Dan Bain

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Gas Control

Posted by danbain on October 17, 2010 at 7:49 PM Comments comments (0)

Our kindergartener woke up early Friday morning with a tummyache, so we let him climb into bed with us.  He tossed and turned and kept us as awake as possible, but never threw up and seemed okay to go to school Friday.  Obviously worn out, he went to bed early that night, then woke up again in the middle of the night.  This time, he was crying from the pain -- something disconcerting to behlod.  We let him get in bed with us again, but this time, he didn't sleep.  He cried all night.  By Saturday morning, we were wiped out, but we were also worried.  We called his pediatrician, who told us to bring him in.


The official diagnosis was irritation of the stomach lining, which causes pain but no vomiting, and possibly gas.  The doctor told us to give him Tylenol and Mylicon, so amidst the other Saturday morning chores, we dragged both boys to Kerr Drugs to look for kids' medicines.  The nine-year-old, meanwhile, has shown patience and compassion far beyond his years.  He dealt with his boredom by reading whatever was available.


Sometimes, this habit is a problem -- at the breakfast table on a school morning, for example.  We have to remember to put the cereal box away after pouring out their rations, lest he lose focus on eating and winds up lost in the intricate plot lines of the nutrition information.  Sometimes, we don't even notice what he's reading until it's too late....


We found the aisle with stomach remedies, but they were out of Mylicon.  Now we had to determine a suitable replacement, trying as hard as we could to determine Mylicon's ingredients without having a box available to tell us.  (Turns out, it's simethicone.)  While we were debating the possible substitutions, the five-year-old started in with his demands for a toy as a reward for being a big boy at the doctor's office.  His older brother, meanwhile, had gone silent.


I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, reading the boxes of the products on the other side of the anti-gas aisle.  It took me a few seconds before I realized they were condoms.  My head whipped around and there was my fourth-grade bookworm, kneeling in front of a full display of birth control.  He was holding a giant box of Lifestyle condoms -- I believe it was a 36-pack in a variety of textures, colors and other configurations -- and was intently studying the side panel.  He didn't look nearly as confused as he should have been.


Without taking my eyes off him, I reached out toward my wife, who was still arguing with a husband who was no longer engaged in that particular conversation.  I found her beltloop and gave it a good yank, inspiring her to turn to me, follow my gaze and turn beet red before taking charge of the situation, as I'd hoped she would.  She called his name and when he looked up, tried to sound casual as she told him to put down whatever he was looking at and to please come over and let us know if the products we were looking at sounded familiar to what the doctor had prescribed.  Fortunately, he was happy to help.


Once he was distracted, I risked a discreet look at the gigantic box of Lifestyles in order to arm myself against the questions I was sure he would be asking later.  I dropped it after I saw the word "rectal."  But luck was with me, and he never asked.  We distracted him with a trip to Krispy Kreme for Halloween donuts, his little brothers' tummy troubles notwithstanding.


As we drove away, I had to chuckle -- not just over the image of him contently reading about a product that I hope is many years ahead of him, but over the fact that Kerr keeps their birth control with their stomach medications.  Maybe it's supposed to be the "too embarrassed to buy" aisle, but that's not very convenient to shoppers.  Usually it's good to have at least one non-embarrassing product nearby, so a shopper can always avoid getting busted by pretending to looki at, say, ankle braces instead of spermicidal lubricant.


Then again, there's a twisted sort of logic to keeping the gas medicine near the condoms.  I can remember a night or two when it was clear I'd have to use one before there'd be any chance of using the other....