What I Learned from the ER
Last month was a doozy. It all started when my son, Russ (22 months), seemed to be coming down with something. My husband, unlike most men, is quick to go to the doctor. So when Russ started to seem off, he suggested I take him in immediately. Not wanting to disturb my exhausted child’s nap I chose to let him sleep.
Later that evening, he seemed to be breathing quickly but had no other symptoms. Again, my husband told me to take him to the doctor, but it was getting so close to bed time and I wanted him to sleep. We tucked him in, yet checked on him every 10 minutes. By 10:30 pm, I was a wreck and thought there was no way I could sleep since he was still breathing strangely. He had also developed a low-grade fever. I decided to call the Medical City ER for advice. The woman on the phone informed me that she was not allowed to give medical advice but if we came quickly, there may not be a wait. So we grabbed the baby, a blanket, and an i-pad and headed to the ER. And boy am I glad we did.
Russ spiked a 104.5 fever, an x-ray showed pneumonia (second x-ray changed the diagnosis to bronchitis), and we checked into our hospital room for the next 2 nights. It was not a fun experience but I sure learned a lot.
Lessons from the ER:
Treat the Fever- I discovered Russ had a low-grade fever right before we headed to the hospital. When the nurse asked if I had given him anything I said “no” since we were headed directly to the ER. She told me “Treat the fever. If the fever breaks, great, and we will believe you when you said he had one. Fevers can rise quickly and the safest bet is to tackle it right away.”
Toy Donation- The nurse brought Russ a toy dog that brought a smile to all of our faces. Apparently a sweet older couple donates toys to the Children’s ER every year. Note to self: Donate toys to hospitals. It makes a difference.
Pack Like you are Staying a Night- We were not expecting to stay the night, so the first night was a little uncomfortable. If you are headed to the ER, I suggest you go ahead and pack a small “just in case” bag filled with the following items: something comfortable to sleep in, lounge clothing for the next day, an extra pair of underwear, hair brush, and a few toys/books for your child. Medical City provided a toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo for the parents. (Since we weren’t prepared, my husband brought some things from home the next morning. You would have thought my sweatpants, granny panties and pony tail holder were made of gold.)
Double Check the Hospital Buttons with a Nurse- Make sure you can locate the buttons and test them before you need them. Apparently our room had been recently updated with newer technology and I was pressing the older buttons trying to call the nurse (at 3 am.)
See if There is a Child-Life Specialist- Our favorite person introduced herself on the second day of our visit. The Child-Life Specialist’s job is to make your child’s stay better. She brought a play mat, trains and cars that stayed with Russ all weekend. If you don’t travel with a carload of toys and books, ask if they keep items on hand.
Sometimes Husbands are Right- I learned my lesson. I should have taken my child to the doctor.