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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Hospital Adventures Part 1

Well, as I posted in my blast Friday night, I spent the last week in the hospital with my 2 yr old daughter.

She woke up Saturday night with a fever of 103.9 and was acting like she was possibly getting an ear infection - (you moms know...the restless sleep, whimpering, etc., etc., etc.) so I kept her home from church Sunday morning as a precaution (and also because I had only been able to get her temp down to about 102, even alternating tylenol and ibuprofen every 2 hrs, and because I had only had about an hour of sleep myself) and I was planning on taking her to her pediatrician on Monday morning. She took a nap on my shoulder Sunday morning from about 7:30 am to 10:30 am and when she woke up, she was feeling WORSE. Then she turned her head and I about fell off the couch.

She had a knot the size of a ping pong ball on her neck and it was red. I had never seen anything like this before - and I had a lot of ear, nose, throat infections as a kid, but nothing had ever manifested itself in this way. To be honest, it scared me a little. (okay, it scared me a LOT). She wouldn't let me touch it and so I knew it was more than an ear infection - it was in the lymph nodes, at least that is what it looked like to me.

We immediately got dressed (I was still in my pjs) and without one whit of makeup (I had dark circles under my eyes, but who cares about that when your child is sick) , and less than an hour of sleep under my belt, off we went to the ER. It was now 11:00 am.

Note to self: In the future, avoid the ER if at all possible. Call her pediatrician at home!
Upon arriving at the ER, I had tunnel vision and only wanted to get Abs checked in so we could get her in front of the triage nurse and see what was going on. Our check in time was 11:15 am and only when I turned around from the desk to get my bearings and find a place for us to sit did I realize that we might have a long wait. I was shocked to find that there were no was standing room only. We have a fairly decent sized hospital, but the capacity of our ER and likewise waiting room leaves a little to be desired. As I stood there searching for a wall to lean up against, Abs in my arms and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, a man who I will forever be grateful to stood up and gave us his seat. To him I say this, "Sir, I don't know who you are, because I never got the chance to get your name, but my back thanks you!" ( And I am also thankful that you apparently had a mom that taught you that you were supposed to give up your seat for elders and women with children - I qualified for both, since you couldn't have been
older than 20). At any rate, thank you.

After waiting for two hours, the triage nurse called for Abby. She was weighed (28 lbs 4 oz), had her temp taken (103) and had her heart rate taken (168). Then we were sent back to the dreaded waiting room. The time was 1:35 pm. At some point, my husband came and spent his lunch break with us, and during that time, my mother-in-law (henceforth referred to as MIL for the sake of my fingers and all that typing) came to sit with us. 2:30. 3:30. Was that my stomach growling? 4:30. Pizza box goes by on its way to some fortunate staff member who gets to take a break and eat. 5:30. stomach wasn't growling sir, it was roaring...and I didn't have any was going to be a long day. Sigh.

At 5:45 pm, we were called along with a group of other people to a small triage area where the Dr. checks out noncritical and nonadmit patients to hustle them through. I was thinking, "Well, at least we'll be seen now - it usually only takes an hour or so once you get to the room." A very harried RN stepped into the room and let us know she would be with us in "just a few moments" and with that we waited. And waited. And waited. My MIL finally stepped outside to go to the bathroom because she just couldn't hold it any longer (although I think she went to her car and got some money so she could buy us each a coke and some peanuts) and when she came back and saw us still sitting in the same position, she asked, "No one has checked on you yet?" I shook my head and she sat down. At 7:00 pm she stood up and said, "I'll be right back." Now, I must tell you all that my MIL is a nurse herself, although we withheld this little bit of info from the ER staff, and she has a way of dealing with Drs and nurses whereas I do not. She quietly walked down the hall to the ER desk and told the nurse there that her granddaughter had been here for over 8 hours and was getting worse and had still not been seen. (Which, by the way, was true...Abby's fever was elevated, and the lump was now on the whole side of her neck, she wouldn't move and couldn't even make a sound to cry.) The nurse merely told her Abs wasn't her patient and pointed to the correct nurse, who happened to be male. My MIL walked over to him and with a little more passion than before, she restated the situation. He pointed to the Dr. who was outside another patient's room and said she needed to talk to him. (By now, my MIL was FURIOUS that no one would take accountability.)

Side note: Have you ever seen those old movies where Count Dracula seems to float really fast and just "appears" by his victim? The poor Dr. never saw her coming.

She grabbed him by the arm before he could enter the room and again restated the situation (along with a few choice words, ahem) and he assured her he would "be right there after this patient". At 7:27, he walked into our room and began to examine Abs. The nurse took her temp again...up to 104.2 and she was feeling icky, but unable to cry. Up to this point, time seemed to crawl - everything was surreal, almost as if we had been watching a movie of ourselves. But he snapped the bands of time and pulled us back into the present when he said "We're going to have to get her to the other side - this child needs to see a specialist!"

The time was 7:38 pm.

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