Archive for the 'Doctor visit' Category

Counterclockwise perpendicular

February 22, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: …aw, screw it.

When I take my babies to the doctor, I always end up feeling like a crappy parent when I fill out those baby-development questionaires. I don’t pay enough attention at home to answer “yes” or “no” to, “When your baby sees his reflection in the mirror, does he reach counterclockwise perpendicular toward the mirror baby’s right shoulder?”

Um, I think I’ve seen Silas look in the mirror before, and I think he reaches to touch his reflection. Should I just answer “yes,” or is “yes” the bad answer? Is clockwise parallel toward the mirror baby’s left shoulder actually the way a non-waterhead baby reaches to touch his reflection?

I’d tell the medical community exactly what they wanted to hear if I knew exactly what they wanted to hear.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas and his ornate Native American rattle shipped from Colorado by Grandpa Hicks.

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Dirty looks from Indians

February 8, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew is apparently spending this entire week in Editor’s Note purgatory. It’s Thursday afternoon, and he’s just now writing Tuesday’s blog. Worse, he’s listening to Mr. Mister’s Welcome to the Real World album on cassette in the background. And he’s trying to come up with some obvious joke about how these days, for the Mr. Mister guys, it’s less “Welcome to the Real World” and more “Welcome to Wal-Mart.”

Andrew’s trying to think back to Tuesday right now, and all he remembers is going with his wife on her lunch break to take Silas to the doctor. Silas was about a month late to his six-month checkup — which, in the scheme of things, is probably a greater transgression than being two days late with a 500-word blog post. What prompted Baby Silas’s parents to get him to the doctor was noticing a couple circular dry patches of skin of Silas’s leg. Which they speculated might be some kind of infant ringworm infestation, and which their educated doctor quickly informed them was in fact just dry skin. Baby needs more lotion and salve**.

Tiffany took Silas back to see the doctor, while Andrew stayed in the enormous waiting area with Sarah. Who was having fun jumping on the painted hopscotch boards on the carpet but perhaps suffered from the fact that all the waiting room toys had been removed due to flu-spread concerns. She quickly found the only toys in the place, some elaborate wooden blocks that belonged to a little kid named Corbin with an ugly but nice mom who let Sarah play with them then hurried them back into her bag when Sarah got distracted and wandered further down the waiting area.

Andrew received one of his first “I’m disgusted at what a bad parent you are” looks from an Indian*** family who were waiting with their infant. Andrew guesses it was because he was unable to talon-claw his child’s shoulder before she went exploring in the restricted area behind the flu shot reception desk. He coaxed his kid back out and picked her up, but that wasn’t enough for the judgmental Indian family, who also didn’t look too happy that the reception desk lady rewarded Sarah for her transgression with a fragrant peach sucker.

Silas is about to cross the 20-pound weight mark, which to Andrew is exciting, but not as exciting as when Silas crossed the 16-pound mark and went from Not As Heavy As A Bowling Ball to In Fact Heavier Than A Bowling Ball. Ask one of the Mr. Mister guys where you can find a bowling ball, and he’ll tell you, “Kyrie Eleison… I mean, Aisle 12.”

* “You can find that gallon of paint in the hardware department and a $5 CD copy of my greatest hits in the electronics department. I had two hits. Both equally great.”

** Which, the Mr. Mister guys would tell you, you’d think lotion and salve for babies would be located in the baby section of Wal-Mart but actually are located with the adult personal beauty items. The Mr. Mister guys know their Wal-Mart layout. They’re proud of their greeter jobs.

*** 7-Eleven Indian, not Native American.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

I get the boot

October 8, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I went to the orthopedic doctor yesterday morning. The good news is, I don’t have to wear a leg cast anymore. I will no longer be the target of lusty leers from gorgeous women and creepy old men suffering from abasiophilia – a disease that, with your financial help, could be cured in our lifetime.

It was an epic moment. I was sitting on the exam table when the nurse wheeled in what looked like a ShopVac with a pizza cutter-sized buzzsaw blade at the end of its hose attachment. I flashed back to being nine and having my leg cast cut off with one of those pizza-cutter blades and getting my skin all chewed up. The cast removal this time made me feel more ticklish than in pain, almost jump-out-of-skin ticklish on the bottom of my foot.

