Yesterday, I put 157 kms on the car: 50 kms round trip dropping Beloved off at work and going back home to pick up Tristan; 25 kms round trip to CHEO (the Children’s Hospital) for an appointment; then I dropped off Tristan at school, dropped off Simon for his first day of nursery school (!), picked Simon up an hour later, picked Tristan up, and drove another 50 kms round trip to fetch Beloved.
Seriously? We need a second car.
The appointment at CHEO was kind of funny. I’d finally gotten around to asking Tristan’s ped about a spot that he’s had at the crown of his head back at his well-baby five year appointment in the spring, and the ped suggested a pediatric dermatologist take a look at it. It was actually a pinpoint scab that I noticed the day Tristan was born, and the nurse tried to tell me it was likely where “the probe” broke the skin, despite my insistence that there was no probe (I may have been in the throes of labour, but I was still paying pretty close attention to what came and went between my legs!) Over the years, it has become a hairless raised blistery bit about the size of a blueberry, and although I’m not overly worried about it, I figured we should get it checked out. Over the summer, he also developed a rather ugly black mole on his leg that we also wanted to have checked.
We’re puttering around the house getting ready for the appointment, and Tristan is loagy, hiding under a blanket and reluctant to get his shoes on. I finally feel his skin, and am not sure whether he feels flush because of the blanket or because of something else. Sure enough, I finally get him up and moving and realize he’s got that distinctive glassy-eyed look that spells fever. I debate for a few minutes, think of the five-month wait for this appointment and the work stuff I cancelled to stay home, and make the executive decision to tylenol him up and head out anyway.
We wait for more than a half an hour at the CHEO clinic, and though he’s subdued, he’s also fidgety and not terribly warm. He’s off, but not dealthy sick.
Finally, we get called in. A moment later, a very young woman (or maybe I’m just very old now) comes in with his chart and introduces herself as the resident, and asks me if it’s okay if more than one doctor does the examination this morning. I’m thinking she means her and the senior doc, so I’m fine with that.
She takes the case history, leaves, and a few minutes later comes back with not one, not two, but three other people, and Dr House, the Pediatric Version begins. There’s one obviously senior doc, and three very young (they still had student cards!) associates. He lays out the scenario and solicits their best guesses as to the diagnosis. Meanwhile, each of them paws through Tristan’s hair to prod his scalp, and then pokes and squeezes the mole on his leg.
Remember, Tristan is not feeling well in the first place. And, I don’t think he even knew about the spot on his head. He is tolerant of the attention, but barely.
The doctor and his acolytes bandy about some very scary terms and some long Latin names. The perky blond with freckles suggests one thing, and the senior doc tells her, “No no, that usually presents as red, lace-like adhesions.” The lanky brunette with the eyelashes suggests the spot on his leg might be a residual foreign object imbedded under the skin, and blushes furiously when the senior doctor shoots me an inclusive look and says, “Don’t you think the mother might have noticed a trauma severe enough to embed something in her child’s leg?”
Just when I think we’re done, the senior doctor asks if we mind if the next group comes in. I blink silently, my brain still trying furiously to file away the various diagnoses for later consultation with Dr Google, and in the end nod faintly. It’s hard not to laugh when FOUR MORE student doctors file in and begin to poke, prod and generally irritate the snot out of poor Tristan.
Finally, we get a confirmed diagnosis. The spot on his head was likely a simple absence of skin that formed in utero, and the bump itself is just a cosmetic scar that may or may not resolve itself. Removing it would introduce the possibility of worse scarring, so we agree to leave it alone and I am silently grateful that at least Tristan is taller than all his classmates and so at least it won’t be terribly noticable if we keep his hair longish. The spot on his leg is a Spitz Nevus, which Dr Google tells me is a benign tumour that is often misdiagnosed as a melanoma. Melanoma and tumour are the only two words I’ve grasped all morning, and I am happy about neither, although the “benign” keeps me from truly panicking. The doctor suggests we remove it as a precautionary measure, and sets us up with an appointment next Wednesday. While my brain grapples with the implication of the speed with which he wants it removed (this must be more serious than his gentle manner is letting on, cries the hypochondriac in me) the more logical part of my brain protests aloud the date. “Does it have to be Wednesday? It’s truly the worst day of the week for us.” Sure enough, this doctor only visits CHEO on Wednesday mornings.
Another Wednesday, another day of missed work, another 150 kms of driving. But at least I got to watch a live version of Dr House’s pleasant alter-ego. That counts for something, right?