When my alarm went off at 5:00am this morning I was ready: the lunch was made, the bags were packed, the outfits were laid out in piles on my living room floor. I felt pretty good as I headed out the door with five small children in the dark, brisk November air. We left at 6:00am for our semi-annual pilgrimage to the children's hospital for Naomi and Emma's check-ups on the liver disease they have (congenital hepatic fibrosis).
It was a pretty drive with the large barns on the Amish farms lit up for early morning chores and the misty air over the frost-covered fields as the sun brushed the sky in faint pinks and blues. We marched into the hospital, made a large bathroom break, brushed three messy heads of hair, and checked into the appointments right on time at 10:00am.
For the most part, my kids sat quietly and behaved themselves while the doctor reviewed Naomi and Emma's charts and poked on their bellies and noted the size of their livers and spleens. Toby laid on his back underneath the chairs and ate corn chex, spilling as many on the floor as he consumed, but I don't think the doctor noticed that. She remarked that everything seemed to be looking good, the disease was progressing very slowly, as always, and she would see us again in 6 months. And then the appointment was over: four hours of preparation behind us, and four hours of journeying home ahead of us for a ten minute appointment. But I tried to remind myself that that's exactly what we want, nothing notable found and permission not to think about liver disease again for another six months.
As she headed out of the room the doctor called back to me (as I was nursing Elijah and coaxing all the kids into line to leave), "You're an amazing woman." That brightened my long day. Yes sir-ee, I was amazing...until we were finishing the lunch I had packed in the hospital cafeteria, and I noticed a foul smell coming from my baby. I hurried the other kids to finish and pack-up, then scooped Elijah up in one arm to head to the bathroom.
"What just fell on the floor?!" Naomi called to me, loud enough for everyone else who had previously been enjoying their lunch to hear. "It looks like poop!" I tried to quickly (and casually--nothing to see here, people) swipe the enormous orange poop blob from the cafeteria floor with a wet-wipe and deposit it in the garbage as we left. Then I carried Elijah, hanging almost upside down, by one arm and one leg around the corner to the bathroom where I discovered his clothing was filled from neck to shoes with orange poop. I made a colossal mess attempting to strip, wash, and re-dress the poor fellow, and I'm sure that bathroom won't smell fresh again for a few days.
As I re-loaded the kids into the minivan with a lingering smell trailing us I felt a little less than amazing, and more like I barely survived. But then we were on the road again, the kids slept and the scenery soothed me, and eventually I laughed about the poop-cident. We are home, we are relatively healthy, and we are settling in for a cozy bedtime with Daddy tonight.
I drove five children 306 miles round-trip for a ten-minute doctor appointment, and we survived. Maybe I am amazing, poop-cident aside.