We were just hours from leaving for our vacation. All the suitcases were packed, and I was in the kitchen, cleaning out the refrigerator.
"Mom, I am SO mad at Monkey," Hedgehog stated, in her tattle-tail voice.
"Huh?" I said as I tried to decide if leaving iced tea for 10 days would be good or bad.
"She broke the magnet off the back of my necklace and swallowed it!" she pronounced, with much indignation.
I froze. "What do I do now?" I thought.
"Monkey! Monkey, get in here!" Monkey shuffled in, looking at her feet, knowing she's done wrong, trying to be contrite enough not to be punished. "Did you swallow a magnet?"
"Does your tummy hurt?"
Shakes her head no.
"Did you swallow more than one?"
"Can you breathe OK?"
"OK, everybody come in here and watch TV while I make some phone calls," I call, trying to keep fear out of my voice.
I make several rapid-fire phone calls. I leave a message for the nurse at the pediatrician's office, Grumppa tells me that Granny Bear is at work, at at Granny Bear's hospital (she's a nurse) she says to take Monkey to the doctor. The pediatrician's office calls back, they say to take her to the ER for an X-ray. I call a local clinic and they say they can do an X-ray.
"Everyone into the truck" I announce to the surprised children. On the way to the clinic, I call the Engineer, who thinks I am overreacting. "Kids used to swallow coins all the time and no one got an X-ray. She'll just poop it out". But everyone else I've talked to says we have to make sure it's not in her lungs, so we continue on.
A 45 minute wait with 4 kids late, the X-ray is taken and it is confirmed that the magnet is in Monkey's intestines. I am instructed to "inspect" her feces until the magnet is out. On vacation. Fun.
The next day, about 10 hours into our drive, the A/C in the Engineer's truck starts stinking. It smelled foul. We were driving in the mountains at that point, and see some burned place, so at first we thought it was from smoke. But the smell continues for the entire next 8 days of the trip. All six of us in the truck with a stinky A/C. Fun.
On day 6 of the trip we get to our hotel room and schlep all our stuff up to the second floor and discover the room is 80°. When I called the front desk, I was told "None of our accommodations have A/C". Fun.
From all of my griping, you may think that we didn't enjoy our trip, but really, it was a lot of, well, fun. But every trip has a few down sides, and the magnet and the $800 repair (heater core) to the truck were two really big ones!