Sunday, May 15, 2011

A day at the hospital

I have a sore throat so I was planning to stay home from church and get some rest. As it turned out, I didn't go to church, but the rest of the day didn't exactly go as planned.

Everyone else was almost ready for church when I heard our guests saying things like "how many pills were in the bottle?” and, "how many do you think he ate?”

It sounded like Isaac got into something he shouldn't have. Again.

I went upstairs and sure enough there had been all bottle of 30 pills in their bag. Isaac found it, opened the ostensibly childproof cap, and dumped it into a glass of water nearby. He may or may not have also eaten some first. It was found with blue residue from the pills on his lips in time. Most of the pills were still present in the glass sentiment, so it was clear he hadn't ingested a great deal but exactly how much he had consumed was unclear.

I went in my bedroom and started pulling some pants on. Rachel asked why I was getting dressed. “In case I need to take Isaac to the emergency room,” I told her. I started to add I could take care of it, but she rushed out. I'm not sure there is a good way to explain to your wife that your son might need to go to the ER.

We called poison control and were told that he could have hallucinations or seizures, and that we'd better go to the hospital. I packed a bag with a change of clothing, in case I had to force more charcoal down him, and his favorite blanket so I'd have a chance of getting him to take a nap.

I went to a different hospital this time. The front desk experience was very modern: the receptionist asked me a few questions, took my insurance information and had me sign on a touchscreen. No paper was involved. Once inside though, it was the same as every other doctor's office I've been to: the nurse asked me the same questions the receptionist asked, then the doctor asked the same questions again for good measure.

The Dr. also asked how much he weighed. I told her that they'd just weighed him in at 14.9 in the front office. "14.9 what?” she asked. I thought that was a stupid question, but didn't say so.

Poison control advised the hospital to have an IV ready in case Isaac needed medication or fluids later. He also needed three vials of blood taken for lab work. I told the nurses he should be fine if I held him while they put the needle in, but they didn't believe me, and swaddled him on the bed. He objected vociferously and strenuously to this process, and only calmed down once he'd  worked his other arm out. It didn't hurt that I turned Netflix on on my phone to his favorite pink Panther cartoons. They have four nurses around him for the procedure, one to insert the needle and three to hold him down, but when he stopped struggling the extra nurses let go. One commented that she'd seen adults take an IV with more drama.

We had about an hour to burn before his charcoal arrived. The doctor offered to mix it into chocolate milk, but Isaac doesn't like milk. I suggested Apple juice instead. I'm sure was still nasty. At any rate, Isaac thought so: he took a sip from the straw and declared, “No.” I tried to give him some from the cup instead of the straw and that didn't work any better. Rejected with prejudice.

I thought for a minute and remembered that last time, the nurses had given me a syringe to force it down with. I went to the hall and flagged down a passing nurse and got a syringe. I got about half down with minimal protest, just having to force his mouth open and put the charcoal in, and then he'd swallow without further protest. When he started fighting harder, I put two more syringe worths in and dumped the rest down the sink. I didn't mention that the main effect of the pills he'd taken was to promote urine retention, and Isaac peed right on time while waiting for the charcoal. So I was pretty confident he was fine and didn't see the need to torture both of us unnecessarily.

Even so, there was enough charcoal dripped all over him that I didn't think it was worth the bother of putting his clean clothes on him until he could come home later. I rolled them up into a pillow and when his eyes got heavy, turned off the cartoons, and the light, and tucked him in for a nap.

He slept for 90 minutes, and then it was just a matter of waiting until they let us go. I made the mistake of giving the nurse a pee sample the next time he needed to go to the bathroom -- that delayed us another hour while they analyzed the pee. Isaac and I were both antsy and ready to go, and I was hungry too. At this point it was five o'clock, and I haven't eaten since breakfast. I got Isaac some chips and a drink from a vending machine, but I didn't have enough cash to get any for myself too.

When the doctor came by and told us that we were ready to be discharged and she just needed to find the nurse, and then the nurse walked by in a hurry and told her she'd be with us later, I decided enough was enough and took Isaac's IV out myself and we headed for the door. It turns out you're not supposed to do that, so it's just as well the nurse caught up with us before we exited and had to sign the papers.

All in all, it was pretty similar to a year ago–almost exactly a year ago–when Isaac got into a bottle of advil and again, we just couldn't be sure how many he'd eaten. Since then we've been meticulous about keeping bottles out of his reach, and warning guests to do the same, but as determined as Isaac is about eating things he shouldn't, it was only a matter of time until we got to do this again. The main difference was last time they didn't insist on putting in IV in. (Which was actually a pretty big difference, since this time the first nurse poked him three times unsuccessfully before paging nurse Tammy, apparently the resident expert in phlebotomy. Nurse Tammy got it in the first try.)

Isaac was glad to get home. So glad, he pooped his pants. Ordinarily, I would've been upset, but I was glad to be home too.

There's nothing like visiting a hospital to remind you that you could have real problems. Like the patient to whom I heard a doctor announce, "You have kidney stones! Two of them!" in the tone of voice you'd use to tell Melissa she was going to Sea World tomorrow. Or the woman down the hall moaning loudly in pain. I didn't want to know why.

So no. No complaints here.

1 comment:

Telitha said...

Glad he's okay!