After Porter was diagnosed with one of the Pervasive Developmental Delays (not specified) we were on the hunt to find the cause of his seizures and determine if something besides the vaccine caused them. The assessments and scans were needed for our Vaccine Injury Claim and we did them for years. In fact, they became our life.
From A Bad Reaction
The metabolic screen seems simple enough and I go to the lab to get the materials.
I see another woman named Krissy there that I met at the intensive care unit in the parents’ lounge sitting under the cross. We ate Chinese takeout together and walked to the hospital pharmacy to pick up our drugs. Her son also had a brain injury when he was hit by a car while riding his bike. He awoke a day later but couldn’t remember his name. She was worried that he would miss three weeks of classes. I wonder if he is back to normal.
I spot her in the lab, waiting for her child’s turn, and I am unable to talk. Then we’re hugging and we can’t stop talking. There is a relief in speaking with someone else who has experienced this, like coming up for air after being too long underwater. I’ve only met her once, but it feels safe to let down my guard with her since she understands what this is like. It’s the same story we always tell: we were in the hospital and it was bad, now we’re out and things are good. We stand like that, still half-hugging and blocking the line for the welcome desk until we leave.
The lab tech calls us in to meet with him and hands me a plastic baggie. He is wearing a T-shirt with a slouching monkey on it and a saying that reads, “Is it Friday yet?” I’m slouching down, exhausted. I take the baggie and put it in my purse.
“Real easy,” he says. “You just tape this bag over his penis and wait for him to go. Then you pour the urine in this glass vial and freeze it immediately. Don’t let it defrost! Or we start over.”
His voice is stern, but his eyes are soft and I want to reassure him that I’m on top of things.
“It sounds like we’re handling nuclear weapons,” I joke. He doesn’t get it.
“Don’t worry, it’s not that toxic,” he says and pats my shoulder. I can tell he is worried about me. I get that a lot.
He waits for me to respond but I don’t, so he repeats himself,
“Real easy.” It sounds real easy to me, too.
The minute we’re home I start the process and strip off Porter’s diaper to attach the bag. I tape it on and Porter pulls it off. He hands it to me.
I call Tyler. “Pin down his arms.” Tyler holds his arms down but he wriggles free and pulls off the tape. The bag falls under the couch. The dog comes over and grabs it and I pull it out of her mouth.
“I don’t think he wants to do this, Mom,” Tyler says to me.
“He has to wear it. Pin him down again.”
This time Tyler pulls his arms over his head and sits on them. Porter screams. I tape on the bag and close his diaper. This works for two minutes until Porter pulls off his diaper. The baggie is dangling between his legs.
“I guess he doesn’t want a bag taped to his penis, Mom.”
“It’s taped around his penis,” I tell her and she holds his arms again.
“No!” says Porter, sitting under Tyler.
“Sorry Porter, for some reason Mom wants to tape something to your privates.”
I shut the diaper tighter and three hours later we have our sample. I take it into the kitchen, pack it up like the lab tech instructed, and freeze it.
Later that day I pack the sample in a bag of ice before we head out to the doctor’s office. I look outside the dining room window. It is ninety degrees and humid.
I am paranoid the ice will melt. I load the kids into the minivan to drive to the neurologist. I run a red light and somebody honks and I drive even faster since we can’t do this over. I have one hand on the steering wheel and one on the sample between my legs, nestled in a bag of ice that is turning to water. We park, get out of the car, and Tyler stops with her hands on her hips.
“You’re not in the white lines,” she points out to me.
“I know Tyler, we need to hurry.”
“You ran a red light. Are you going to get arrested?” she asks.
I get to the elevator and the bag is sloshy and the bag has leaked and stained my crotch. A family steps on and smiles, then looks at my pants. “It’s a urine sample,” I say, and they stare without smiling, which strikes me as rude.
“The police are arresting my mother,” Tyler says and the family steps back.
Porter flaps. I scoop him up and we run down the hall.
The nurses’ station is backed up and I’m antsy, holding the bag of water up over everyone’s head. “We’re losing it!” I say loudly.
“We’re all losing it,” says the father in front of me, holding his helmeted baby. The clinic is filled with helmets and people who’ve lost it and Porter is grabbing coffee cups and throwing them at a girl in a wheelchair. The girl picks one up and throws it back and Porter plays catch while I butt in the line.
“Urine is everywhere,” I say loudly and this does the trick. A woman in back sees the vial and slips around the counter to grab it.
We jog it down the hall to a room in the back stacked with tiny trays. We are in a windowless room with a tiny refrigerator, like the kind in dorm rooms. She slips the vial into the holder, shoves it to the back of the freezer, and hands me a towel for my pants. We’ll hear back in two weeks.