The nurses in the emergency room had told me that we would have to wait for all that medication to metabolize in Joel's body before we could go home. Guess we were in for a long wait. Joel said he was sleepy, so I turned off the overhead light. He never did go to sleep. Instead he studied his casts and commented over and over that he didn't remember them putting it on.
"Do you remember them fixing your arm?"
"Yeah, that hurt. But when did they put the cast on?"
Had that been me in the bed, I would have curled up and tried to sleep off the medication until the pain woke me up. Joel chattered off and on and then asked to go to the bathroom. He told me over an hour ago that he had to go, but I'd seen the dregs of humanity that had been coming and going from the restroom nearby, and I really wanted him to wait until we got home. At the time we'd been there almost two hours so I was sure it wouldn't be much longer. But here we were an hour later and still with another hour or so to go before we could leave. I asked the nurse if Joel could go to the bathroom.
"It's really not a good idea for him to be up and walking around now. And we need to keep him hooked up to the monitors."
Then the nurse got a small bedpan/bottle out and said we could use that. Joel took one look and decided to wait until we got home. And I can't say that I blame him.
I made a few calls to update people on how he was. While I was distracted, Joel noticed the monitor in the corner of the room. I explained that the green line measured his heartbeat, the white line his breathing, and the blue line his pulse.
I was watching the monitor as I explained things to him, and I was shocked to see the white line suddenly go flat. I jerked around to look at Joel and found him holding his breath. He let it out in a big gust and then drew several quick, short breaths. The white line zigzagged obediently. Joel giggled and experimented with his breathing some more.
"Look! I made an "M"."
"There's a "W"."
"Boy, the line really went high that time!"
He continued to entertain himself, watching the line as he alternately laughed, talked, sang and held his breath. I finally made him stop. If they were waiting for decent readouts on the monitors before they let us go, he'd just extended our stay by several more hours!
It wasn't too long after that when he discovered he could make the blue line jump by wiggling the thumb that had the pulse monitor clipped to it. I knew exactly where he got this wicked sense of humor. He got it from his father. Sure enough, when Terry got to the hospital he was highly amused at Joel's efforts to entertain himself. He called Joel's Grandpa to tell him what happened to Joel's arms, and then explained the monitor situation. Joel's Grandpa was equally amused.
"Tell him to see if he can make the green line move," he advised Terry.
Since the green line represented the heartbeat, I put a stop to that idea quickly.
It was almost 10:30 that night when they finally let us leave. Since we had missed supper, Terry took Joel home and I ran by McDonald's to pick up a Happy Meal for our invalid. But when we got home, we discovered we had another problem.