Ella's follow-up ENT appointment was today and I pretty much had a blog post all written in my head to the tune of the Christmas song "Do You See What I See?" (in case you didn't get that from the title..) about how she passed her hearing test with flying colors and the tubes are working beautifully and we were all but released from ever seeing the ENT specialists again.. I guess this is what you get when you count your metaphorical chickens before they hatch, even if only in your head.
I should have know things were not going to go my way today from the very start.
I should have known when my too-kind-to-say-anything mother-in-law stopped by to pick Nolan up for school to save me an extra half hour of driving time and saw my horrifically embarrassingly messy house.
I should have known when I stepped foot out the front door and saw that our dog had broken into our porch and strewn a bag of trash all over the lawn (meaning I had a horrifically embarrassingly messy house inside and out).
I should have known when I sat down in my car and saw a fuel tank pointing to Empty.
And I really should have known when my driving-to-Sioux Falls-by-myself ritualistic listening to the soundtrack from "Wicked" was tainted by a non-working iPod. I've truly begun to treasure that time where I am not outvoted by pleas of listening to "Big Green Tractor," "Made in America," or Sesame Street Music and I'm free to belt out at the top of my lungs (completely out of tune of course) "Defying Gravity!"
But I ignored all these somewhat-subtle signs and charged ahead to the appointment, high expectations in tact.
I arrived in desperate discomfort due to still after SO many of these trips, not learning my lesson that a 16-oz thermos of coffee goes through my system in exactly 1 hour and 8 minutes and our drive takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, leaving the final 22 minutes completely agonizing. Due to Ella typically being asleep at this time coupled with the knowledge that she will scream the rest of the way if awoken, this leaves my options very limited.
I am forced to choose between pulling off into a secluded cornfield somewhere (hard to do now that harvest is over) OR finding a small town gas station and leaving Ella locked in the car to run in and out at warp speed before she wakes up (or somebody steals her) Both of which are obviously terrible ideas and of course I have done neither.. Of course..........
OR I can wait it out. And since I'm normally NOT early/on time I usually have to just wait it out. If I could only remember to wait to start drinking my coffee until 22 minutes into the trip I think I could time it about perfect..
But anyways.. first thing at the appointment was the OAE hearing test. Or what should have been. The lady hooked up the monitor and realized she couldn't even get a reading. At first she said maybe the tubes weren't even in..? Great. But upon further inspection she saw that they were, in fact, in but maybe were crusted over.. "You didn't throw away those ear drops she got after surgery, did you?"
Of course not.....
She decided not to do the OAE until Ella had seen the doctor because she wanted him to look first, knowing that she wouldn't pass if they were obstructed. So we were sent back to the waiting room to wait. When we were called back to the doctor, the first thing they do is take your weight. (Not my weight, thank goodness...) The nurse was busy getting the scale all ready for Ella. The scale that you stand on. Unassisted. I said to her, "Ummm... she's not gonna stand on there. She can't yet." The nurse looked surprised and said, "Oh! Okay.. Well we can do it.. on this other scale... I guess.. I thought she was old enough." Ouch. I know she didn't mean any ill will with that comment, but it still stung a little. Yes, she is old enough. That doesn't mean she can. Or will.
To add insult to injury Ella's weight was even lower than last time and seems to continue to drop slowly which I know GI is not going to be happy about. And we weighed her clothes on, which again GI is not going to be happy about, but they're just going to have to deal with it.
While waiting for the doctor I was trying to keep Ella occupied and casually looked down at her feet and pointed to the hole in her shoe and said, "Ella! You have a hole in your shoe." Big mistake. HUGE. She freaked out and wouldn't stop grabbing at her shoe and I couldn't distract her enough. Apparently she was appalled that her mother would bring her on an outing with holey shoes. I'm sorry. One pair is borderline too small, one pair is missing its mate, her boots are hard to walk in, and I haven't had time to buy new ones yet... Don't worry Ella. I threw the favorite-fits-just-right pair of shoes with the hole in the toe away the minute we got home so that will never happen again..
