ER Musings

ihand NOT the tv show…

(Note: For the 2 or 3 who valiantly kept checking in to see what was new, I apologize for the long absence…and I thank you for your persistence.  The last couple of months have been ones that I hope to never have to repeat.)

I have spent more time then I have ever cared to sitting in one Emergency Room or another.  More then once I have sat being the impatient patient or parent waiting for hours or what seemed like hours to be attended to.  The only time I became really angry at the ineptedness of an ER was shortly after we moved here.  KnightJester was about 4 years old.  He had tripped on a curb and smacked his head pretty hard.  I watched him close for signs of trouble and  ended up taking him into the ER later that night when he started throwing up.  Not being familiar with the area…and not really having sitter for my other kidlets…we took everyone in to the ER we knew about.  Keep in mind my child is 4 years old and is showing some signs of head trauma…all they told us was to sit and keep him awake until his turn.  Okkaayy…how do you keep a cranky sleepy 4 year old awake 4 hours past his bedtime…on a day he didn’t get any rest?  Also keep in mind that I was several months pregnant in a difficult pregnancy…sitting there…and sitting there…and sitting there.  For 6 HOURS!!!  When I told them I was taking him to a different place they took us back to a “room”…and we sat for another HOUR!!!  When I packed him up to leave again they rushed him back to sit for another HOUR on a gurney waiting for a CT Scan!  I really should have just left earlier.  What made it worse was that the scan did show he had a concussion…mild of course…and thankfully…but what if it was worse?!?!  Come to find out later the ER we went to catered to the elderly…and they should have sent us to a “sister” ER that dealt with children.  That’s what made me madder then ever.  Why treat patients like that…especially children?

As I mentioned above, the lst couple of months have been anything but fun.  More then 1 kind of mishap, crisis, or emergency of a medical nature has graced our lives these last few weeks.  I fervently pray that we can have a little break from these kinds of adventures for a while.  One scary emergency had us sitting in the ER with LittleMiss.  Thankfully she has a wonderful pediatrician who remained calm in her diagnosis but felt it necessary to cover all the bases with someone so tiny.  LittleMiss was having episodes of extreme tummy pain that escelated into a pretty high fever for her little 14 month old body.  I’m also thankful that her pediatrician sent us to the pediatric ER in the area…that alone was a comfort for this ER veteran.  I’m also grateful for GadgetMan’s boss who is willing to let him leave work in cases like this…and for friends who willingly and graciously stepped forward to look after my other kidlets.

This time sitting in the ER was completely different from the “concussion incident”.  We still sat a long time…and I was pregnant with a hard early pregnancy.  But this time LittleMiss was called back almost immediately…her vitals taken…meds given…then sent back out where she could watch a movie if she wanted.  Then x-rays were taken…an ultrasound done…and several other tests…an IV put in for fluids and emergency meds if the worst happened.  Each thing was followed by more time sitting in the waiting room…but it was okay.  The nurse kept apologizing for the waits…and one of the docs (a sweet older gentleman that knows what “bedside manners” really means) explained that  in cases like hers it’s more of a waiting game then anything.  If the worst came about she was prepped for emergency surgery…but in the meantime we just watch and wait doing the best to keep her comfortable and happy.  That meant a lot to me…explanations are always helpful and reassuring.

While sitting in the ER, feeling calmer and more patient then I have in the past…maybe age does have benefits after all 🙂 …I was able to watch and observe several other parents and their children.  A couple you could tell exactly why they were in the ER…and why they’d probably be back in a week or so.  Some were new frazzled parents trying to cope with a young child’s growing up mishaps and  inevitables…been there-done that.  A couple were older teenagers in with a sports injuries or other accidents.  There were several there with various levels of “flu” and parents full of fear over the H1N1 worry.

I found myself getting a bit frustrated with other parents.  Not because they were being impatient at the doctors and nurses for what they felt was slow service.  I’ve been there.  I know exactly how hard it is to not think that your sick child should be rushed to the front of the line.  When your little one is suffering, it’s hard to keep the “Mamma Bear” from wreaking havoc all over everyone.  No…what got me shaking my head and groaning inside…and even close to biting someone’s head off…was parenting decisions.  One young mother was tormented by the selfish cold behavior of her ex.  Apparently their break up was less then happy…though their marriage was worse.  I guess they were still going through the whole legal process…and she had restraining orders.  While there in the ER with a very sick (cute as a button) little girl, he came and took her car.  It was so sad to see the torment this tired mother was going through.  I can understand that behavior towards his ex…but he had no thought for his little girl.  How sad is that?

Another set of parents had me wanting to thump them both upside the head.  Their little boy was there because he’d jumped on a fish tank until it broke.  I’m sure you can imagine what happened to his little leg.  They were required to wait in the waiting room (his little leg bandaged) for various testing and xrays.  They had 2 other boys…and you could definitely tell why that little boy was there.  In a couple short hours they’d each been given (because they demanded it) 3 ice cream treats, moved, knocked over or jumped on every chair and table in the room, used 3/4 of the emergency throw-up bags for various and often gross use, and called their parents every vulgar violent name in the book.  These boys weren’t over 5 years old!  I know it probably doesn’t sound like it from this post, but I do try to not judge other’s parenting styles.  In this case though, I really regretted being a chicken at heart.  I so wanted to say something…though I’m not sure if I would have been patient enough to be kind.

I’m not sure if that was the worst though.  How do you tell other parents to keep their children to themselves?  You know…the ones that let their sick, booger dripping, hacking little angels touch every other child and baby in the room.  After DoubleD, I’ve become pretty adept at fending off the touchers, but I was really struggling to be patient that night at the ER.   I think it’s irresponsible to let your child do that in any circumstance…and doubly so in an Emergency Room!  It was hard enough trying to comfort my baby through the whole ordeal of her sickness…trying not to worry about the worst and second worst and even the third worst possibilities.  I didn’t need to worry about a secondary illness from someone else’s negligence.

I guess this turned into more of a rant then some quiet musings, didn’t it?  I’m not sure I really learned anything that night.  Except maybe seeing how blessed I am.  That I have a caring husband who loves his children more then himself…that my children are caring thoughtful individuals who don’t need to be disrespectful…that when needed God does put “Angels” in your path…and He does send extra patience and perhaps a little clearer eye-sight.  I suppose if I were to revisit the above situation with God’s eyes, I’d have seen curious little children with hearts so full of innocence, wonder and love wanting to say hi to kindred spirits in my own child.  I’d have seen a couple of tired, overwhelmed parents whose boys had grown out of hand but whose love for them was as great as my own…and as great as the Lords.  And perhaps I’d have had the courage to wrap my arms around the single distraught mother and let her know that her little girl was worth it and someone cared.

Perhaps this is the lesson the Lord was trying to show me all along.  That despite my own trials and pains, I should always be aware of another’s…and learn to see through His eyes.

LittleMiss had a rough couple of days after the ER…but our worst fears never materialized.  She had a nasty bacterial infection and was given the proper meds for it…and is doing fine now.

I’m greatful for Angels and Blessings.




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