Then the nurse wheeled the equipment out of the room and left me alone with my formerly encased leg. At the time, I thought I was about to be X-rayed and recasted. That’s what they’d told me during the last visit – that, as my fracture and incisions healed, the swelling would go down and they’d fit me for a smaller, sleeker cast. Aerodynamic, even, to counter all the wind velocity generated by my half-mile-per-hour top crutch speed.

Pizza-cutter buzz saw

The way I saw it, I had about a minute and a half to scratch every square inch of the skin that had been itching for the past 27 days. I was dainty about it at first. Rubbed my calf, just kind of brushed the top of my foot with my fingernails. And it felt so good. It felt amazing. This must be the kind of pleasure an abasiophiliac experiences when he or she fondles the cast of a consenting partner.

I have nice long fingernails right now, too. My exiled recovery has left me kind of like eccentric, late-period Howard Hughes minus the money. I’ve peed in the jug and let my beard and fingernails grow wild and free. I was grateful for the talons I’d cultivated as I dug in with some full-on leg and foot scratching. Anyone seen the “Seinfeld” where Kramer ends up dating the coffee shop waitress because she has elongated nails and he has a previously unscratchable itch? Same thing. My fingernails and my newly exposed cast leg were a match made in heaven. Howard Hughes meets “Seinfeld” meets Andrew the Uniplegic.

Das boot

Turned out there was no need to blow my leg-scratch wad. Now I can access my lower left extremities whenever I want. The cast has been replaced by a large, streamlined plastic boot with lots of Velcro straps and a Nike Air-style inflate/deflate pump. It’s bulkier than the cast, not as supportive, less comfortable and a lot hotter, but guess what? I can take a shower again. But I don’t want to come back to the personal hygiene fold with just an ordinary shower. Preparations are underway for the bathing event of the century. I will alert the media, you can rest assured. Any day now.

I didn’t have to pay for the boot, either. My father-in-law had one stored away from his own brief foray into one-legged euphoria last year. He’s got all kinds of stuff hidden around the house that can be produced on a moment’s notice. Yesterday, he remembered he had a two-way intercom system in his basement. Which is a much classier way for us to communicate than me just shouting, “Bring me a sandwich!” up the stairs. We tried setting up the intercom units for about half an hour and were unsuccessful. By the end of it, I had really worked up the appetite for a sandwich. And I let him know, by way of shouting.

Oh yeah, the bad news – I can’t go back to work for six more weeks. Definitely longer than I was counting on. If not for the providence of our families, this Thanksgiving would be sugar water and mayonnaise sandwiches for sure. I need to find someone who will pay me to write, or maybe I can crutch my way into an interview for a desk job and get myself hired by invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. (There is a clause in there covering dumbasses who fall down stairs in the middle of the night, isn’t there?)

Meantime, I have no money coming in. Time to sell the old plasma. Not a plasma TV, my actual plasma. Any readers care to make an offer on a three-ounce vial of Andrew plasma? Act now, and I’ll toss in some platelets. I promise not to gouge you; I’ll be busy gouging myself for plasma and platelet cash.

Possibly my most hilarious Facebook friend, a lady named Jennifer Misiurewicz, wants me to mention her in this blog post. And I don’t mind, because I really didn’t feel like writing until I got my joke-word skills warmed up trading status comments with J.Miz. That banter led straight to this entry, so I’d like to reprint the comments, a reaction to my announcement that I’d be selling my plasma…

ANDREW HICKS: Found out I still can’t go back to work for 6 weeks. Time to sell the old plasma. Not my plasma TV, my actual plasma.

S____ F__ and R______ R_______ like this.

J.MIZ: or sperm. its liquid gold mr luck charms

ANDREW: R______ you would like the fact that I’m going to be homeless by this time next month.

R______: i don’t like it i like that you thought of the idea to sell your plasma

J.MIZ: he is inventive that one…..but most degenerates are

ANDREW: R______, let’s eliminate the middle-man. Do you want to make an offer on 6 ounces of my warm plasma? I’ll throw in some platelets.

J.MIZ: ill take gamma globulin for 400 alex

J.MIZ: mmmmmmm warm plasma…..can i get in on this bidding war??? im planning on a hep b winter

ANDREW: I was gonna be Gamma Globulin for Halloween, but now I just have to be disabled.

J.MIZ: NO!!!! the beauty is that gamma globulin cannot stand alone….its a “helper monkey” if u will

ANDREW: Ah, if only Weird Al would parody “White Christmas” and make the opening line, “I’m planning on a Hep B winter.” I would love that.

