This article, entitled "What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me Before the Emergency Room," comes from Annie Payne, MomsEveryday blogger from Western Colorado.
Let me first say that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but if someone would have told me some of these things, it may have saved us some dough and my kids some trauma.
`Tis a Flesh Wound
My son was jumping on the trampoline at my brother’s house. Bless their hearts, they made the effort to put the safety net around their trampoline. But, it was the metal stairs that lead up to the trampoline that my son cut his head on during a mad, three-kid-scramble to climb out. I was at work, my husband was at school, my sister-in-law did the right thing by calling us. Of course, we hurried over to their house to attend to our son. Although the cut wasn’t deep, it was bleeding a lot. We took our then five-year-old to the emergency room. By the time we arrived, the bleeding had stopped. We weren’t concerned about a concussion because my son was lucid and his pupils were their normal size, but we thought that stitches might be in order. When we finally saw the doctor, he informed us that head wounds tend to bleed a lot because there are a lot of capillaries near the surface. He said that the cut wasn’t deep or large enough to merit stitches. The doctor asked the nurse to put Neosporin on my kid’s head and sent us on our way. That was the most expensive tube of Neosporin ever!
Don’t Leave Home without your Pharmacy
When our other son was ten, he tripped in the backyard and broke his arm. He is not prone to drama or whining, so when he continued crying and agonizing, I knew something had to be broken. When we got to the ER, they immediately immobilized his arm. That didn’t seem to help with the pain much. They said they had nothing to offer him for the pain. What? Isn’t this an ER? What’s in all those cabinets over there? After over an hour of waiting, x-rays, and a temporary cast was put on, finally some Tylenol magically appeared, in the hospital! Imagine that! The instructions were to continue giving him Tylenol or Acetaminophen for the pain, Ibuprofen was not recommended. Had I known that he could have Tylenol, I would have given it to him before we left that house, that way he wouldn’t have had to suffer so much.
Yank-ee Doodle Out your Elbow
When my daughter was three and my twin sons were five, they picked her up by her arms and legs and tried to swing her. She immediately started crying and holding her arm. Again, this child is not prone to whining or over-reacting, so when she continued crying and didn’t want to move her arm, we decided to take her to the ER. My husband, the Eagle Scout, created a splint for her. Keeping it immobile seemed to help a bit. Because we didn’t actually see what the boys did to her (we found out later through a remorseful confession), the doctor ordered x-rays, where they moved and manipulated my daughter’s arm as she howled and wailed like a chorus of love sick coyotes. It was awful to hear and to witness. When the x-rays came back clear, the doctor decided she had “Nursemaid elbow.” Basically he turned her palm up, pressed his thumb on the inside crease of her elbow and bent her arm. Voila, the crying and the pain immediately stopped. Then he repeated the procedure to show us how we could do it at home if it slipped out again. The instructions are even on the web. Again, never at any point did they give her anything for the pain.
Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose
During my jewelry making phase, I wasn’t as careful with my supplies as I should have been. My daughter, who was two at the time, on a couple of occasions, found the beads on the floor and shoved them up her nose. The first time it happened, my husband and I ran circles around each other wondering how we were going to get that bead out. While we were stewing over what to do, she pulled herself up onto the couch, which took enough breath and exertion that she just blew it right out her nose. When we repeated the story to Grandma she reminded my husband that Aunt Marlene used to blow things out of kid’s noses by plugging the clear nostril and blowing gently in to the child’s mouth. The air would then force the bead or bean or whatever the offender may be right out. So, the second time my daughter had a bead stuffed up her nose, obviously neither one of us learned our lesson the first time, my husband swiftly blew it out. Aunt Marlene’s technique worked like a charm!
I feel grateful our trips to the E.R. have been over minor incidences. I also feel grateful that we received excellent care. But, I think because of our lack of information and experience our kids have had to suffer and we have had to pay out more than we would have if we had armed ourselves with more information. I’m not suggesting that you don’t take your kid to the Emergency room, I am suggesting that we don’t let the embarrassment or fear of looking like a “bad” or neglectful parent get in the way of sharing our stories so that maybe another family can benefit from or make a decision based on information and experience and not out of panic.
These are just our family’s stories and our experience. If blowing into your kid’s mouth to get the macaroni noodle out of their nose, makes them go cross-eyed, don’t sue me because, as I said in the beginning, I am not a doctor, neither is Aunt Marlene, nor do we play one on TV.