Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Toddler AchieveMent Unlocked: Babby's First Trip to the ER

first emergency room visit

On Sunday dark, the Babby woke in the middle of the night barking like a seal and gasping for breath. Sobbing between strained intakes of breath and aiming her round, panic-stricken eyes at us as if to say "Why aren't you doing anything about this?" We did do something about it, of course, which was to bundle the Babby into the car and drive all of three blocks to the closest emergency room.

Maybe other parents would have ridden it out, trying the steam-in-the-shower bathroom trick or some other home remedy, but we thought it best to heed a piece of wisdom straight out of the hospital infant/child safety handbook: If you're on the fence about going to the emergency room - or calling an ambulance - just do it. Better safe than sorry. Worst that happens is you're out one co-pay and the staff at the hospital is going to chuckle gently about you behind your back.

Which, frankly, I expected, because as is often the case, bringing the Babby out into the night air and sitting her up had an overall positive effect on her airways. By the time we were actually in the ER and talking to a nurse, the Babby was wailing. And you just can't wail when you can't breathe. The whole affair reminded me, not incidentally, of how back in the day, when a preemie-size Babby would scream bloody murder during every pediatrician appointment, our doc would make cracks about the Babby's oh-so-obviously healthy respiratory and pulmonary systems.

Because nothing wails like a couple of healthy lungs in a body saturated with O2, am I right? It really should be the tagline for something.

In case you were wondering, the Babby's tears remained pretty much a constant during our hospital visit. With a short intermission during which some thoughtful soul who is certainly going to heaven someday put Finding Nemo on the waiting room television. Unfortunately, the goodies we were given when we were taken out of the triage area and placed in one of the ER's rooms did not have the same effect. Apparently, stickers, crayons, a coloring book, and totally sweet star sunglasses are just not that compelling when you find the space you're in utterly terrifying.

The Babby's continual refrain: "I don't want to be in this roooooooom!"

Procedures endured included having a temperature reading taken with an ear thermometer - always a favorite, numerous instances of barely tolerated stethoscope usage, attempts to get the Babby to breathe air from a tube - ha ha not happening, looksees in the ears and mouth that resulted in a big old fit, and one steroid shot. I'm proud to say that there were muscles and sinews popping out all over on our orderly as he strained to keep the Babby's leg still. Strong Babby is strong! And I'm also proud to say that I learned a new way to restrain the Babby in medical situations. Handy!

Overall, our first emergency room visit was pleasantly low-key and blood-free. The Babby later enjoyed the coloring book and stickers, and I enjoyed having the diagnosis be something simple. Oh, that would be swelling of the area around the vocal cords, aka croup. More than likely as a result of your everyday cold virus. Maybe I should count this among parent achievements unlocked, then? The ER for a cold achievement? That has to be on the list.


  1. Poor Babby - and poor you! I am glad she's better and that it was a quick fix! That is no way to spend a night. It just sucks. :(

    We did it with P when she was much younger (maybe 6 months?) and it wasn't much fun then, though at least she wasn't mobile. I am currently dreading the 4 year appointment coming up. Dreading. It took two of us to hold her down when glass was being dug out of her foot a little while back. I still have nightmares about it.

  2. I feel for you there, gah. How does so much strength get into such a small package? Holding the Babby down for her last vac was a workout and they almost had to bring someone else in. They did when they had to clean out her ears and she wasn't even 2 yet then!

  3. I'm pretty sure Em's first ER visit was at 3 months. She had choked on some bottle-milk, and I swear she was breathing funny. Of course she was totally fine.

    ER trips are never fun. Glad P will be ok!

  4. Love it :) We all head to the DR for something we can look back on as no big deal at some point!

  5. Croup sucks. Cad gets it often, or at least got it often. I think we have been granted a reprieve for a bit. I gave him homeopathic Hepar. Sulph. Calc. for coughing fits/nighttime breathing issues. WE did the night air thing and moist air thing, but the Hepar. worked the best. For a long time I just kept the bottle in my pillow case.

  6. @Courtney I'd much rather no big deal and a "wasted" copay than something worse :)

    @Erin I was a really croupy kid, got it yearly, more than once, but I did outgrow it like most people do. I'll look into natural remedies if it happens again - thus far, we've just pushed lots of fruits and veggies since that always makes me feel better when I'm sick!

  7. We haven't actually taken either of them IN to the ER, but we did take Ev as far as the parking lot once when he was between one and two. He had stumbled into the corner of a bookshelf with pointy corners and as cut his chin open just under his lip. It was pretty deep. But by the time we got there it had stopped bleeding so I figured we'd wait it out until the pending pediatrician appointment.

  8. What fun - ugh! Been there, done that. Not enough fingers to count... Actually, they had my name on a seat in the waiting room: "Reserved for Chris" that's a perk you get when you have three. Glad everyone is OK. It reminded me of the time my daughter Elizabeth walked in the bedroom at about 2AM, looked pretty shaken, I think she was about five or six years old, and said: "I have to go to the hospital NOW!" Well, that was the last thing I expected to hear and the look on her face, the tears, the sheer panic in her eyes, did seem to justify complying with her request. Plus, she was never dramatic. So we called the Dr., packed up the car, away we went to the hospital. During our drive she informed us that "my appendix burst" and she needed to have it taken out. She had severe stomach pains and did get semi-buckled over a few different times. Tears, screaming, the whole-show-bang. After some x-rays, questions, this-that-and-DR-stuff, turns out she just had a bad case of constipation. The x-ray showed a small like nuclear submarine was lodged in her upper intestine. A few days of mineral oil... and all was back to normal. BTW: Thanks Grandma for telling 'Biz about everyone on that side of the family having appendicitis and needing it surgically removed. Shortly thereafter I told her some MORE stories about that side of the family. :)

  9. Oh man, I was stressed out for the whole first half of this post! I'm glad it was something less-than-huge. As a child that frequented the ER myself, I appreciate that whole "if you're on the fence, then go" attitude (though ambulances are EX-PEN-SIVE, so it's probably best that you're so close).

    Yay for Babby Achievements! Do you get a new badge on your Babby Mama sash?

  10. Thank you for your kind words on my SITS feature day. :)


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