J.MIZ: why did my brain just start chanting: TWO LEGS ENTER ONE LEG LEAVES??????

J.MIZ: immmmmmmmmm planning on a hep b winter….just like the shots i used to know. where youre shot with virus and miley cyrus

J.MIZ: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…….AMY WINEHOUSE

R______ hahaha….

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah's intense juice face at the state fairgrounds

Crass leg cast stories

September 22, 2010

Tiffany, my wife, thinks my blog might have become too crass. She points to two consecutive posts that use the word “dump.” I counter that, of late, I’m writing about desperate times and desperate measures. I’m confined to my bed 90+% of my waking hours. A dump* is a break from this routine and, thusly, a positive answer to my ongoing question to myself, “What was interesting enough about my day to write about?”

When I’m all healed, I will go back to writing about taking poetically beautiful walks in the warm orange sunshine while staring longingly into the panoramic blue sky and Illinois corn fields. Till then, I’ll write about the accidental dribbles that escape the not-quite-wide-enough mouth of the pee jug**.

All that was a build up to the following story, which will surpass Merely Crass and fall into the domain of Supremely Gross. Skip three paragraphs down if you have a low threshold for the disgusting or are currently eating a large, extra-saucy bowl of spaghetti bolognese.

Here goes: My mom told me she used to work reception for an orthopaedist in the plaster cast days. A patient came in, complaining of discomfort and a mysterious, overwhelming odor. The nurses took him into an exam room and cut a window in his cast to check things out. The smell got exponentially worse as the nurses discovered a treasure trove of maggots. Crawling in and around his open wound. Feasting on the mangled flesh.

The moral? It could always be worse. Don’t bitch about having to spend a month in bed, having food brought to you while you watch ’80s SNL clips on YouTube.

…and we’re back.

Yesterday, I visited the ortho doc who performed my surgery. My splint was removed, and it was my first chance to see the swollen, bruised mess of stitched-up incisions on both sides of my left ankle. I should have taken a picture to share, but, you know, I don’t like to get gross in my blog. The doctor proclaimed everything was looking “pretty damn good,” which is complex medical lingo I don’t completely understand but sounds promising.

I spent most of the visit bonding with the nurse, who removed my stitches, taped me up and put on an actual leg cast. It’s amazing how much easier it is to converse with strangers when you have a wife and kids as catalyst for ice-breaking. These types of talks used to go, THEM: You married?  ME: No, I sleep until four everyday.  THEM: Got any kids?  ME: No, kids suck. I go out drinking all night, every night.  THEM: <evil eye>

This fiberglass cast is the exact same type of cast I had when I was nine and fractured a metatarsel in my right foot. Kids, when your mom and dad tell you not to ride your bike without your shoes on — listen! It wasn’t so bad, though. My healing metatarsel and I stayed inside and played computer games during gym class while the rest of the kids were outside running cross-country.

That might have been the exact moment when I reached the “Fit or Fat?” fork in the road and permanently went down the wrong path. Looking back, I think the fork in question was stabbed into a giant breaded pork chop smothered in brown gravy.

Having a cast on again reminds me of a bad dream I had 23 years ago, while I was on the mend. In the dream, school was in session. We had just started taking a very important standardized test on one of those “fill in the bubbles” sheets scored electronically. My leg was itching like crazy, consuming all my attention. I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my sharpened #2 pencil and jammed the eraser end down into the cast, scratching up, down and all around like crazy. It felt amazing.

Then I reached down a little too far and lost my pencil in the depths of the cast. I freaked out. It was the only pencil I had. How was I going to get the pencil out? How could I finish the test? I couldn’t get anyone’s attention. The other kids were consumed with their tests, and my teacher was at her desk, reading a book while her Sony Walkman headphones blared. Strains of Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” wafted through the classroom as I waved my arms wildly and screamed at the top of my lungs.

Wow, what a relief as I woke up, realized it was only a dream and ran off to the living room to enjoy a large bowl of Fruity Pebbles and an episode of “Heathcliff” I’d already seen a dozen times.

I made most of that up, incidentally, but I do remember scratching my leg with an upside-down pencil and being worried that it would fall into the cast. So that flight of fancy was at least loosely inspired by a true story.

