The Funny Boy

Nurse 1: “How old are you?”

Will: “I’m 5. I’m not old enough to drive. My PapPap says I have to be 16 and then I can drive his truck.”

Nurse 2: (smiling) “Oh, okay. Mom, is Will allergic to anything you know of?”

Me: “Nope, nothing.”

Will: “Except poop.”

Nurses 1 & 2: “What?”

Will: “I’m allergic to poop.”

Pause. Nurses look confused.

Me: “Do you mean your sister’s diapers?”

Will: “Yeah, I’m allergic to Kate’s stinky poops.”

Nurse 1: “You’re allergic to your sisters diapers?”

Will: “Yeah. Sometimes they stink even badder than my Daddy’s toots.”

Nurse 2: “Well, I’ll write it down then. It sounds serious.”

This is why the top of every informational piece of paper in my son’s medical chart, RIGHT at the top under “known allergies,” it reads POOP. (Someone in the surgical ward added “per patient,” just to clarify.)

When we reached him in the recovery area, he was shoveling in heaps of crushed up grape Popsicle. Every member of the medical team addressed Paul and I as we entered, “That’s your son? He is HILARIOUS.” Will glanced up from the cup of Popsicle with glassy, dreamy eyes, just long enough to ask when he was going to get his tubes in. I noticed the bloody tissue coming out of his left ear. The one the doctor said held a thick, dull, gray membrane — very different from the perfect shiny membrane in his right. As I came close to ask how he was, explain that it was all done, he reached around the back of his head with his unfettered hand, the one not strapped to a board connected to an IV, to poke in that ear.

“Mommy, my ear hurts.”

He looked up at me with a woozy face, cheeks sort of blotchy and eyes not awake. Out of nowhere, cauliflower sprouts burst in my own ears, filling my brain with white fuzz. It came fast. I had no choice. I sat right down, on the spot, quickly getting my head between my knees. That’s right, I nearly lost it right there. And again, several times, in the short stay unit. It’s 4 hours later and I’m still woozy just writing about it. In this situation, I do not have the constitution to handle my children’s medical needs. Quality parent, me.

Just in case I missed how pathetic I was, our nurse found me a Raggedy Ann sticker to go with Will’s SUPERHERO badge. “It’s ’cause your Mom was so raggedy,” the nurse tells Will.

“Yeah. I have to take a lot of good care of her,” answers Will.