Call A Nurse, Call 911, Then Call It Off
After a loud pediatrician’s appointment, which was unwittingly scheduled during Toby’s naptime, I pulled out his shoes from the diaper bag. He doesn’t need shoes when being carried in a sling, at my hip.
After shoes were on, he was thrilled to be walking around, and that woke him up. You see, he had wanted to sleep during the entire appointment, which caused lots of shouting. We walked out the door and across the street and around a few buildings and into another lobby. I had written his next appointment on the back of his most recent growth chart; it was included with the blood work order that I handed to the phlebotomist behind the desk.
After I folded up the growth chart, which had his weight information, I sat down in the lobby to feed Toby lunch–cheese, crackers, pieces of little smokies. A few bites into the meal, the phlebotomist wanted to know how much he weighed.
After I told her, bewilderingly, that I didn’t know and that I didn’t memorize that kind of thing, even if he was just weighed within the hour, Toby demanded more food. The phlebotomist guessed on his weight while he ate. Then, it was time to have four vials of blood drawn from two tiny veins, which was also very loud.
Afterward, I asked if there would be any side effects I needed to watch for. I was reassured, twice, that there would be none. Absolutely no symptoms from having blood taken out of an underweight year-and-a few-months-old baby. I was wary.
After a long wait at a bus stop and several strolls down different sidewalks, I finally decided we needed to book it across a street and to our next bus stop. So I picked Toby up and stuffed him in the sling again. Then, he very suddenly fell asleep against me.
After we climbed onto the bus home, I felt really stupid because I had realized something: after standing at the check-in window at the blood clinic–because Toby is underweight and needed to be checked for anemia and other diseases–I had tucked the weight chart in my diaper bag when I could have given it to the phlebotomist. I was also hungry; I noticed that he wasn’t stirring at all from all the noise and movement and sunlight on the bus; and I was worried about the weight guess and its ratio to vials of blood. His pacifier had dropped into the sling; that made me even more worried.
After I checked to see if he was still breathing and his blood was still pumping, I told myself that it was rude to make a phone call on the bus. But, as usual, the bus got to the end of the route and the driver told us that it would be a few minutes before we started again. So I pulled out my phone and called a nurse at the pediatrician’s office I had just visited. She picked up right away, and I explained to her my worries. She asked me one question:
“Can you wake him up and have him look at you?”
After shaking, poking, repeating his name louder and louder for several minutes, I determined that I could not. The nurse on the phone told me, “Call 911.” When a nurse tells you to do this, you do not hesitate.
After hanging up, the bus driver asked me if I wanted her to call 911. I affirmed, then stood and tried again to wake him up. I was shouting and bouncing and the bus driver had pulled over to the side of the road–that combination did it. His eyes opened and he looked around, as if to say, “Huh? What’s going on?” I looked straight into his eyes, and even if he didn’t look directly at me, he blinked heavily, as one does when they’re between sleep and awake.
I sighed heavily, then told the bus driver that it was a false alarm. I thanked her profusely, then I walked home with a very asleep boy, tuckered out from screaming and walking and a loss of blood. He barely stirred when I set him in his crib. Finally, I went to fix myself some lunch. Phew.