Oh, my wife also said this blog is not staying true to its premise — namely, that it’s here to chronicle days spent taking care of my kids. With this entry, she’s absolutely right. I don’t even mention Sarah and Silas until the very last sentence.

 —

* = Three consecutive posts

** = Five consecutive posts, I believe

Procrastination and vaccinations

September 11, 2010

We rent our house. Four bedrooms, two baths, a nice backyard. I’ve talked to my current landlord exactly twice. Once was when the air conditioning went out during a heat wave in mid-June while my wife was eight months pregnant. The other time was on Wednesday, when I broke the sink.

I was doing dishes, a frequent assignment for a daytime dad, and applied what I thought was a miniscule amount of upward pressure on the faucet arm. The thing was rusted out on the bottom, I soon discovered, which created an instant hole that left water gushing out at an impressive 270-degree angle. We ended up doing the rest of our dishes in the bathtub that night, a hardship more bizarre than actually hard. We wistfully compared it to the trials of the original American settlers. Imagine doing the bathtub dishes after the first Thanksgiving. Pause for laughter.

It has to be something dramatic like that for me to call the landlord, even though he’s very courteous and prompt about resolving issues. But both times I made the call over some emergency drama, I tacked on a couple requests that had been brewing indefinitely. Case in point – the entire time we’ve lived in our house, 20 months now, the light fixture in the third bedroom has been broken. It’s always been a case of, “Oh yeah, we need to call the landlord about that.” Instead, we bought a floor lamp and put it on the backburner.

Well, about 610 days later, thanks to me finally bringing it up, we have a brand new ceiling fan/light fixture in what is now Baby Silas’s bedroom. The lesson is, we could have had the fixture replaced 609 days ago if I would have made the one-minute phone call I made on Wednesday. This is a running theme in my life. Stuff gets broken or goes undone, gets viewed as a hassle, gets rationalized out of being acted upon, gets worst-case-scenarioized in my head, and then ends up being resolved way too late in a positively simple manner.

One guy came over to fix both. He showed up announced at 10:40 or so, while Sarah, Silas and I were accomplishing not much of anything in the living room. Sarah had met this handyman once before, when he came over to fix the garbage disposal. At the time, she wanted to give him hugs. This time, she wanted to investigate all the goings-on under the sink. I moved myself and both babies to the master bedroom so Schneider could work in peace.

Kind of the same thing today. I took both babies to the doctor for Silas’s two-month physical and trio of immunizations*. I was running late and couldn’t find the release thingie on the double stroller. Yes, again, I couldn’t work the stroller. My friend Kate Hayes is right. I should practice on that thing in my spare time for when it actually counts.

So I carried Silas in his car seat, and Sarah held my hand and walked from the parking lot through the building, into the elevator and into the office with us. She did great with all that. Sometimes she gets that hyper-independent streak and won’t hold my hand, actually collapses her body so we can’t go anywhere but down to the ground.

Today Sarah was all good walking, but she was also all activity in the examining room. I didn’t bring any toys or books for her, and her only props were two kiddie chairs and a kiddie table. She MacGuyvered the crap out of what she had to work with. She was picking the chairs up and carrying them all around the room, setting up a barricade at the main door. She pushed that table all around the room too. The noise was deafening.

Meanwhile, the nurse was asking questions I didn’t know the answers to, like which hospital we do our lab work at, Memorial or St. John’s? It was a 50/50, and I’m still not confident I answered correctly. In many ways, it’s my first week on the job, and I don’t get daily intelligence briefings. Sometimes as a dad I feel like I can go an entire day without being intelligent at all.

Also, apparently I feed Silas too much. I feed myself too much, so it only stands to reason. My rationale is, if he’s sucking ravenously at the bottle, and when the bottle’s all gone, he’s crying like he wants some more, I’m going to give him some more. I’m hoping this is not the same logic that led the parents of that YouTube Asian smoking baby to up his nicotine intake from a half-pack to a videotaped carton a day. I don’t want to be one of those dads.

* = I feel somewhat lazy as a father. My mom and a concerned conspiracy-theorist friend both wanted to warn me of the dangers of giving vaccines to your infants, and I barely browsed the reading material. I wanted to rock the boat and question authority and screw the man a whole lot more ten years ago. Sadly, now it’s more like, “What’s the normal thing to do? Where do I sign?” I’m old, complacent and conformist. Not bragging, just saying.