Thursday, August 27, 2009

Unpleasant Growth

Yo may remember that Sunday night after church I was frantically downloading my husband's files from his somehow damaged computer. When I got home I downloaded the files from the flash drive to our desktop. Terry was leaving early in the morning on a trip, and I knew he needed help getting some of his things together, so I was hurrying through my chore when Nicky, my nine-year-old, came into the office. I was a little annoyed because I had just told the boys to start their showers and get ready for bed. Now here comes Nicky telling me he thinks he has a boil.

I know, that's a really weird thing for a kid to come up with. Our family got lots of boils while were living Uganda. Nicky doesn't really remember them, but he knows the kids talk about the agony once in a while. (Personally, I have a whole new perspective on the book of Job. But that's another post.)

I told Nicky to show me his "boil". He pulled his shirt up, and there was a huge red welt on his side that ran from his stomach to his back. Worse, the welt was sitting on top of a large swelling that stuck out from the side of his body. It was also feverishly hot.

Usually when the kids show us some physical problem such as broken bones, gaping cuts, etc. I go into damage-control mode. I suck in my breath, and begin speaking in very calm, rational tones (as opposed to the normal every day hysterical ones), acting like it's not a huge deal while hurrying to get medical treatment. But this one threw me. I sucked in a breath and said, "Oh my goodness!" loudly enough to draw several others into the office. Each one that looked had the same response: "Whoa!"
Terry took Nicky into another room with better lighting. Then he turned to me and said, "This is not good. We've got to get someone to look at this right away!"

I agreed, but I certainly wasn't looking forward to spending the rest of the night in the emergency room. Especially since we've gone almost a year since visiting there. Then I remembered that one of the ladies that joined our church this summer is a pediatrician. And she had just given me her number at church that night because I was supposed to call her this week. Unfortunately I couldn't find the slip of paper with her number on it anywhere.

"Just go," Terry told me. "She'll understand." I knew she would, and I knew I had no choice, but I still didn't relish banging on someone's door at 10:30 at night when I hardly knew them. Still, I bundled Nicky in the car, and off we went.

I should mention that Nicky, as the youngest, struggles under the impression that he does not get enough attention. So when something comes up that calls attention to him, he tends to milk it for all it's worth. He told me as we went to the car, that now his legs were hurting. I was already worried about the fast growth of this whatever-it-was, and I panicked, thinking the poison of this unknown attack was working on his legs--maybe paralyzing him. "Your legs hurt?" I asked.

"Yeah. I had to run up the stairs to get my sweatpants before we left."

Sigh. As we drove to our friend's house, I asked Nicky for details. When did he notice this growth? (His story kept changing from that morning to right before he got in the shower that night.) Did it itch? (Maybe. A little.) Did it hurt? (Yes.) Was the hurt on the skin or down deep inside? Was it a stabbing pain or an ache, or what? He answered yes to all questions and kept changing his mind about whether it was on the surface or down deep. I see therapy in our future.

Much questioning finally revealed that, after the Sunday evening church service he went out to play with the rest of the kids. And sometime during the evening he was laying on the ground. I theorized that something had bit him, although there was no visible bite mark. Nicky was adamant that nothing had bitten him, but that yesterday he felt like he had bugs all over him. (I don't know where he gets his imagination!)

When we pulled up to the house, it was dark and I inwardly groaned. We were going to pull her out of bed. As we got out of the car, Nicky commented that it hurt to turn. Then as we walked up the sidewalk, he said this thing was now messing with his mind. I stifled a laugh, which he took offense to, and then he told me he was serious because it was making him dizzy. He was walking pretty straight and I'm not sure he actually knows what dizzy means, so I didn't take him too literally.

Thankfully, the pediatrician was not in bed and was very gracious about us showing up on her doorstep with this huge growth. She even laughed at the fact that I lost the phone number she'd given me just two hours ago. After examining his growth, checking his vitals and asking some questions, she finally told us it looked like hives. Except that there was only one. It was a hive. In a weird spot. For no apparent reason. She agreed that he'd probably been bitten by something and she gave him benadryl. She also gave me her phone number again in case things worsened during the night. (This time I plugged it directly into my phone.)

All's well. Simple problem, simple solution. We thanked her and headed home, stopping at Walmart to pick up some underwear since the laundry hadn't been done that weekend and my husband had nothing to pack. But it was the perfect weird ending to a weird evening.

The swelling was down by morning, and his "hive" has almost completely gone away. Nicky is fine, except when you ask him how he's doing. Then he puts on a long face and says maybe it's hurting again. Or itching. I'd believe him if he were actually favoring the side with the hive.


  1. Kids are so helpful when it comes to pain, lol! "Does this feel like a sharp pain or a dull one" and they say "Yeah!"

    Glad you knew where she lived! I don't like going to the hospital either but have to sometimes with my mom. It's usually late at night and you don't get home till 3 or 4 in the morning!

  2. LOL! I love those last two lines.


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