Let me tell you a story from today. It all started last night.
At about 1am, I woke up to cries of, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I dragged myself out of bed, to find my darling 3 year old in the bathroom. "I'm done and I pooped." It occurred to me, in my foggy sleep-stupor state, that maybe we should start teaching this kid to wipe her own bum.
Hands were washed, and everyone went back to bed. But a few minutes later, I hear the pitter-patter of Ella's feet come out of her room and to my room. The door opens. And Ella announces (not in a whisper): "I need to go to the doctor today."
This gets my attention, as you may imagine.
I begin my line of questioning. "What's the matter?"
"I need to go to the doctor."
"Why do you need to go to the doctor?"
"I can't tell you."
"What can't you tell me?"
"I did something I wasn't supposed to do."
"And what was that?"
"I swallowed a coin. My special gold coin." ....aaaand cue tears.
Let me go back in time a bit for you. About a month ago, we were driving around, running errands, when Ella declares she is SO BORED. So I glance in the backseat, find a green button, and tell her to play with it. In hindsight, I realize that giving a child a button to play with may not be the best idea. But desperate times, you know. So she has a button. 2 minutes later: "The button! It's gone!"
"Where did it go?"
"Down my froat!"
"Down your coat?"
"No, my froat!"
Throat. She had swallowed the button. After the initial panic wore off, I did what I usually do in these situations. I called my mom. I took her advice and called the doctor's office. Of course, it was a Saturday. These things only happen after hours. So I left a message, waited for a call back, explained the situation, and was told that she would probably be ok, but to watch for any signs of abdominal discomfort, vomiting, etc. I explained to Ella that she needed to tell me if she had any pain in her tummy. She didn't, and 2 days later that green button came out the other end. (True love is searching someone else's stool for a green button.) We had a big talk about how we don't put anything in our mouth except for food, and that was that.
Until last night. This explained her late night bathroom run. She had remembered what happened last time, and was doing her best to poop that coin out. After some tears, I asked if her tummy hurt. "Yes, it hurts right here, I have to go to the doctor!" I asked if she was sure she swallowed the coin, or if maybe she dreamed it. "No, it was in real life! I swallowed my special gold coin!" (None of this is in a quiet voice, mind you.) The special gold coin is some euro coin we found a few weeks ago. Which makes things worse because I have no idea how big that is, or even what amount it was which would give us a clue as to the size of the mystery coin. And so, again, I called the doctor's office and left a message with the answering service. Not a moment after I hung up the phone, Ella says, "Well, I need to get some more sleep." And heads toward her bed.
Now wait a minute. 2 seconds ago she was in pain and needed to go to the doctor. Now she's fine and wants to go to bed? I asked her if she was still in pain, and got some confusing response about how it used to hurt this much (arms spread wide), but now it only hurts this much (arms brought closer together). At this point I am seriously questioning if she dreamed this whole thing up. I began to probe further, but Clark cut me off saying, "I think I can talk her into pink monkeys in a minute here, let's just get her in bed." Off to bed she goes. I, however, get to stay up to wait for the return call, which I was told to expect within 15-20 minutes. "If you haven't heard from her by then," the message-taker directed, "Call back."
35 minutes later I called back, and told them to forget it, this whole thing might have been a dream, and I am going to bed and putting my phone on silent. I'd call our regular doctor in the morning.
I did, indeed, call the doctor this morning. He was concerned that the coin (if indeed there was a coin) could become lodged in the esophagus, and it is possible to have no symptoms when this happens, so he ordered an x-ray. Ella quite enjoyed the x-ray. I did my best to impress upon her that this was NOT fun, and she should NOT try to get another one any time soon.
I just got a call back with the results of the x-ray. They couldn't find anything that would indicate a foreign body, and a coin would show up pretty clearly if it was there. I still get to watch her closely, and take her in if she has any symptoms, but it's highly likely that she dreamed she swallowed a coin.
This is the part where we all breath a big sigh of frustration, mixed with a bit of relief, and go lock up all the coins and buttons.
10 hours ago