Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Story of Joseph - Adventures in Babysitting

If you really want to do something fun and exciting take a very sick infant to the ER on a Friday night. For added fun make it an infant who you don't even really know so that you have to explain over and over to multiple doctors and nurses that no, you don't know the baby's medical history and no, you don't know what he's been exposed to and no, we don't have his insurance information. Good times.

Taking Daniel to the ER was nerve wracking. I knew that we were supposed to call social services and let them know there was a medical emergency but I didn't know who to call at 11:30 on a Friday night. I was thinking less "find the emergency contact number" and more "let's not kill the baby we were just put in charge of".

So there we were in the ER without authorization (how effed up is it that a foster parent has to get authorization to take a kid to the ER?) and telling doctors "Yes, go ahead and do that barbaric sounding test on this kid who's not even mine."

The worst part of the ER visit was when they did a chest x-ray on Daniel. Have you ever seen an infant get a chest x-ray? It was awful to watch. They had Jesse hold him out in front of him and then sort of encased him (Daniel) in the plastic tube thingie (that's the technical name) that held him in place. Then they had Jesse hold Daniel's arms up in the air so that they wouldn't interfere with the x-ray. So there's Daniel kind of hanging there in midair, squished into this tube and screaming bloody murder. I watched from the little radiation protection area and tried not to cry. It was awful.

After all the tests results came back we were told that Daniel had some kind of strange infection (that I had never even heard of before) that he most likely picked up at the Children's home. Fan-fricken-tastic. Daniel was given a mega-dose of antibiotics in the ER and we were sent home with prescriptions for more antibiotics and nebulizer treatments. I couldn't help but think about Angela and how strongly of smoke she had smelled when I met her. I was thinking that Daniel had probably been around second-hand smoke his whole life.

As soon as we got home I called Dippy and let her know what happened. I explained why I hadn't called sooner and promised to follow up with her soon. I was more than a little surprised when I got a call the following morning from Dippy. Before I could even give her any details about when happened she started to lay into me about not calling anyone before going to the ER. As she was talking to me I kept thinking that she sounded like she was talking into a barrel and I wondered if there was something wrong with my phone. Turns out there wasn't anything wrong with my phone, Dippy had chosen to three-way Angela into our phone conversation. Without telling me. Letting her listen in as I was reprimanded.

Needless to say I was not pleased. With Dippy having firmly establishing me as an incompetent boob, Angela was now free to jump all over for letting Daniel get sick. I tried explaining that we were told he had gotten sick at the Children's home and that it wasn't anything we had done but Angela wasn't having it. She even said to Dippy "I knew they shouldn't have taken him". And what did Dippy do during all of this? Not much.

When the conversation was over I was pissed. I was pissed that Dippy had reprimanded me the way she did when frankly, I thought we had handled the situation pretty well. I was pissed that I was never allowed to really explain what was going on. I was pissed that the conversation ended with Dippy telling me that from here on out it was my responsibility to make sure that Angela knew about all of Daniel's appointments from here on out. (As if I had left her out of this one on purpose.) I was most pissed off though about the three-way ambush. It was way out of line to a) come down on me in front of Angela and b) not let me know Angela was on the other line.

Unfortunately this came to be a pretty common thing with Dippy throughout Daniel's placement with us. Three times out of four that she would call me Angela would be on the line. Dippy would never tell me if she was or wasn't, I would only know it was a three way call if Angela said something. I never trusted that I could speak freely to Dippy. I came out of a lot of phone calls with Dippy feeling angry and frustrated and, as dramatic as it sounds, violated. When I finally got up the nerve to complain Dippy went ahead and made one of her trademark boneheaded moves. She gave Angela my home phone number so that she could call me directly whenever she wanted to.

The situation was about to get a whole lot worse.


Ben said...

Is it weird that I am hearing all of this for pretty much the first time just now? Though I guess we weren't really hanging out much at that time.

Caustic Cupcake said...

You need to hurry up and post more because I am DYING OVER HERE.

You sure know how to keep a girl on the edge of her computer chair.

kik said...

Dippy is making me pretty mad.

Although I think her name was well chosen.

heathenmommy said...

Yes, I had to take Adrian to have a chest x-ray when he was about 2 1/2-3 months old and had RSV that caused pneumonia. Except it was wasn't a plastic thingy, it was a leather and metal restraint that looked like it was straight out of a horror movie! Awful indeed.

Can't wait to read the next installment!

heebie-geebie said...

Holy crap, I'm so into this story. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Jen, please continue with the story! I really enjoy reading what you write. And I think you should write a book about your experiences, too. It would be a great memoir! Judy (MIL)

kik said...

more more more!

What? your kids have to eat? But we're hanging on the edge here!!

This story is as addicting as M&Ms

Sam said...

I'm confused...isn't Angela the one that did something crappy enough to land her infant in foster care in the first place? People are so frickin' dumb sometimes I am astounded. (Not you-Dippy and Angela)

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I can't wait for the next chapter in the Joseph story.

nell said...


Jen said...

ben - This was during your wild and crazy frat days. I told you about it but you were too busy drinking beer and going "Whooooo!" to listen.

caustic cupcake - I'm going as fast as I can! All will be revealed.

kik - Dippy made me pretty mad a lot of the time too.

heathenmommy - Yes, something out of a torture chamber. That's exactly what it was like! *shudder*

heebie geebie - I'm enjoying sharing it, even if it does get my blood boiling a little bit.

Judy - I don't think the rantings of a wronged foster mom would make a very compelling book but thank you.

kik - Seriously, I'm going as fast as I can! Little people keep demanding things from me.

sam - Exactly. That is the cruelest irony in this whole story I think.

jenny - I'm glad your're enjoying it. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy you in a totally non-creep and non-stalker way?

nell - Yikes indeed. I had forgotten some of the details of this story until I started writing it and yeah, yikes sums it up pretty well.

Laggin said...

I remember when they strapped Eldest (my Aspie) down to a table for a chest x-ray at 11 months. She STILL hates doctors to this day. (I was pregnant and had to be out of the room. Hubby was out of town.) It was a horror.