I called the pediatrician today following forty-eight hours of Jack smashing glass, ceramic, and porcelain things on the hardwood. Smashing typically means just one thing: Jack’s ears hurt.
He never gets a fever. His nose doesn’t run. He does not tug on his ears. But he tells us he is in pain the only way he knows how–he throws things across the room. Or from the stairs onto the floor below. Recently he favors casually knocking framed pictures from their wall hooks and watching them shatter and break apart.
You would think that after the bazillion ear infections that Jack has suffered since infancy, we would have long ago figured out a way to see when one is barreling down on us. Sadly, we have not.
I want someone to invent a magic scanning wand for the mother of a nonverbal mentally disabled child. All I want is a simple electronic device which I can pass in front of Jack in a scanning maneuver. “Is Jack sick?” I would ask the wand. “Yes. His ears hurt,” would be the mechanical, omniscient reply.
Is this too much to ask? Apparently, it is.
However, while I do not have a magic scanning wand, I do have Bonnie the receptionist at the pediatrician’s office, who always finds us an accommodating appointment time on the same day we call. I also have Jennifer the nurse, who knows that Jack is scared of the measuring tape which hangs from the ceiling, as well as the blood pressure cuff, and doesn’t insist on getting a current height or bp every time we visit.
I have Charlie, who will drop whatever he is doing and happily come along to “stickers doctor” on any day of the week with brother. And we have our pediatrician, who bumps knuckles with Jack, stays current on the poop progress, understands our daily challenges, and asks me how I would like to proceed with treatment.
We also have an ENT who time and again compassionately peeks in those poor little ears and carefully places tubes therein. And we have a great children’s hospital in our midst.
It’s not a magic scanning health wand, but all together they get the job done. Jack’s ears and I are thankful.