Nathalie's Notes

Raising the Hardy Boys

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Or the story of the boy who didn't swallow the screw. Or, a variety of other plays on the word screw to describe our stupid Sunday. Or this post could be called what we did instead of getting a Christmas tree.

The day started normally enough. All of us a bit bleary eyed from loosing sleep to a windy night and parts of our roof hitting the side of the house but for the most part in a good mood. Matt and I were looking forward to taking Sam to the tree farm and spending the afternoon decorating.

Then I asked Matt to do something with the table blocking the hallway for weeks. He had to put a few screws in it first. Sam wanted to help. Up they went. Matt ran downstairs for something and there was a strange coughing, choking sound upstairs. Matt got there first. Sam was holding a screw in one hand and looking suspicious.

Me: "Did you put a screw in your mouth?"

Sam: "Yeah."
Me: "Did you swallow the screw?"

Sam: "Yeah."
Me: "Did you swallow the fork?"
Sam: "Yeah."

To Matt, "This is not a credible witness."

I called doctor. As I waited for the call back, I realized he was no longer our doctor and I'd yet to find a new one since Matt's company changed our insurance from a decent plan to the communist Kaiser system. Damn.

I didn't mention this change in plans as I talked to the on-call doc. She advised we head into the ER for an x-ray. Just in case. She agreed with us that it was unlikely he swallowed it in such a short amount of time with a small amount of fussing but it was a sharp, spirally wood screw and suggested we be on the safe side. She also gave Matt credit for creativity for wanting to find a metal detector and conduct a DIY scan.

So we packed up and headed to the ER. I packed our sweaters and camera thinking we'd just stop by the tree farm on the way home since I was pretty sure this was just for peace of mind. (It was, by the way).

Matt insisted we try to locate a metal detector which involved a series of phone calls, including one to our local PD and Bi-Mart. Matt bought a stud finder but no metal detector. I couldn't help but wonder if that would be like me stopping at the scrapbook store on the way to the ER to get some "materials" to document this event.

So we're in the hospital parking lot and again realize, we have this Kaiser thing to contend with. We didn't have our new cards yet and I was put on hold for long enough to have been well into our ER trip but whatever. The Kaiser lady made us an appointment clear in Clackamas. Really? We were in Newberg. Clearly this was not an emergency and she said if we went to the Newberg ER it would be a lot more expensive. Fine. So we kept driving, until I realized the granola bar, fruit leather and two mandarins in the diaper bag wouldn't pass for lunch for one much less all three of us. After a quick stop at Safeway we got to Clackamas were we went into the wrong building (we didn't know this until we checked out, of course.) They checked us in, saw the appointment for urgent care in the computer and admitted us to the ER. You see where I'm going with this?

Sam was awesome despite being scolded by one idiot nurse for being "too wiggly" when she tried to get his oxygen with a toe clip. Even giraffe wore a little paper towel "shied" on the x-ray table. No screw ingested. We headed home.

And ran out of gas.

Luckily, and ironically, it was right in front of our local gas station owner's house and in walking distance to our house (freezing temps aside).

Maybe we'll get a tree next weekend.

4 thoughts on “The screw not swallowed

  1. Oh Nathalie! I’m glad Sam is okay. Of course you ran out of gas, you had to. And it was absolutely necessary for Matt to pick up the stud finder. When a story gets as bad as you think it could get, a good writer always ups the ante. Sometimes life makes for better material than you could conceive on your own. I’m so sorry that it was you that had to experience all of this though…at nine months pregnant.
    At least you have a Gopher, right? Perhaps a good tool for picking up screws or caning Kaiser policy maker. Just a thought.
    I love that giraffe was x-rayed too.


  2. jane, candid says:

    Oh Natalie,
    What a story! I am glad it had a happy ending! And it was masterful comic timing as you show how, as a mom, if you don’t laugh you’ll just have to cry! Love the man DIY medicine angle — you just can’t make that stuff up.
    Hope you get a tree this weekend. Several years ago, we switched to an artificial tree (bah-humbug) and it was only recently (last week?) that I learned that my kids don’t remember that we EVER went out to cut our own tree, or even that we used to have real trees. So not fair! We trudged through snow! We took hay rides! I will have to dig out the photos to prove it.
    Thanks for the smile.


  3. Derek Young says:

    I thought I had a shitty day… then I read this and felt a little better. 🙂


  4. Come on!!! Fess up….you are making this whole thing up, aren’t you? Because some thing is potentially scary, but thank God not, and hillarious with each twist and turn (like the “ran out of gas, right!) could not happen to one little family….ha, ha, ha,….I am still laughing, crying….relieved!! Not bad results from one made up, fictitious story!!! u.p.


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