Monday, March 23, 2015

Our Very First ER Visit

I think it is pretty impressive that we were able to go over seven years without ever having to visit the ER.

That streak of good fortune ended last night.

But let me backtrack:

On Thursday, March 19, I went on a trip while Jonathan stayed home with the kiddos.   Shortly aftger picking Christian up from school that day, Christian started to feel lousy and went downhill from there. 

I noticed that the mom of one his classmates posted that her son had strep throat. When Christian was still sick on Friday, Jonathan took Christian to the doctor to get tested for strep, and sure enough ... he had strep.  He got an antibiotic shot, and we expected he'd start to feel better very quickly.

But he did not.   Christian was tired and lethargic and wasn't eating and was barely drinking. He was also throwing up and unable to keep anything down.  Jonathan kept me continuously updated and it was clear that there was something other than strep going on.

I arrived home Sunday afternoon and Christian barely looked up at me, and then returned to staring at the couch he was laying on. 

By Monday, 3/23, it was clear Christian needed to see the doctor as he had not eaten anything since Thursday.  At our local doc office, his own pediatrician was booked and no other docs could see us.  So we were sent to another doctor at an office that was quite a drive for a 6:20pm appointment.  Christian had lost almost 5 pounds from his well-child exam the week before.  They tested his urine and concluded he was severely dehydrated and needed IV fluids ASAP.  We were told to get him to a pediatric ER.  The doc said the ER should be fine on an early Monday night in March, so all four of us headed to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Imagine our surprise to arrive at the ER to find it FULL of people.   My heart sank. I knew this wasn't going to be a quick visit.   We arrived at 7:30pm ... and time passed very, very, very slowly.

I was highly annoyed to see non-emergency cases taken up space and hospital staff's time.  Like the kiddo in front of me who had been kicked in the eye at school earlier that day.   Or the kiddo behind me whose mother proclaimed the little girl had chicken pox.  The intake nurse looked and said, "She doesn't have chicken pox ... she has a rash."   I struck up a conversation with the lady and she said that her sister, who has six kids, said it was chicken pox.  And that her neighbor who has five kids said it was chicken pox.     She lifted the little girl's shirt and I said, "She does not have chicken pox.  If she did, it would be all over her body and itching like crazy."    I went on to tell her that PCH has urgent care offices she can visit for this kind of thing and it will cost her way less money.  She replied that it was okay since she had Medicaid and didn't have to pay no matter where they went.


I looked around wondering just how many of the (too many) people in the ER were actually there for an "emergency medical need."  

I looked up one of PCH's urgent care centers, and saw they only had a 15 minute wait time.  When Christian was seen briefly to get his vitals, I asked the nurse if one of their Urgent Care places could do the IV fluids.  She said yes and I thought we would be spared the ER nightmare.  I called the urgent care right away and learned they do NOT do IVs there.   So, we were back to ER madness.

For her part, Scarlett was doing remarkably well ...but as time passed, I knew she'd start getting antsy and tired of being there.   Poor Christian did not want to be there but was too sick and exhausted to put up much of a fight about it.   He just sat there, moving in and out of sleep.

Jonathan started looking up options for getting Scarlett and me home, because it was clear we were all going to be there for hours.   He considered a taxi for him and Christian later, looked up nearby hotels, etc.  Fortunately, my friend who lives around the corner offered to come get us.   And by 10:30, she arrived and shortly thereafter, Scarlett and I were home.

It took forever for Christian to be placed in a room - it was about 12:30am (remember, we arrived at 7:30am - so it took 5 hours to get him into a room).   And as we knew would happen, the IV insertion didn't go well.   Christian screamed bloody murder and they had to call in a very large "gentle giant" nurse to help hold Christian down.

But he eventually settled down and the IV started doing its thing.   When it was done, and Christian was given a drink of Gatorade, Jonathan said he was immediately back to his normal self!  The immediate transformation was surprising and impressive!!

Jonathan and Christian arrived home around 3:30am.    It is now 11:00am, and he is still asleep.   Scarlett came to wake me at about 7:00am and said, "Mommy!  Christian is home ... come look!!"   She was worried about her big brother - it was so touching!