Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anatomy 101

I’ve known for a while but it was recently confirmed that carrying three babies inside my body has caused some damage to my pelvic bones and spine.  Not irreparable, just painful and of course I’ll never be the same as I was when I was young and unharassed.

So in order to keep me in some semblance of working order I’ve been regularly visiting a chiropractor.  He has been working wonders on my aching joints and improvement is being made.  At the beginning I was able to make appointments while Emily was at school so that I only had to take Kaitlyn and the baby (who couldn’t really move at the time).  Now it is the school holidays and Abigail has found her legs.

The kids have a routine now.  They go into the waiting room, harass any poor hapless patient who is waiting in there until they are moved to an exam room.  Then they move on to the receptionist.  Sometimes there are no other patients waiting when we arrive.  They don’t let this minor setback ruin their day, they just move straight in on the receptionist.

When we are called in to the exam room the fun really starts.  It’s a small room with a very big bed that goes up and down with a foot control.  There are normally two chairs (thank goodness or we’d have world war three over who was going to get to sit on it). Abigail used to rip the room to shreds from about waist level down but I have fixed that problem and now bring a small stroller which she is strapped into and can’t get out of (see they didn’t get all my brain cells at birth).

The first thing the doctor does is hook me up to an electrical stimulation machine.  Basically I’m getting small electric shocks to my butt whilst laying on my stomach, unable to move.  Unable to move means unable to grab a toddler before she pulls tissues out of the rubbish bin and tries to eat them.  It also means not being able to see what made a fist fight erupt at my feet and not really being very effective when I say “if you two don’t stop that right now I will make your lives very uncomfortable”.  It seems that knowing their mother is strapped to a bed being given electric shocks to her butt makes children not really care what is coming out of her mouth.

The other problem I have is that the baby hates the chiropractor.  She’s fine going into the building, she thinks the receptionist is lovely, she’s not completely keen on the big scary bed but when the chiropractor steps through the door you would think we were in a torture chamber.   Today she thought it was ok so long as he had a towel on his head.  I’m really serious, he put a towel on his head and she shut up, just like that.  The stroller has made the visits a lot more tolerable since I now don’t have to contort myself to see what the baby is vandalizing while I’m immobilized.  The older kids have found other ways to amuse themselves.

Emily is pretty smart and likes the fact that in each exam room there is a model of a spine with all the discs and nerves attached.  She has spent a number of visits looking at these models and asking me questions about it.  “What bone is that Mum?” it’s a vertebrae “Is that yellow thing a nerve?” yes “Where are the legs?” they didn’t put the legs on this one “do you look like this on the inside?” kind of but I don’t have a hunchback (they have mostly ‘problem’ spines).  She is fascinated with these models. 

So one day she says “Mummy where does the arm connect to the spine?”  I explained that the arm doesn’t connect directly to the spine, that there were other bones in between.  She wanted to know more and I noticed that leaning against the wall was an anatomy flip chart that had pictures of all kinds of bone structures.  I pointed it out and she settled down on the floor to look at the pictures.  She found the page with a full skeleton and seemed happy to look at all the different angles and see exactly how the arm connected to the shoulder.  She flipped the page and there was a new picture showing the muscular system.  “That looks a bit like meat, I wonder what it tastes like” probably chicken I say, but we don’t eat people you know.  Next page is the nervous system, then the lymphatic system and so on.  This is a great book I’m thinking as the kids keep flipping through the pages. 

They flip the page again and what do you know its the page about male reproduction.  Oh boy, I can’t even reach the floor with my hand to flip the page over before they notice.  “What’s that?” they ask.  “Oh that’s the page about boys, perhaps we should keep going” I say.  “Oh, yes, we don’t need to see boys we’re girls” they exclaim.  Disaster averted I think.  “Hey, Emily I thought you were interested in arms, why don’t you find the page about arms?”  She thinks this is a great idea and starts flipping faster.  Its not in that direction she says and starts back the other way.  Oh no they get to ‘that’ page again. Quick, keep going, that’s it, I’m sure its coming up soon.  Finally they land on the page about arms.  This keeps them occupied for a few minutes as they count the fingers and figure out how the joints connect to each other.  I start to breathe easier.

Well arms can only entertain you for so long so they turn to the page about legs.  It’s not as exciting as the one about arms so doesn’t last long.  They keep going.  They land on the page about female reproduction.  Well at least its not boys again I think.  But then the questions get really interesting.  “What’s that?” an ovary “what does it do?” it produces eggs “what are they for?” making babies “I thought you said we came from seeds” oh dear.

Then Kaitlyn spots a different picture, with eyes wide and a little giggle she says “what’s that?” It was a fully graphic picture of ‘the area’.  I explained that this is what ladies look like.  “well, is that where poo comes out?” yes (when was that beeper going to go off and release me from this interrogation?) “well that must be where pee comes out then” not exactly “well what comes out of there?” babies “really?  Do Emily and I have that bit?” well yes, all girls do but oh, look at that it’s a kidney, isn’t that interesting? Do you know what kidneys do girls?

We moved on, there were livers and hearts and lungs to explore and eventually the beeper went off and the chiropractor came back to adjust my back.  Fortunately the girls decided not to enlist the help of the good doctor in their quest to know more about the human body.

I was pleased with myself for handling the somewhat awkward situation and am hoping their curiosity wasn’t piqued too much.  I might have to prepare some answers to the inevitable questions that will come all too soon though, best to be prepared.

I’ve already had the “did you swallow the baby?” question (when I was pregnant with Abigail – they wanted to know how she got in my tummy) a simple no was sufficient that day and no further questions arose.  Just the other day though, Emily did ask “Do boys have that special hole that babies come out of?”  No, I said, they do not.  “Why not?” Well boys don’t have babies do they?  She tipped her head to the side and said “hmm I guess not”.  She’s started to ponder and this means one of these days soon I’m going to have to explain a few things.

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