Sunday, May 9, 2010

Emergency Department Drama

Last night was certainly one to remember!

Yesterday, approx 3.30pm Phoebe was playing with a metal beater. ( I know, poor judgement. But all of my kids have played with kitchen utensils over the years. I'm rethinking the metal variety now, a big dose of mummy guilt later).
She slipped on the kitchen lino and preceded to plunge the beater inside her top lip producing an icky big cut.
One of those blood curdling screams and a whole lot of blood pouring from her mouth made us drop everything and rush down to the 24 hr medical centre for some advice on the gash.
A very bloody tea-towel (now in the fire) and a miserable consultation later we were instructed that stitches were needed. That meant a drive to Starship Childrens' Hospital. As they take my $20 and ACC form they mutter something under their breath informing me not to feed or offer Phoebe anything to drink as a general anesthetic will be needed to perform stitches on such a young patient. It was at this moment that I had that 'cold ball in my stomach' feeling as all the blood from my extremities rush towards it. Hospitals, stitches, anesthetic?? Eeeeek!
Back home, Mark and I quickly organised a baby sitter, threw some pizza money their way and off we went.

Traffic and a poorly designed map :-) had us arriving at the hospital at approx 5pm. Phoebe by this stage looked a bit swollen but smiling and enjoying the sudden change of plans.

5.15pm: Our initial consultation by the triage nurse resulted in her agreeing that YES a doctor need to see her, that YES general anesthetic was a real possibility, and she squeezed on some numbing cream and nifty tape across both her hands.

Unfortunately this is where time seemed to grind to a halt and at some point in the evening actually stand still. Those of you who have had to wait in an emergency department understand the priority or urgency of your ailment will determine your waiting time. I respect this because I want to know that if any of my children (or yours) are seriously ill or injured that they will become priority and receive immediate care.



At this point I probably should mention my deep respect for all emergency department medical staff. I've had Phoebe here before and they are an amazing breed of human. They work extremely hard and demonstrate ooddles of care for the kids that come through Starship in droves.

When your child is ill they are your only focus, until you find yourself in a waiting room with a dozen ( or more) other parents and very upset children. The wards beyond , already chocka full with more.


Over the next four hours we entertained Phoebe the best we could. She was exhausted, hungry and VERY thirsty. Considering she had just recovered from gastroenteritis, the latter really concerned me. October last year we watched her plummet into semi-conscious from dehydration and I was not prepared to go there again!

Just as I was about to inform the nurse that my toddler was literally begging for a drink and that maybe this indicated she really had waited too long. We got called in!!!!!!!!!!!

9.30pm: A listen to her lungs, check for a soft tummy, lifting her lip to view the entire cut and we were told it would heal on it's own.

................ ? ......................(stunned silence)........................ ? ...............................

You got it. A less than five minute consultation, six hours after the injury took place and we were going home WITHOUT stitches.

The crackers and water bottle quickly came out of the nappy bag, consumed by a very excited Phoebe. We whipped her into pjs and hit the motor way out of Auckland towards home. asleep in car. Phew!
Phoebe slept the entire journey. Mark and I drove in stunned mullet silence that only an emergency department can conjure.

10.30 -11.00pm Mark and Jaz scoff sausages and bowls of lemon meringue pie before collapsing into bed.
The cut is turning ulcer white today. It was tricky to photograph because I didn't want to upset her, but I think you get the idea. It stretches up into her mouth up towards the gum.
It's Mothers' Day today. I have relaxed all day with my girls and Mark has cooked EVERYTHING!!! Phoebe is sore today, more than yesterday. The lip looks pretty grim. Turning into a large ulcer type wound. She woke this morning very weak and hungry and has been ultra-sensitive to EVERYTHING!!! But she is well and picking up as the day goes on.

On reflection Mark and I were reminded of how quickly things can change with children and how far we'd go for them despite the stress sometimes involved. I really hope all the children and parents I sat with last night got some sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jazz what a frustrating and awful experience. Nothing like injured or poorly kiddies to make your heart drop. Glad shes o.k and didn't need to be knocked out :) Ouch though for the ulcer, lots of warm saline (salt water) several times a day should heal that.
    Kind regards and hugs


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