The Change Eater

Due to lack of time and an overloaded plate, I thought that I would share a past account of my day August 2, 1999.  The names have been changed from my original story, as has certain verbiage in order to make it acceptable to post publicly.  And so you know, I was given permission from the Oldest to share this story in full with you.

August 2, 1999 - I am frantically trying to get ready to go to Dallas this week, while recovering from Jet Lag from last week.  The kids have a terrible cough, so I figure I better take them to the doctors before I leave them while I'm in Dallas, especially since I had pneumonia three weeks ago.  So I am getting ready to go to the doctors, paying late bills, when Oldest aka The Chaser, says MOMMMM!  The Organized Child aka The Change Eater just swallowed a quarter!  My head proceeds to explode, as I give her the third degree.  Are you sure it was a quarter and not a penny? I ask.  OH NO! it was a big quarter.  To the phone, I begin to call friends “do you think I should panic?”  I ask.  “I dunno, call our friend the paramedic.”  “Is she breathing?” he asks, “yes” I say, “call the doctors and let them know they may want to see you sooner” he says.  The nurse says “as long as she is breathing we'll see you at 2:40.” 

Off we go to the doctors, by way of Wal-Mart.  I'm hungry The Change Eater whines.  “Sorry”, I reply “you can't have anything to eat, until we get a picture of your tummy, to see where the quarter is.”  She quickly responds with “can't take a picture, my tummy not open up, can't get quarter out” she says.

We get to the doctor we go through the gamete of illness first.  Oldest has an infection, The Change Eater has allergies.  But alas on to the big stuff, the quarter.  The nurse makes cracks as she weighs The Change Eater; “aha she weighs a quarter more”.  Like that’s supposed to be funny!  I don't have time for this, I have a hundred things to do!

The doctor prescribes an x-ray, yahoo!  The good thing was we only had to go down stairs to get it.  So down we go.  We fill out paper work galore, only to wait some more.  I see that they have a pharmacy, so I figure why not try to get Oldest prescriptions filled while we wait.  As I am dropping off the prescriptions, The Change Eater has a fight with Oldest, who then proceeds to whine about not being able to have the chocolate calcium chews that Emma eats.  “No”, I reply sternly, “because I said so, I am the mommy, that’s why.”

Back to the paperwork.  “Go to the last desk, that's x-ray” the woman says as she gives me a pitying look.  Great!  Wait some more.  Mom “there's boogies in my nose, I need a paper towel” Oldest whines.  I ask the desk help for a Kleenex, you would think that I had just asked for a brick of gold!  I'm thinking this is a doctors office, if you can't find Kleenex, and I have to walk a mile to the restroom, for toilet paper, my head is going to blow up for the second time today, and I will not be held responsible for my actions after that!   Finally, another pitying nurse emerges with two Kleenex's.  Oldest blew enough for 7 Kleenex's in those two.  “Gross!” I think as I begin to look for a trash can, of course there isn't one.  (This is before hand sanitizer mind you.)  Finally the x-ray tech comes for us.  She begins to talk to The Change Eater and then the true story comes out!  Oldest had been trying to take the quarter away from The Change Eater, so, she hid it in her mouth, and eventually in a place he was sure never to find it!  Off we go for tummy pictures.  The Change Eater is beaming from ear to ear so proud to be a star. 

Oldest says “see Mom, I was good I never ate money”.  No, I remind him you put neon green play dough in your hinny cheeks, you stuck a pin in your male appendage, you pinched your male appendage in a book, you put a chip clip on your male appendage, you stuck dog food up your nose, finger painted, on numerous occasions, with your poop, and to top it off, you have cut your own hair, a zillion times.  He smiles at me, proud of all his accomplishments.

We finish with the x-rays.  The tech says “who can find the quarter?”  As if we can't see it, it took up half of her little abdomen.  OK, go back upstairs we'll call up and the doctor will let you know the results.  Results, what results?!  My kid has a quarter in her stomach; I could have told you that without the x-ray!

We are now back in the doctor’s office, which is packed I might add, waiting, waiting, and waiting.  The Chaser, who caused this mess in the first place, looks at me and says “I'm bored, what is this movie, why are they doing this, why are they doing that, when can we go home, I'm hungry”.  As I look at him I realize something is wrong, very wrong!  “Oldest”, I ask calmly “did you cut your hair again?”  He tells the truth, only after I threaten to punish him; “yeah I couldn't see, it made me walk into walls” he professes.  Great!   Just great!  We'll have to wait another 6 months to get his pictures taken.

Finally the nurse emerges “she has a quarter in the lower left quadrant of her abdomen.  You will have to inspect her bowl movements to make sure it comes out.  If it’s not out in 48 hours, bring her back in” she states.  Lovely!

We go down to pick up the prescriptions, I ask for a box of rubber gloves and inquire as to how much they are?  After explaining that The Change Eater has swallowed a quarter, and I have to find it, the pharmacist takes great pity on me and gives me a bag of gloves for FREE.

It is at that moment that I begin to rethink the possibility of ever having another Chaser, Change Eater or any other type of child you can think of.

Note:  The Change Eater did not swallow a quarter; she swallowed a nickel in fact.  I still have it today; it is tarnished very badly from her stomach acid.  And, clearly, this did not scare me enough; The Director and I went on to have three more children!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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