Oliver, the X-men Wannabe

[Baby Watch: Day 190]

After receiving loving criticism from friends and family about the lack of blogs in the past month, I have decided to share 6 stories in (approximately) 6 days to celebrate Baby Oliver’s 6 month birthday.

Story #5

Oliver, the X-men Wannabe

A few months ago we had an emergency visit to the hospital because Baby Oliver had some blood in his pee.  After many hours of poking and prodding (which you can read about here) the doctors said they couldn’t find anything wrong. But, they said we should schedule a follow-up appointment with a urologist, who could potentially tell us more. And OHHHHHHHH did he ever.

First, let’s set the stage by looking at the face of a child who knows he’s in a hospital, knows that hospitals smell like sadness, and knows he’s about to get some straight up weird news. Well, that, or maybe he’s just trying to poo. (It should be noted, he gets this look from his mother who gives the exact same expression when you ask her simple math questions.)

Of course, I can also admit to sharing this confused expression while filling out the abundance of forms that were required for what we thought was going to be a simple follow-up appointment. We were sitting right in front of the nurse’s station filling out these forms, so I didn’t want to make it too obvious that I was taking pictures, but I did get this one, which gives you a sample of the kind of questions they were investigating.

Is the average adult supposed to know what “shunt” is?!? Did I miss Shunt Day in health class? Has anyone ever heard of a shunt doctor? “Honey, I’m not feeling so well. I think I should go have my shunt checked.” “I’m sorry to hear that sweetie, especially since you just got over that terrible case of ‘constitutional fever.’” I mean, what exactly constitutes “constitutional fever/chills?” Did our founding fathers regularly experience these? “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union . . . wait did someone leave a window open? Ben, will you stop flying your kite and close the damn window?!” (Thus ends the historical humor portion of your program.) And WHY IS THERE A SECTION FOR EYE PROBLEMS?!? WE ARE AT THE PENIS DOCTOR!!!! (Insert “one-eyed snake” joke here.) This form should have one question. 1.) How’s the penis doing? Bad? Okay, wait your turn cause everyone else is in the same boat. Try not to make eye contact.

Mind you, this went on for 4 pages. No, my son is not currently suffering from scarlet fever. If he was, we would be in the emergency room and not a urology office. No, he did not recently visit any third world countries. We are working on taking trips to Ohio before we tackle the short jaunt to Sub-Saharan Africa. And no he does not have typhus, cholera, or any of the other diseases that I only know about because of The Oregon Trail computer game from my youth.

When we eventually saw Dr. Urine (name changed to protect the innocent) we were told that the tests run on Oliver had mostly normal results, but they did make a surprising discovery. Oliver has a “Duplicated Kidney” (also called a “duplex kidney”). The doctor made the effort to say several times how normal it is and how millions of people have them and that it’s no big deal. I then asked specifics, expecting him to say that 1 out of every 20 people has a duplicated kidney or something like that. Instead he said the numbers are more like 1 out of every 500 or 1,000 people.

My son is a mutant. We’ve begun fielding offers from Professor Charles Xavier’s School for  Gifted Youngsters.

The way the doctor explained it . . . one of Oliver’s kidneys has two compartments. Doc Urine referred to them as an upstairs apartment and a downstairs apartment which means I’m now charging Oliver double the rent. He threw a bunch of fancy medical terms at us (unfortunately, “shunt” was not one of them), which left us both with Kristen’s patented “math face.” He said he’d draw it for us, which of course I took a picture of (sorry it’s so hard to see – I have since fired my lighting director). I marked the duplicated kidney with the arrow (obviously):

What I took away from this masterpiece is that A.) Oliver’s kidneys are the blueprints for a really complicated water slide and B.) Duplicated kidneys look kind of like butts. He said there aren’t any major medical concerns, but there is an increased chance for urinary tract infections. We now have Oliver on a strict cranberry juice diet (not true), and we’re going to take him in every 18 months for an ultrasound check-up which means I will be stealing a root beer flavored lollipop from the nurse’s desk every year and a half for the foreseeable future (true).

In the end, we left with the knowledge that Oliver will have his mutant X-men kidney for the rest of his life, but at least we know about it, which (in my opinion) is better than not knowing. Now that we know, we will be UTI ninjas (I just gave away my Halloween costume), which will allow us to recognize the symptoms at the first sign of potential flare ups. Interestingly, the doctor said most people go their whole lives without ever knowing that they have a duplicated kidney. So think about that the next time you’re making fun of strangers’ kidneys.

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