Joseph and I have now been in London for almost a week. When we flew in last Tuesday, the initial plan was to be home by now. But as we all know, plans and reality are often two entirely different beasts.
We landed Tuesday in the afternoon after two entirely uneventful flights. I read, managing to finish an entire Orson Scott Card book, and Joseph played on the iPad, slept, and watched movies. It was all very low-key. We got to our hotel without any problems, completing Joseph's day of Exciting Ways You Can Travel (a train! an airplane! a taxi!), and getting pizza for dinner that evening.
Wednesday afternoon I took Joseph in for his initial consultation, and plans started quickly diverging from reality. "Well," the doctor said after I'd finished my story, "the first thing we need to do is have a 24-hour acid study. Then probably a few blood tests. And we'll finish with a barium swallow. How's your schedule for tomorrow?"
We decided, after considering the tolerance of a four year-old of a tube down his note and into his throat for 24-hours, to have him admitted for the procedure. So the next morning Joseph and I made our way to The Portland Hospital for women and children and got him all checked in. After an hour or so, another doctor - the pediatric GI specialist we had flown here to see - came and met with me.
"I think we should change the way things are done somewhat. Instead of just doing an acid test, I'll perform an endoscopy on Joseph, then put in a wireless probe for the acid test and you and Joseph can go home this evening." That sounded like a fine idea to me. "So we'll set it up for six o'clock this evening."
The only problem was my own doctor's appointment - the endocrinologist - was scheduled for six o'clock that same evening. Some some emailing and calling to the medevac ladies - bless them forever - and my appointment was moved to next Tuesday.
With nothing to do before five o'clock, Joseph and I headed to the nearest playground. After having two options in Dushanbe, it's been amazing to have so many playgrounds to choose from in London. While at the playground, I got a call from the GI doctor's assistant. The endoscopy was scheduled for seven that evening and Joseph would be put under general anesthetic. Since it would take him some time to come out from it, the doctor thought it would be a better idea to have Joseph stay overnight in the hospital. I thought so too, imagining myself trying to get a semi-comatose four year-old from the hospital to our hotel late at night. So the hospital stay was back on.
We headed back to the hotel around five and Joseph changed into his 'nightgown' to wait for his very first general anesthetic. The anesthesiologist, who had clearly been doing this for a very long time, came and outlined the procedure before Joseph got taken down to the operating theater. After an elaborate story where the two teddy bears and the doctor couldn't figure out how to blow up their birthday balloon, Joseph very enthusiastically showed them how to do it, taking in big breaths of anesthetic and passing out in about twenty seconds.
The scoping went well and the anesthesia, combined with jet lag, gave Joseph a very restful night's sleep. He finally woke up at six the next morning, reasonably confused how he had gone from the teddy bear's birthday party to his hospital room.
We went home (home being a loose term, meaning 'the place where we usually sleep while we're in London) with a wireless receiver for Joseph's acid probe, and another round of appointments scheduled for next week.
So now we're just waiting to hear the news from all of the tests. I think eighty percent of medical things is waiting around - waiting for an appointment, waiting for test results, waiting to see what is going to be done. With the appointment schedule we currently have, the earliest we'll be getting back to Dushanbe is next Saturday morning. This is, of course, without having actually done anything about Joseph's condition. And so we're probably in for some more waiting before all of this is through.
But I suppose there are worse places to be waiting around for medical appointments and so I'm probably not going to complain. I think Brandon, who is left holding down the fort with all of my abandoned domestic responsibilities, gets to go first. Meanwhile, I'm going to get some more gelato.