Dumpster Diving Dad

Nothing like an emergency run to the Big City Children’s Hospital emergency room.

I am sitting having coffee out with my BFF and the nanny calls. One of Pearlsky’s best.

I can’t get Pearlsky to stop crying. I gave her Advil and then she needed some Valium. There is something very wrong.

I saw her about two hours ago, but if this nanny called, there was something wrong.

(Needed background: During my hiatus from blogging, about nine months ago, Pearlsky was in the ER. She had both a UTI and cellulitis around her eye. The ER experience was so horrendous, I ended up with a complaint to the state, and a big apology from the hospital higher-ups, in their words, for “being bullied” by the doctors.)

I abruptly end my coffee break (duh) and get home within about 10 minutes. As I walk in the door, I am told that Pearlsky’s eye is starting to swell. A quick look, and I tell everyone we are going to the ER now. Her eye was swelling as it did last time, very quickly, and she was in a lot of pain. She was starting to seize. We were out the door within minutes. Big City Hospital is about two miles away.

“How much pain is she in?” asks the triage nurse. “Significant pain, more than I ever remember seeing.” And then she asks “How do you know?”

How do I know? Why? You want to challenge my assessment? You don’t believe me? I don’t want your value judgement on my abilities to gauge Pearlsky’s pain. (Ok, that is what I wanted to say.)

Trust me.

In the ER room, the nurse shows up quickly. We recognize each other, both been around there for over 20 years. One fantastic nurse.

I need to tell you that I really hate this place. Nine months ago we had a horrendous experience here, and I don’t come easily. I swear I am trying to behave and be nice, but please excuse me if I slip.

She smiles.

She then asks me what I think the problems is (cellulitis around her eye), and after a few minutes she asks me if I think she should get an IV set up (just to set up, not to do yet). I tell her we will need an IV antibiotic, hydration, and, by the way, there is no way we are staying overnight.

I do my best to ignore the 14 year-old resident that comes in.

The 16 year-old attending comes in, all smiles. Introduces herself (careful not to even mention her first name) and takesĀ a quick look. She asks how bad the pain is, then shows she is a tad smarter than the triage twit. “How does she react to such pain?” Much better question.

See how she is posturing? Look at her wrists, elbows and shoulders (wrists bent, arms locked and twisted out). I know that is natural for some, this is the third time in her life I have ever seen this posturing. Look at her face. Her sounds. May not look like a lot of pain to you, but she has had two pain killers and more Valium than I will tell you.

She asks if I think anything else is wrong or may be causing the pain. I don’t know. She offers to try an anesthetic eye drop and I agree it is a great idea. Let’s see how she reacts.

The nurse brings in a 15 ml bottle and gives Pearlsky one drop in her eye. Within thirty seconds, literally, Pearlsky is laughing and “fine.”

May I have the bottle?

No. The truth is, for some reason, we cannot have these go home. I need to throw it out.

So I am paying for that bottle that has 100 drops, that cannot be used with another patient, and you are throwing it out?

I have to, hospital rules.

I learn later that some parents would abuse the drops, and the child would not realize something got in their eye or whatever. So, because some parents abused the one medication that removed Pearlsky’s pain, I was not allowed to have it. Good rule.

Before commenting on what I should have done, re-read the title of this post.

The doctor returns and she says that we will put Pearlsky on two oral antibiotics and we can go home. “That’s probably not the best plan. I think she needs an IV antibiotic,” I dare to say.

I did say it nicely. With a smile. No, really I swear (well, now, I swear I said it nice, I did not swear then). And I got the ideal response …

Tell me why.

She has had no food or drink for over six hours. She will be in pain until tomorrow, and will have nothing to eat or drink. By morning she will start to be dehydrated, by afternoon, very much so. She will throw up the first dose of antibotic on an empty stomach. We will be in here by 1 or 2 PM tomorrow, dehydrated, the infection worse, her eye completely swollen shut, and you will give her an IV antibiotic then.

We came home with two prescriptions after two IV bags of saline AND antibiotic.

Incredible nurse. Great doctor. Cranky dad. And hopefully a Pearlsky on the mend.


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