If you had said the words “emergency room” to me prior to the early morning of March 14, 2012, I would have envisioned the following:
-a waiting room full of people in various states of traumatic pain & at least one victim of a severe bleeding accident; possibly with a severed limb
-doctors and nurses yelling orders to each other in moments of haste “we’re losing this one!”
-screaming babies and children with panicky parents waiting for hours in the middle of the night to be seen
-+something dramatic similar to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Except, I don’t watch GA because even televised trauma makes me squeamish.
This is most certainly NOT what I envisioned:
My two sweethearts rocking gently in a quiet room.
Here’s how it started:
MG slept restlessly on the night of March 13. Every time I went in to check on her, she felt a little warm, but I didn’t think anything of it. You must know by now that she’s been teething so I wrote it off as another night for the tortuous molars. By 8am, she was unmistakeably awake and when I went in to retrieve her, noticed that she felt quite warm. 103 degree fever. Ugh. I gave her some Tyelenol (that’s been banned, remember? or has it?? I wish they would make up their minds) Advil and felt it was a good sign when she swallowed some applesauce for breakfast and played quietly with her toys.
Poor thing became less and less herself as the day wore on. I finally phoned the doctor while she took a morning nap. “Try to keep her comfortable and hydrated”. She had been drinking fine, so I kept an eye on her. We continued the meds, but her fever never dropped below 101.
She didn’t want to be put down the rest of the day. My back was starting to kill me. When Daddy came home, he scooped her up and rocked her to sleep for an afternoon nap.
The night progressed slowly with our poor, lethargic sicky. There was another frantic call to the doc when she began to turn blue and started shaking uncontrollably. This was followed by another spike in fever. We watched her closely and were worried to put her to bed, but the doctor said that was exactly what she needed to fight this: rest.
I was finally ready to crawl into bed around 11pm after checking her like 15579815380 times, but the last time I checked on her, I just had a funny feeling. Call it Mother’s intuition. She was breathing hard and heavy, almost as if she’d been working out. The doctor received another call and when I held the phone up to MG’s airway, she said, “It’s time to take her in.” In fifteen seconds, she’d inhaled 15 times.
I woke up my tired sleepers and we piled in the car. Fortunately, the closest ER is like a second from our house…but to say I was apprehensive was an understatement.
Halfway to the entrance, Daddy says, “Oh, I left something in the car, you go on ahead and take her inside.” What, and wait in line behind the screaming gunshot victim? No thanks.
But lo and behold: inside it was quiet. And calm. There were ZERO patients in the waiting room…or lack thereof. The Ice Queen receptionist DID nearly throw me off my already weak game, but Sugar Daddy-I-can-charm-anyone-into-a-smile melted her cool heart quickly. The nurses oohed and aahed over our pitiful baby as they weighed her and poked and prodded her with about every instrument imaginable. She really only cried when they swabbed her throat-via-her-nose for the RSV test. The rest of the time, she spent taking turns between Mama’s, no Daddy’s, no Mama’s laps. She just couldn’t get comfortable and she would reach out with both arms to the empty-lapped parent, “will you try it for awhile??”.
Next up was a trip to the torture chamber AKA chest x-ray. She only hollered a little and Daddy stayed right by her side the whole time.
I, in the meantime, stayed on high-alert for drama. At some point, there was a crazy nurse commotion in the hallway,
Nurse: “Sir, SIR, you can’t walk around without shoes.”
Shoeless Man: “Uhh…I can’t??”
Nurse: “You cannot be barefoot.”
Shoeless Man: “But I left my shoes at home.”
Shoeless Man: “Do you have some slippers I can borrow?”
Suffice it say, I was glad we missed the entrance with whomever cause Shoeless Man to walk out of his house, drive (illegally), span the asphalt, and pace the tiled hallways sans footwear. Must have been pretty traumatic.
Finally, after about an hour’s wait, a dozing Daddy, and an exhausted little family, they confirmed she had strep + an upper respiratory infection. One Rx for amoxicillan later and we were being discharged.
I have to say, my first experience at the ER was quite the learning experience. Calm and drama-free (minus Shoeless Man, of course)? Quick and easy? It almost makes me think I could do this again someday. Almost. Maybe even by myself…if I had to.
The only thing I’ll do differently next time is just remember to throw an extra pair of slippers in my bag. Afterall, you just never know what you’re going to see there.