Suburban Snapshots

And No George Clooney

Friday, September 03, 2010

A couple of years ago, a friend sent me this link (caution: sad photo, but happy ending) to the story of a local baby who'd nearly died after swallowing a button battery. Following that little slice of my worst nightmare, I soldered, duct taped, and Crazy Glued the one remote we own that contains one of those deadly little fuckers, then cleared out the junk drawers and vacuumed from attic to basement. I added "ingested button battery" to my list of Threats to Baby and returned to my regularly scheduled program of Accidental Choking Neuroses.

There would be no musical birthday cards, sucked-on remote entry fobs or toys that contained anything smaller than C batteries behind screwed-down covers. In fact, maybe it would be best to stick with chalk and blocks.

My house on lithium-cell lockdown, I chilled out and became less panicked and more aware. Thing is, we're not always at home.

We had gone to my parents' to house sit while they were out of town. Anna insists on scouring my mother's kitchen cabinets for pacifiers, and finding none, opted to play with a digital thermometer. I knew the thing was dead, but it was either too early in the morning or I had one of my trademark moments of oblivion when a few minutes later, Anna said "Look Mama, this came off" and handed me the cover to the battery compartment — which was empty. My brain immediately started arguing with itself:

She wouldn't have put that in her mouth, she's been putting the thermometer under her arm and calling it a 'shot.' But she does put coins in her mouth, the battery would look like a coin. But the thermometer wasn't wet like she'd been sucking on it. Are you positive? I think I took the battery out last time we were here when I realized the thermometer was dead. Are you sure? Even if she did swallow it, it's a small one, it would easily pass. But oh my God what if it doesn't?

After I tossed the couch and patted down Anna, I called my mom to ask if the thermometer had had a battery in it, "Uuummmm..." was all I needed to hear. We were off to the ER.

The good news is that I was TOTALLY overreacting. Anna didn't swallow anything, and all 8 staff (none of whom seemed to be embroiled in complicated love triangles or dramatic hostage situations) who saw us during our 3 hours in the empty ER confirmed it. Anna was so brave on the x-ray table, and I think she had such a good time that Steve's threats of "Get off of that _____ or you're going to end up in the hospital," now sound better than Disneyland to a girl who came home with 5 stickers, a tattoo, and a personalized plastic bracelet.

After the whole ordeal I did feel a little bit like That Crazy Mom, but in this case it's exactly the outcome I wanted.

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