There are two paths this story could take. One being a story about trusting my instincts against a doctor’s first guess or the second path being a story about taking my high anxiety, sick, middle child to the doctor. The second is funnier.
Merrick called me Tuesday from basketball practice crying. That is NOT normal. His throat was hurting him and he wanted me to come get him. When we got home I took his temperature, 102. I gave him Ibuprofen, a hot bath with salts, some oils and it was an early bed for him. Since he didn’t argue I knew he was REALLY not feeling well. He stayed home for the rest of the week.
On Friday, when I came home he still had a fever and a sore throat. I tried to look down his throat but his dang tongue was in the way. I didn’t have a tongue depressor so I grabbed the next best thing, a butter knife. I used the butt end of it, geez, I’m not a monster. It ended up slipping a little down his throat and making him gag. My bad. I was able to get a quick peak and his throat was VERY red so I decided to take him in to the clinic. The problem was that walk-in hours ended at 4 PM and it was 4:15 PM on Friday of course. I called the clinic and spoke to the nurse who spoke to the doctor who decided it was probably the flu and there was nothing that could be done. I hung up the phone and googled flu and strep. I’m pretty professional when it comes to WebMD. Confidently, I called the clinic back. That’s a lie. I was nervous to call back and say that I thought the doctor was wrong and beg for a strep test. I mustered through it and I was heading into town by 4:30 PM. Merrick was tired, sick and not interested in going to the doctor.
When we got into the car he started drilling me about what was going to happen when we arrived. I told him I’ve never had a flu test so I’m not sure. He convinced himself he was going to get his blood drawn and started to cry, so I tossed him my phone and let him google “how to test for the flu”. He was getting frustrated because nothing showed up. I told him to say “how do doctors test for influenza?” He’s yelling at my phone because it’s not working (user error) so he switches to images and sees this…
He started freaking out! Yelling how the doctor is going to scrape his brain. I busted out laughing. He was SO irrational. It was like trying to talk sense into an emotional drunk. My laughing totally set Merrick off. Now he’s crying because I’m laughing. “Do you think this is funny mom? You’re the only one laughing!” I told him he needs to stop crying because if he goes into the clinic with a runny nose they might think it is the flu. That set him off further down a road of emotions that made me laugh harder. His anxiety over the flu and strep test was as high as the clouds.
When we arrive at the clinic we were taken directly back to a room. He was weighed and measured and asked a couple questions. His first question to her is how the flu test works. She explains how she’ll put a q-tip like thing up his nose and wiggle it around. No, she will not touch his brain. Then, she leaves the room to grab the two tests and Merrick says, “Mom, when she comes back ask her if I can just pick a booger for her and hand it to her.”
“NO! I will not ever ask that question. Are you kidding me? Do it yourself.”
The nurse walks back into the room and he totally asked the question!!! “Um, can I just pick a booger for you and you can test that?” Her face….she was in utter disbelief. Her answer was no, that method would probably not work. Eh, kudos for trying kid. She approached Merrick with the flu booger stick and he starts in with, “Wa wa wa wa wa wa wait a sec. How far up my nose is this going to go?” “Not far, just about here,” she points to an area on the bridge of her nose. “Ok,” he says. She comes at him again, “”Wa wa wa wa wa wa wait a sec.” THREE TIMES! THREE TIMES he does this! Finally she goes in for the booger. When she’s done (like 5 seconds total) he says, “That wasn’t bad. It’s the same feeling like when I put feathers up my nose.”
The nurse and I both must have looked like we were stunned stupid. “Do you often stick feathers up your nose?” she asked. Oh eff. We’ll be here forever if we have to wait for OCS.
The strep test went way easier as in, he didn’t ask if he could pick goop out of his throat for her. He did however stop her twice before she was able to scrape his throat with the q-tip. We had to wait 15 minutes for the tests to reveal the results. Six of those minutes were taken up with the nurse describing how the tests work and Merrick asking more questions. He reminded me of the person at the end of a meeting who keeps asking questions when everyone just wants to go home. Good lord, just let her go. She did eventually escape the room and came back asking what thought we saw.
We both thought the tests were negative, but the nurse said the strep test was positive. The doctor came in and praised mother’s instincts and set us off for the pharmacy that was closing in 10 minutes. Popsicles, Jello and antibiotic in hand we ventured home to what turned out to be a low stress, very relaxed weekend. I am happily reporting that the “I’m sick” card is no longer in use as Merrick returned to school on Monday fever free and in less pain. Scott will be taking Merrick to the doctor next time and I hope it’s for a blood draw!