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a day in the life: 1,000 words about 4 long hours

Sometimes it's the simple moments that can turn your world on it's side and back again.

I took DJ to the doctor today. What started out as a simple rush to the pediatrician to get some antibiotics for another low-grade winter ailment turned into a trip to the radiologist.

X-Rays, a whole set of them. Me standing outside the room for my own protection and the whirr, click and flash of the x-ray machine coming through the door as I imagined all sorts of nasty things inside my son's body smiling for the doctor's camera. All the diseases that can run through your mind in the space of one long minute lined up for some contagious class picture, crowding DJ's intenstines and pancreas and heart, mugging for their first photo-op in ten years.

I flashed back to when DJ was 18 months old. A hospital corridor, lit with the ugly glow of flourescent bulbs at 3am, a nurse admonishing me and sending me down the hall to the vending machine because it would do me no good to watch DJ explode in angry pain while getting a spinal tap.

Back in the present, I tap my foot impatiently and finally picture day is over. We are scooted down the hall into the sonogram room, where DJ is told to lay down on the table and pull his shirt up. He looks so small there. So much like a baby.

It's odd that I've dreamed about him all week as a baby. Every night in my dreams, DJ is an infant or a toddler. He is in a bassinett or a stroller and one of those nights there were cobwebs in his cradle, as if I hadn't looked there in years.

And now the radiologist is rubbing her magic sonogram wand with jelly and running it on over my baby's belly, in much the same way my belly was rubbed when I heard DJ's heartbeat for the first time. He's crying. Of course he's crying, he's terrified. The radiologist does her best to soothe him but this poor kid - he woke up this morning with a fever and a cough and he just wanted to lay in bed all day and read comic books and not miss school in the least. Now, there is no place he would rather be if it means he didn't have to be in this dimly lit room, staring at his bladder on a monitor.

I watch the screen in horror. I see lumps that look like villians and holes that shouldn't be there and big, ugly masses with monster-like faces grinning at me. There's his pancreas - is a pancreas supposed to look like that? And his kidney -it looks more like blob of play-doh. Of course, everthing I see looks scary and ugly because I have no idea what these things look like when they are normal. A kidney looks like a rich person's swimming pool, right?

And then an hour has passed by and we are done. We sit in the waiting room. And sit. And sit.

DJ's fever is spiking. I forgot in this blur of radioactivity that he had a cold when he woke up this morning and that's what led us to be here. He falls asleep with his feet curled up on the chair and his head in my lap. He looks so small. He feels so hot.

I don't read the magazines while I wait. I turn down the offer of the New York Times from the lady with the blue silk scarf. I don't even look at the closed caption words under Ari Fleischer's head on CNN. I just sit. My foot taps. My heart races. I wait.

Have you ever lost your child in the supermarket or on the playground? Five, ten, fifteen seconds. It all seems like forever as every single made-for-tv movie flashes through your mind and kidnapping, murder, and falling down a well scenarios play out in your head. Your heart stops but your mind doesn't. Your entire body goes numb as you are sure your child is gone, gone, gone forever and you wish you didn't spend the entire morning fighting over the green pants he insisted on wearing with the orange shirt.

Those seconds are endless. When your child comes running into your arms - he was just over there on that slide - you could swear he was gone for hours. It only takes seconds for fear to screw with you.

I sit in that waiting room and time ticks away. Seconds. Minutes. Over an hour. In parent-waiting-to-hear-news standard time, that's days. I had run through every disease DJ could possibly have and started in on more absurd things. He swallowed poison. He's the victim of biological terror. He's allergic to fruit roll-ups.

90 minutes. Finally, the receptionist comes out, only to tell me to go home and call Dr. Andy. He has the results.

I race home, doing Mad-Libs with DJ the whole way so as not to think about Dr. Andy pacing back and forth in his office, tapping his pencil on his clipboard and thinking about the easiest way to tell me the news.

And then the whole thing is over. For now. Dr. Andy tells me the equivalent of "your child was on that slide the whole time you were looking for him." It's not a disease, it's not a death sentence, it's not weeks in and out of hospitals and pleading on television for celebrities to come together and hold a benefit concert to find a cure to fruit-roll up allergy.

It's manageable. Dr. Andy prescribes patience, time and a litany of medical and ritualistic endeavors I must undertake in tandem with DJ to make this thing go away. Dr. Andy says, you have no idea how I relieved I am that it's something so small and manageable. Oh, but I do.

I breath a sigh of relief - a huge sigh that seems to push out with its breath all the fear and irrational thinking that consumed me today. I am left with an exhaustion that wraps itself around me like tentacles.

I just have a ten year old boy with a cold and some stomach problems. After the time I spent in that dark space between not knowing and knowing today, that sounds like winning lotto.


All our best to DJ and you.

You all are in my thoughts. Take care.

(sigh of relief) Hang in there...give DJ hugs from all of us here in Blogland.

I hope that whatever it is, can be taken care ofand that you and your family will be alright. You will be in my thoughst. Give my best to the kiddo.

i'm really glad that DJ is going to be okay....i'm keeping you all in my thoughts...hope that you all get a peaceful night's sleep tonight and wake up feeling much better tomorrow...

So glad to hear DJ will be ok! He sounds like a tough little guy, so I'm sure he'll make it. Good luck to you both! :)

The lengths some kids will go to skip school... :D

Tell him the nice lady sends him hugs.

Glad he's okay. :)

Now, see, that's yet another reason I could never handle having kids. Eep.

Glad he's okay. And I agree, sonograms are scary.

Thank goodness it's managable.
You're all in my thoughts.

Glad to hear everything's under control.

Hang in there, you did great mom!

Hug DJ yet again. You worry about 'em when they are little, you worry about them when they're big. You think it'll get better when they grow up and are out on their own, but you still can find yourself camped out at the hospital making deals with God minute by minute.

The only thing that outweighs the dark times is the shining light of the times of joy they bring.

I'm glad DJ is okay. Best wishes to you both!

I have been to that place you describe so well and the seconds really do seem like hours. I am glad he is ok.
Best of luck

You had me feeling extremely anxious as I read this post--I was think "no, no, no, not D.J.!"

Sigh of relief.

This is one of the scariest stories youíve ever told here. There's nothing worse than sitting in a hospital, waiting and worrying while they do Ďa few testsí on your kid.

Glad this story had such a happy ending. Best of luck.