives?”
“Yeah, you know, like herbal teas?”
Ohhh, alternatives. Well. There was our beloved naturopath who prescribed scads of supplements, so many that we once had a list on our fridge, so we’d remember the daily Vitamin A and D, the elderberry, fish oil, loquat syrup, probiotics, cell salts… There was the acupuncturist, who waved his smoking wands of mugwort over Col’s lungs. There was the osteopath who charged $160/session to tell us that Col’s chronic wheezing and slow growth were due to allergies to rhubarb, mustard and coffee; he prescribed powdered deer antler for appetite and virility. There was the homeopath who mailed us an envelope of white powder after conducting a 45 minute interview with Col (who was 14 months), asking questions like “is Col more of a summer or winter person?” There was the wonderful chiropractor who gave Col free treatments, kissing the top of Col’s small, fuzzy head after an adjustment. If I could have hopped on a tornado to see the Wizard of Oz, I would have, beseeching him for a new pair of lungs.
And I love alternative medicine; all of it helped Col in some way for some length of time. But I think we’ve exhausted our options. Let’s hope Rational Mama and Freakazoid Mama can holds hands in solidarity for this boy; surgery scheduled for March 8th.
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Here’s some homestead cheer:
::Baba and Nana opening presents from the kids.
My dad is a scientist, and he and Col have this great symbiosis where Col asks zillions of questions (Why do helium balloons float away? Can we run faster than the Earth spins? What is earwax?) and Baba says “well Col, it’s sort of complicated. Let me think of how to explain.” And ten minutes later they’re riffing on astronomy and atomic weights and “what if’s” like two stoned college students in love with the universe.
::Eating peach pie straight from the pan while reading elk magazines after the kids are in bed = tops.
::For some reason I feel like Mother of The Year when I make homemade playdoh for the kids – maybe because it only happens about once a year.
::Rose is in love with her horses, even though one is actually a zebra, and one a deer.
She says, “the deer’s Mama and Daddy died and the horses said ‘do you want to come live with us?’ And the deer said ‘you’re the beautifulest, I’ll go with you.'” And they all lived happily ever after.
::Our chickens totally got the 10 hours of daylight memo and are laying like crazy. It always requires an algebraic equation to figure out who produced an egg each day. It’s like 10th grade algebra meets 4-H: If there’s 2 Aracanas, 3 Barred Rocks, 1 Buff Orpington and 1 Wyandotte, and they produced 1 green egg, 3 medium browns and one large dark brown, which chicken produced which egg?
::Behold, the sprout growing in our sink, which I have no commentary on, other than to mention that Col pleaded with me, “don’t pull it, pleeeaaaase.”
::Even after fifteen years, I still can’t believe I live here.
ps: The lying post. Your comments. Oh dear. I understand. Even when a small lie to your children seems like the easiest short term solution, it really isn’t. I am reckoning with that, alongside tonsillectomies. Thank you.
pps: This book rocked my world.