Wednesday, March 4, 2009

getting my hate on for hospital emergency rooms

i hate Hospital Emergency Rooms.

Hate.

But, sometimes there comes a time in every mother's life where she has to buckle down and say "Y'know, this is not about me" and that time was last night. Chewie had been working on the same fever for over 2 days and i was getting concerned that he might be getting a tad dehydrated, and he was listless and not eating...and we could get the fever down with T ylen0l but as soon as it wore off his temperature would rise again. So, we packed him up and trekked him to the horsepiddle.

i really hate Emergency Rooms. Have i mentioned that? i have? hm.

Sitting in the ER, the Worry and Nerves were palpable, like a mist in the air and you couldn't help but walk through it. That shit gets in your hair and in your pores, on your clothes. As a person with an ALREADY over reactive stomach of nerves, it didn't take long before my insides were doing flip flops and spectacular high dives off an Olympic Standard Diving Board.

Not only that, but you can't help but sit and judge the state of every one's emergencies. Twisted ankles, heart attacks, stomach pain (guilty of that one just 2 short months ago)... and it's hard not to feel every one else's eyes on you thinking that your emergency couldn't be worse than theirs.

The thing with a sick infant, though, is that you tend to jump up the line. As we were waiting for the triage nurse to check Chewie's temperature, another family came in with a boy about 18 months who also had a fever. As the triage nurse said when she eventually did check Chewie's temp - after checking the other little boy (grrrrr, we were there first yadda yadda yadda) "It's the battle of the sick babies". Seriously? Then, as the thermometer beeped she said; "Okay, he wins" and we went from the waiting room, to the littler waiting room.

Inside the gates of ER we were greeted with a stench, like somebody shit their pants, and likely someone had. I don't think it's very easy to get rid of that smell. Maybe they could have attempted though, for our benefit, to spray a little Febreeze or light a match or something.

We were taken to the same watiting room that i was in the last time for my gallstones. weird huh?

After being assessed by a student with an awesome Taurus Tattoo on his left wrist, we waited, trying to keep Chewie awake for the doctor. He showed up eventually, a man in his sixties with his shirt unbuttoned, tie still tied tight, wearing jeans and dress shoes. He gave our son the once over and calmed our fears by telling us that it was nothing serious, but we were right to come in for an assessment after such a long fever.

We do have a Health Line that we can call in this province, and we did call there. After giving the nurse on the line our info, she terrified me by saying that she was trying to decide whether or not we should drive Chewie to the hospital or whether she should send an ambulance. It's so hard to tell over the phone, and they almost ALWAYS just tell you to go to the hospital.

We told this to the doctor, who reminded me of Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnati, and he hearkened back to the days of Family Doctors, house calls, and Docs on Call. His opinion was that had there still been Docs on Call we mightn't have been sent in to the ER. Given the circumstances, a baby with a fever for a prolonged period of time could be a number of things, meningitis, or ear infections, or kidney problems. This particular time, the doc chalked it up to teething with a possible virus on top of that. With his immune system lowered from the teething it would be easy for him to catch a bug... and with him being 8 months, and a preemie at that, better to be safe than sorry.

I really hate Hospital Emergency Rooms. I hate the wait, i hate the stress, the worry, the wait, the eyes of other patients, the wait, the smell, the wait.... i really really hate them. but i'm glad we went in, because i knew i wouldn't be sleeping...i couldn't relax until i knew that he was going to be okay. I mean, what if he DID have something serious, and we waited and he got really sick?

My younger brother, Patrick, got really sick when he was a few months old, he had one of those seizures brought on by fever - and my mom told me that she just happened to go into his room. He was limp, and burning up. My mother screamed, my dad put him in a bath of cold water and shocked him awake. He was rushed to the hospital. Now, he has only partial vision in one of his eyes that may be a direct result from his high fever. With that constantly in the back of my head, you can't blame me for trying to be extra cautious with my son. can you?

We got home around 11:30 pm, and we put our exhausted little peanut to bed. He slept until about 5 this morning.

This morning Chewie seemed to be getting better. He ate some breakfast, but still needed to cuddle. as much as i love the cuddle time, i'm happy he's recovering.
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