Mr. Baby gave us a terrible scare last night. I had put him in his playpen while I prepared some food for him. And stupid me, didn’t thoroughly check what was in there, hey it’s his playpen, it should just have stuff he can play with in there, right? What I didn’t know is that the previous day when Estela (my friend/cleaning lady) came over with her kids and I went out because I had to receive, fill out and re-send a fax to the Canadian embassy in Mexico City in the continuing saga of my kids’ passport applications, daughter and daughter of Estela put a whole bunch of toys in the playpen and who knows what they were doing. But I didn’t see anything that looked out of the ordinary and I plopped baby down in there and went to the kitchen to make him some oatmeal. Every couple of minutes I would look out at him and he was playing fine.
Then all of a sudden he starts crying. I figure he just wants out so I ask daughter to pick him up. She doesn’t respond with much haste so I go out and get him and he’s really crying strong, which is odd for him because he’s not a crier – usually he stops as soon as I pick him up unless he’s hurt. Then he starts gagging and I’m afraid he’s choking on something so I hold him down in the choking position for babies and smack him on the back but he’s just bringing out saliva. He starts crying again, so he’s breathing and I’m trying to soothe him but he keeps crying for quite awhile. So I decide to call the hubster – since I’m at home with no vehicle and no money I’m not in a good position to deal with a medical emergency. Of course he doesn’t answer his cel right away – he’s got this cel phone that doesn’t ring loud enough but we haven’t had the money to get him a new one – so I try several times and finally send a text message and he calls back about ten minutes later. Baby is still crying so I tell him there’s a problem with baby and please come home. He arrives a few minutes later. Baby is still crying, though it hasn’t been completely non-stop, I took him outside and he kind of settled down for a few moments looking at the dogs that live on our street, but then he started up again. So we decide to take baby to the doctor.
Since we haven’t found a doctor that we really like, we don’t usually take our kids to the dr. Luckily they’re very healthy, and I prefer to avoid unnecessary medical intervention in general. Baby hasn’t been sick at all since birth and has only been to a doctor once. We decided to go back to that doctor but it’s Saturday afternoon. He’s not at his office and not responding to his cel phone (is this a typical Mexican male thing? What is the purpose of having a cel phone if you don’t answer it?). Baby has fallen asleep by now. He was overdue for a nap – the plan had been to feed him some oatmeal and put him down for a nap. So he’s hungry and extra-tired from all that crying. Hubster wants to wake up baby to “see if he’s ok.” I figure if he’s over-tired he’s just going to keep crying anyway no matter what. So I convince him that we should let him sleep a little while. We decide to go to a clinic we’ve been to before to see if there’s a pediatrician around. There’s no pediatrician at 7pm on Friday but they say if one is required they will call one in (assuming said pediatrician will answer his cel, of course).
So we park around the block from the clinic and wait a while for baby to sleep a bit and to see how he’s doing when he wakes up. We wake him up a while later – he’s slept maybe half an hour. He’s cranky at first but then he’s smiling and he seems ok so we decide to go home.
I give him some milk and he drinks fine, so at home I decide to give him some of the oatmeal I prepared. On the second taste he starts crying. So we’re thinking that he swallowed something and it might still be stuck somewhere en route but at least it’s not disrupting his breathing – although every once in a while he sounds really raspy for a few minutes and then it goes away. He’s also coughing every once in a while and it seems like it hurts. I look up on the Internet (what did moms do when they couldn’t google things like “baby swallows unknown object”? Of course reading everybody else’s experiences makes one feel like not such a totally inept parent, or at least a totally inept parent with plenty of company), while Hubster checks the playpen and finds a star-shaped sequin of daughters and we’re thinking what if there were two of them and he swallowed the other one? The points on that star are awfully pointy…
So we decide to go to the clinic again. The general doctor checks baby out and says he’s not in immediate danger – listens to his chest and puts some kind of gadget on his finger which supposedly measures the oxygen in his blood (?) and says he seems ok. She looks in his throat and says that his throat is inflamed – perhaps whatever he swallowed irritated his throat on the way down… She says what I should have done when he was gagging is stick my finger in his mouth and make him vomit. Suggests taking an x-ray to see if we can see whatever it is. So that’s what we do. Daughter is hungry so I take her out to buy her a sandwich. As we’re returning I see this car parked out front that says: X-Press Rayos-X A Domicilio. So apparently we could have had the x-ray technician come directly to our home. Who knew? Is this an only in Mexico thing? Inside they’ve already taken the x-ray and hubster is in waiting room with baby who seems fine at the moment. And I’m feeling bad that this is the second x-ray he’s had and he’s not even a year old. (First one was shortly after he was born to check on his sacral dimple. Daughter is nearly 9 and has never had an x-ray.)
So nothing shows up on the x-ray but they’ve called the pediatrician to come in. We’re waiting around for him. When he finally shows up he basically does the same as the general doctor did. Except he says that when a baby has swallowed something you should not try to make them throw up. (Ok so who am I supposed to believe?) And he figures we should just wait and whatever kid has swallowed will probably come out on it’s own in good time. He also prescribes an anti-inflammatory for baby’s sore throat. Which we don’t buy cause I figure he just prescribed it because doctors here feel they haven’t done their job if they don’t prescribe anything – and most patients feel the same way.
Baby slept ok until he woke up at about 2:30am and wanted to nurse but his nose was stuffy and he couldn’t. Then he screamed like a banshee until falling asleep on his papi’s chest. He woke up a couple hours later, nursed fine and went back to sleep. He woke up late this morning in a fine humor and happily ate some banana for breakfast.
The Bottom Line:
X-Ray: 500 pesos
Doctor’s Fees: 400 pesos
Reminder to be extra careful about what baby can get his hands on: Priceless