February 19, 2011

Tales from the ER

It all started with Ryan.  Earlier that day I had to take her back to the pediatrician, for the second time in a week.  Ryan had been improving, but then she just went downhill a couple days later.  She was miserable, it was written all over her pretty little face.  Her pediatrician diagnosed her with bronchitis and a double ear infection.  Joy...

After we finally got home, I forbid her from going anywhere near her baby brother.  Jack was doing great and didn't show any signs of sickness.  Later that night, after all the kids were in bed, Jonas and I were hanging out in our room watching TV.  And then...over the baby monitor...we heard it.  That horrible croupy, barky, hard to catch your breath cough.  And it didn't stop.  Soon Baby Jack was awake and he couldn't stop coughing.  He wasn't sounding right and I decided to bring him to the ER.

I hurriedly got dressed, packed the diaper bag and was soon on my way to the hospital.  Jonas stayed behind with the girls.  It didn't take me too long to get to the hospital...no...I was not going the speed limit...  We were checked in fairly quickly and got into triage within minutes of arriving.

Jack was doing alright at that point.  He was no longer hysterical, but with every breath you could hear the wheezing and crud crackling.  I almost cried when the nurse mentioned whooping cough.  After the triage evaluation, we were brought to another room and given a bed.  Before I could get semi settled, a tech came to bring us to X-ray.  Jack did great during X-ray.  He even did his little shake-dance move for the X-ray techs.  Such a flirty little show-off.  

As I walked back to our room, I caught the glances of the many other parents there with their children.  I shared sympathetic smiles with them, knowing full well how hard it was to be there and worry for your child.  Back in the room, we saw another nurse, who was very nice and helpful.  He was awesome.  And another person from respiratory.  And then we had to wait for a doctor.  The room we were in was a large room with three beds, separated by curtains.  We shared the room with another sick baby having similar issues and a girl that was waiting to be transported to Children's with blood sugar problems.

Soon, the baby was discharged.  Poor thing had pneumonia.  The girl with the blood sugar issue was actually funny.  She complained of the paramedics and males nurses having cooties.  And she talked how she liked the Disney Channel shows.  She also kept asking for juice, but was denied because of the high sugar content.  I almost laughed out loud when they offered her water and she loudly shared her disdain for water.  Soon though, her ambulance arrived and she was off to Children's. 

And the room was quiet.  Jack just sat with me, smiling and playing.  He enjoyed all of the attention from the nurses.  He smiled, gabbed and played; even through his labored breathing.  The doctor arrived and said that the X-ray showed that his lungs weren't clear.  All of his other vitals were good, so he ordered a breathing treatment and steroids.  Jack responded incredibly well to the breathing treatment, although he did not enjoy having his head held still to receive it.  It was amazing how much better he sounded afterwards.  He was then given a dose of steroids and we then had to wait to see the doctor again.

And that's when things got interesting...

Suddenly, the room we were in was invaded by nurses, paramedics and a confused elderly woman with her daughter.  From what I gathered, the elderly woman suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's.  She was not cooperating with the nurses well.  After they finally got her somewhat settled, she was still so confused and complaining of being cold, even with four warmed blankets.  She was riddled with anxiety and her daughter just wanted the doctor to come.  It was sad.  

And then...

Another patient comes into the room with an entourage of nurses and others.  He rattles off a list of things he suffers from.  A few things stood out: bi-polar, ADHD and depression.  His long list of medications stood out even more.  I know at least one of them was an anti-psychotic medication.  They asked the man to empty his pockets so that everything could be kept at the nursing station.  And then they sent him to the restroom for a urine sample.    That was the first time I saw the man, he was a big guy and a little frightening, to be honest.  He looked at me for a few seconds and headed into the restroom.  There were a few other things they asked of this man, it was all protocol.  I noticed security out in the hall and overheard that they were waiting for a social worker.  I was just thinking to myself...you've got to be kidding me...there's not another room...

I was nervous and I was tired.  Baby Jack had fallen asleep.  I was just waiting to see the doctor once more and be discharged.  So I sat, held my baby boy close, I listened to the daughter next to me inquire about a doctor and try to claim her mother. I felt so sad for them, I can't imagine what those women must go through.  The other guy, the scary one, told sad stories of his life and questioned the staff of the things they required of him.  The nurse came by to check on us and apologized for the sudden craziness.  Finally, the doctor came by again and was glad to see that Baby Jack had improved so much.  He diagnosed Jack with bronchitis and wrote out a couple prescriptions.  Finally, we were discharged.

Honestly, I knew going into the ER in the middle the night was going to be interesting.  If I wasn't so worried about Jack's breathing, I would have gone straight to Children's.  Given the strangeness of how the visit ended, everything else went well.  The nurses were always there and everything was handled in a timely manner.  I don't have anything bad to say about the visit, except that the people I had to share with room with during our last hour there was a little frightening.  That's all.           

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