What My Kids First ER Visit Taught Me
How It Started: I was putting away groceries in the kitchen when my oldest child came running into the kitchen crying and hovering her hand over her mouth/throat area. She was crying big crocodile tears and said she needed water and that she swallowed a pink cube. I obviously start panicking because I am thinking, "Okay, so she swallowed a pink cube and its stuck and she is crying and what on earth do I do?" I got her to stop crying and tried to figure out what happened. She was still pointing to her mouth and crying and saying she swallowed a toy.
Thankfully, she wasn't "choking" as she wasn't showing any symptoms of not being able to breathe (coughing, turning red or blue, etc.). I held off on calling the ambulance and called my husband instead. He raced home and I called the pediatrician who said to go ahead and take her to the emergency room to see what exactly she swallowed and if it would be able to pass through on its own.
On our way to the ER she kept changing the story and saying she swallowed a monkey, a Minnie Mouse toy, and a pink manipulative cube. She kept saying it was in her belly and I wasn't sure what happened because she was in her room when she "swallowed something". At the ER they did an x-ray and did not find a single thing in her throat or stomach. The doctor thinks that she may have stuck a toy too far in her mouth and it gagged her and she thought she swallowed it. We did not find a single thing in her room that would have pointed to that case, but who knows with kids, right? The smallest toy she plays with would be the manipulative cubes that the doctor said would be really hard to swallow in the first place (we took a cube with us for reference). Through this random experience, this is what I learned.
1. Life can change in the blink of an eye
This sounds so cliché but life can change so suddenly. Although she was fine and didn't swallow a pink cube, I was reminded that she could have choked and/or swallowed something and that it may have not been an "all clear" from the doctor. Life is precious and God reminded me of that yesterday. I can't imagine losing a child or having a critically ill child in the hospital. I ache for all you parents out there who have a child with a severe illness or have lost a child. I can't imagine your pain and I am praying for you.
2. Go through kids toys often
Sometimes toys get broken and small pieces find their way into little mouths and then into little bellies. I try to go through the toys often to make sure there aren't any broken pieces especially since our youngest will be crawling around soon and finding things to eat. Ha! I also got the cubes and put those away since I am now paranoid that she really will swallow a cube. She can have those back when she is a teenager and they aren't a threat. :)
3. Parenthood is stressful
Parenthood is wonderful and beautiful and a true blessing, but it comes with many challenges and stresses. I often tell my husband that our kids are giving me grey hairs and I am only 22. We have the outlets covered, medicines in a medicine cabinet far out of reach, and everything baby/kid proof... or so we thought. Turns out the toys are the real enemy and we need to dispose of those which wouldn't hurt my feelings because they are constantly strewn across my floor. Parenthood is so weird sometimes.
4. The ER/Pediatrician's office is a judgement free zone
I laughed after we got the all-clear yesterday because when I called our pediatrician, I could tell that they deal with these kind of situations all. the. time. It didn't phase the sweet receptionist as she transferred me to the nurse and I could imagine her saying, "Hey, it's another worried parent on the line for you saying that her kid swallowed a toy." Then I can imagine the nurse saying, "Wow, that is the fifth kid to do that today!" I appreciate their calmness in the midst of all my kids chaos. I also appreciate the fact that they don't judge when they know that parenthood can be so crazy sometimes.
5. Kids pick up on everything
A couple of weeks ago, I had to stop letting Emmeline watch Doc McStuffins... the show is really cute and parent confession: I actually liked it. BUT... she kept going around our house saying she was "so sad" and "so sick" and that we needed to go to the doctor. I am glad that show helps kids become comfortable with the doctors office, but I can't have my child saying she is sad and sick all the time when she is not. Ha! I also don't want her to think that the hospital is a place we enjoy going because it is NOT! My mama heart can't take that nor do I like all the germs that come with the hospital/doctors office. Kids truly are listening closer than you think!
So by the time bedtime rolled around last night I found myself stress-eating chocolate covered almonds instead of going on my nightly run. Oh well! Sometimes you just have those days! I am positive that this won't be the last time we go to the ER because our youngest is on track to be even wilder than his big sister. Jesus help me!