So THEN when the doctor came in there was some confusion about why they didn't do the OAE since that was basically the only reason we were there in the first place-to see if she could pass it with the tubes-so he sent me back to the waiting room again. To wait. But not before he AND the nurse reminded me on two separate occasions of those all-important ear drops nobody told me were important that I could use whenever I thought I should.. Seriously! What is in those ear drops?? The healing water of Lourdes or what? And why didn't anyone tell me about it the day we got them???
By this time we had been there for an hour with little to no answers. And as if that weren't enough, while we were waiting in the kids area there was a little girl about Ella's age who was mocking me with all the things she could do. She seemed to be walking and running and talking and coloring all in the name of taunting me that Ella can't do those things... Okay.. maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But it's amazing how on a good day when everything is going well it doesn't bother me at all the see other kids Ella's age doing things she can't do, but on a day where a few things are starting to quickly add up, your emotional senses are heightened to polar extremes.
I guess I can't speak for everybody.
Maybe not everyone is like that.
Maybe they have tougher skin than me.
Maybe I'll get there.
After that agonizing, frustrating tear-filled-eyes wait the audiologist finally called us back again to do the test. Which took about 3 minutes. Hindsight=20/20. We should have just done the OAE the first time... But anyways.. she didn't pass. Which could either mean she does have some hearing loss or her ear canals are too tiny still to get a good reading or the respiratory gunk she has going on right now is interfering. Same old story. So again.. we were sent back to the waiting room. To wait to see the doctor. Again. And we waited (with that same little girl, lest I could catch a break) and waited and waited. After so much waiting
Don't worry. I held it together until I got to the car. Okay.. the parking lot. Fine... it was the elevator.
During my drive across town I realized I was left with no time for lunch and very limited time for the fabric store (Yes I was choosing the fabric store over lunch). So I quickly ran in, upon realizing I FORGOT my SIXTY PERCENT OFF coupon, with a grumpy Ella hoping to find exactly what I was looking for in less than 10 minutes. Didn't happen. So back to the car. On the way out of town I realized that maybe in fact I did have a few minutes to swing through the drive thru of McDonalds. I don't even like McDonalds so why did I choose there out of all the enticing options along 41st Street? Two words. Popcorn. Chicken. McDonalds has the most amazing popcorn chicken bites. Or should I say had... McDonalds had the most amazing popcorn chicken bites. They don't have them anymore. Of course. But after investing so much time waiting in their mile long drive-thru line I felt like I needed to make it worth it and order from there. The day held a slight glimmer of hopeful redemption when I found an old McDonalds gift card in my wallet from when Ella was hospitalized last year (We don't eat out much..). Until I found out it had $0.37 on it.. Ugh.
But I smiled. And moved on. And left at the very last possible minute I could have to make it home in time. And while eating my sandwich and holding the wrapper on the outside I suddenly looked down and realized there was a bite taken out of my wrapper. Yep, I'm awesome. Does the fact that I couldn't tell the difference between eating my sandwich and eating the wrapper hold any indication of why I don't like McDonalds in the first place??
The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful except for the truck driver who honked at me as I passed him on the Interstaet and waved for a full 10-seconds who I have no clue who you are. Among the things that went through my head during those few seconds were "Do I have a flat tire? Is my door open? Is my trunk open? Is something hanging out my door? OMG did I leave Ella on top of the car??? As if she would still be there after 40 miles of traveling at 75 mph (I checked though.. just in case.)
So now we're home again. And after Ella screaming for 1/2 hour and coughing up mucus all over me, we are no worse for the wear. Or maybe just slightly worse.. At least we fared better than that iPod.. It may have gotten thrown against the dash on the way home. No, it didn't make it work. But in case you're wondering? Yes, it did in fact make me feel better.. Much better.