Monday, March 23, 2009


When Merrick was 8 months old, his beautiful little left eye reddened and swelled.    The Matron could not quite understand this as he had no other symptom and the eye didn't appear to bother.  But over the course of a single day, that little eye puffed like kangaroo pouch and beat crimson.  This didn't look like pink eye or strep or anything the Matron had seen.

So she grabbed her guy and took him to the Emergency Room.

Imagine the odds!  Her very own pediatrician was walking out of the building just as the Matron and Merrick walked in.   The doctor-- a lovely woman (younger and far better looking than the Matron oh curse her) stopped to say hello and then?    The doctor stopped and took a long, concentrated look at Merrick.

Doctor:  "Did this happen quickly?"

Matron:  "Why - -yes.  His eye was fine a few hours ago."

So the doctor nodded and  snatched that child out of the Matron's arms and turned, heel on a dime, back into the ER.  "Follow me."

Oh my!  The Matron followed!  Her heart?  It had resituated itself in her throat - and was pounding.

The doctor blew past all Nurses and Procedures--Merrick firmly in arms-- and said in a loud firm voice:  " I need blah- blah-blah, and blah-blah-blah -- and this other mega-thing -- right now.  Not in one minute, now."

Now, the Matron can't remember the precise drugs the doctor wanted to immediately administer because she was already numbing into a state of shock as medical personnel dropped what they were doing and descended upon her baby -- who disappeared in a sea of pea green and chemical blue scrubs.

While the flurry flew, the doctor took the Matron aside:  "Mary?  Complete gut instinct.  I think he has periorbital cellulitis, an infection of the optic nerve that can spread to the brain.   Again, just instinct and nothing to write home about, but I think the infection has settled in pretty well and is moving quickly enough that we want to bypass all the administrative stuff.  We'll pump him full of antibiotics and watch that optic nerve behave in no time.

It did not take the hypochondriacal (but very smart) Matron long to understand that periorbital cellulitis can kill or blind you.

And those antibiotics?

Did not work on Merrick.

The Matron's child hung in the balance, in the hospital, for three excruciating days while the doctors waited for that antibiotic to work.   

For some reason, that eye continued to bloat and beam.  So the breast-feeding Matron lived in the hospital (again -- this was Merrick's second stay and there's another story), sleeping on a cot at her child's side and trying to keep an unhappy, feverish, 8 month old happy for 16 hours a day while worrying about his very survival.  The Matron is the kind of mother where those things counter each other:  A) why can't you be happy and sleep all day instead of being uncomfortable and needy for 82 hours?   and B)  if you cease to exist I shall perish.

And she endured this without wine.

Merrick slowly, eventually recovered.   When he was in process, the Matron pulled that child and his army of IVs, and poles and medications, around the hospital in a little red wagon.  She knew they looked ragged. 

But still?

One day, a man in the lobby  tossed a $5 bill into the wagon. 

And Merrick got better.


Anonymous said...

Bless that man and his magic $5 bill!

(My verification word is ovecyxen. That sounds like something that might cure periorbital whatsis.)

smalltownme said...

My son is playing a sad song on the piano as I read this post...

"Cornlato" is my word verification...did his song have a slow but corny tempo?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm glad it ended well. The Matron does not lead a calm existence.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

This is what I'm saying . . .

Irene said...

Oh, thank goodness for that!

Lynda said...

What an adventure! I would've been a total wreck.

Unknown said...

I have fond memories of being pulled around in a little red wagon by nurses. Seriously.

I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child.

Heather said...

Wow. I would be a total wreck.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is crazy. Obviously I knew the ending, Merrick survives, but how awful. And God bless old men and their gifts.

Michele R said...

What a wreck I would have been.

MJ said...

Glad you both recovered from that experience! The twists and turns of life are many!

Daisy said...

Motherhood. If we knew what it involved, would we have still gone ahead and done it?
Hell, yes.
I'm glad it ended well for Merrick and for you. My little one (congenitally blind) had a major medicine reaction at age 13 months that threw me into a major tizzy. He's 17 now (years, that is), and I still remember.

JCK said...

OH, this was hard to read. Heart in throat here...