My mother-in-law Linda is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. In fact calling her mother-in-law is not really accurate. Movies and sit-coms have put a decidedly negative spin on the term so using it to describe her does no justice to the great relationship we have. Tracy has that same relationship with my parents. According to some we are odd in that regard. I say all of that knowing full well the potential charges of brown nosing and shameless point scoring that will be hurled my way. I’m a truth teller, and yes it’s a curse.
I mention Linda only because she rarely if ever has seen me at my worst. Yeah, I know some of you are no doubt thinking, “how could that be possible” or “I didn’t know Linda was blind” or “that strains all laws of mathematical probability”. Again, nicest person walking the planet, so she’ll probably say I don’t have a worst. However on this particular 19th of May, Year of Our Lord 2009, she had a front row seat to a pretty bad scene that occurred during one of the greatest moments of Tracy’s, mine and her life. Of course 19 May 2009 was the day Frank was born. Linda drove through the night to get there before the little charmer burst into the world, which put her directly between me and the little old women sent in to administer Frank’s state mandated hearing test. He had been breathing the free air for less than 24 hours.
I have some friends in the local medical establishment so I will attempt to tread lightly and get the facts as straight as possible. In Tennessee every child must receive a hearing test before being discharged after being born or at least before their first month of life outside the womb. Here is the site for you fact checkers, Hearing Test. Now when you go to the web site you see pictures of angelic little babies laying on their side sound asleep as a technician gives the little sprout the test. It just looks so serene. As with all things newborn, it doesn’t always work that way.
Frank’s entry into the world was slightly dramatic. We had to stop mid delivery as it appeared he was choking. His oxygen level fell off the table every time Tracy pushed. Turns out the cord was under his arm, wrapped around his wrist and looped around his neck. He had instinctively put his hand between the cord and his neck. So says the surgeon who got him out. He still has the scars on his arm from the fight he put up. So we all hustled down to the operating room to bust him out through the sun roof. It wasn’t like keystone cops but we moved with a purpose. I now know why God let women carry the babies. Ain’t no man in the known universe could handle what I witnessed in that room. Some things you just can’t un-see. In the end it took them about 2 minutes to get Frank to breathe once they got him out and he was fine.
Needless to say Frank was a little tuckered when the Hearing Test Lady, here to for known as HTL, came in a scant 16 or 18 hours after his first epic life struggle. I explained this to her, all the while getting my mind around a state mandated hearing test for a 16 hour old baby. By Tea-party standards I was with-in my rights to bludgeon her for the sole fact she works for the man. Unimpressed, she looked through me and dealt with Tracy and Linda. Strike one for the hearing test lady. She took Frank from Tracy, laid him on a rolling table and proceeded to put him by the window. The sun was right on him and he was not happy. Plus we found out he was also sitting on his very first steamer or poo poo for the unsophisticated amongst us. The HTL was clearly getting agitated and was not in the best of moods whilst handling my first born. Strike two. HTL is behind in the count.
She explained Frank needed to lay still for the test because it could trigger a false fail. Fail, this freaking test is pass/fail? He’s 16 hours old. I couldn’t help myself. Me: What happens if he fails? HTL: Well I’ll have to report him to the state. She says this with the tone that implies even highly function sea creatures know the answer to that question. Steeeerike Three. Me: Report him!?!?! He’s not a day old lady, what do you mean report him!!!! HTL: If he doesn’t pass my test then he’ll have to be reported and go to an audiologist for state mandated intervention. Oh all of a sudden now it’s her test. A box of Tricorn hats to the first tea-party member that slays this women before my eyes! Oh yeah, I’m spooling up now.
So not only is he reported now there is an intervention. Hey hearing test lady, he didn’t fail the test because he was sloppy on Ripple, or Boone’s Farm for you southerners. Now, she misrepresented the intervention part a little bit. Frank would have been given all the care necessary had he come up with hearing issues. Phrasing is everything. But I think at that point she was jerking my chain some what. I was still smoking though. I mean it took me till the first grade to get reported. How in the world is my son getting reported already. Somebody is going out the window quick, fast and in a hurry.
I knew on some sub-conscious level that Linda was still in the room, which is probably why I didn’t break out the profanity. But I knew for sure she was there when she sort of moved into a position between me and the HTL. At that point the test was not working at all. Frank was crying and still hot from being in the sun. I’m not sure who suggested it, either Tracy or Linda, but someone said it might be a good idea to try the test the next morning while Frank might still be asleep.
This served two purposes: It gave Frank a chance to pass the stupid thing and it kept me out of the room as I was spending the night at home dealing with Pumpkin Cat. He was still kicking at the rip age of 21. Well the HTL came back in the morning and Frank passed with flying colors. He took the test sleeping in his mothers arms. We should all be so lucky. Actually it’s the HTL who was lucky; lucky the nicest person on the planet was in the room.