I’ve only had to take Tommy to the ER once.
And up until Friday, I hadn’t had to take Natalie at all. But then I noticed an abscess on her leg and it did not look good. Natalie would screech if I so much as looked at it. I could tell it was making her uncomfortable.
I decided to take her to the ER when I noticed that Natalie had a slight fever.
“It’s in infection. That’s not good,” I said nervously to my husband Tom.
“She’ll be fine,” he insisted.
“I have to take her. I’m taking her,” I said and went to grab Natalie’s jacket. I really am not one of those paranoid mothers who freak out over a tiny cough. I mean, yes, I still check in on my kids to make sure they’re breathing at night but I think most parents do that, yes? Maybe I’m sort of paranoid.
So into the car we went. I left Tom at home with Tommy. There was no sense in taking the entire family out and having everyone infected with the germs that reside in the ER waiting room. I’ve never been to the ER here in Wyoming so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I walked in and there were a few people scattered around sitting on chairs. I took a good look at everyone (“who are you? What are you doing here? Are you sick? What kind of sick?”) and went to check in.
The guy sitting at the check in area looked bored.
“What seems to be the problem?” he said in a monotone voice.
“My daughter has a nasty looking abscess on her leg.”
This made the guy wince. But then he said, “Do you want us to look at it?”
Um. No. I just came to the ER to people watch.
“Yes. That would be great,” I told him politely.
So he checked us in and told us to sit down. I tried to sit as far away from everyone as I could.
It was very different from what I imagined. I probably watch too many medical dramas because I expected George Clooney from ER to come running by shrieking, “We have an ambulance in bound!” or Derek Sheppard from Grey’s Anatomy to start speaking head terms since he’s like this fabulous head surgeon. But there was no George Clooney and no Derek Sheppard. There was just the bored looking guy sitting at check in who was picking at his fingernail. Nice.
I was about to offer Natalie some fruit snacks when all of a sudden this woman came rushing through the entrance.
“Please help! My brother ODed!” she shrieked.
I expected the check in guy to leap to his feet and rush out. But no, he just shuffled over to the woman. Was he deaf? Did he not hear that someone had ODed? And okay, he’s probably heard this many times before because Wyoming has a bit of a meth problem—but still, the woman was frantic and crying—you’d think he’d have ran out there with a gurney like they do in ER when someone comes in wailing for help.
“Hurry!” the woman yelled at the check in guy, who was walking over like it was no big deal.
Then a few minutes later they carried this comatose looking guy in. There was no gurney. Where was the gurney? Why wasn’t George Clooney running out with a gurney?
They brought him into the back so I have no idea what happened after that.
About twenty minutes later, we were called.
We were brought into a room and then left there for a bit. I had to fill out the insurance paperwork and then finally a nurse wandered in. She was snapping on some gum which surprised me. I mean, none of the nurses on TV ever walked in snapping gum. Was I really intrusting the care of my daughter to someone who was snapping on peppermint gum? Could she concentrate while chomping on her gum like a cow? Maybe the gum helped her concentrate?
She took Natalie’s vitals (Natalie is 35 inches and 23 pounds) and her blood pressure and took her temperature.
Then she said she’d be right back.
Now, in ER speak, ‘be right back’ means ‘see ya in an hour if you’re lucky.’ I don’t know why we kept being told that the person would be right back because no one was ever right back.
Thankfully there was a TV in the room so that helped distract Natalie.
The doctor did finally come back with two nurses to help hold Natalie down while they drained the abscess.
Let me tell you, I’ve never seen Natalie cry the way she did when they drained it. Her face turned purple. I’ve never seen her with a purple face. You have to understand that Natalie has always been vocal with her feelings. At a year old she mastered crossing her arms over her chest and shouting, “NO!” or “I’m MAD!” at the top of her lungs. But I’ve never seen her with a purple face.
“Is this normal?” I cried over Natalie’s screams. I was on the verge of bursting into tears. A part of me wanted to whack the evil nurse and the doctor with my purse for inflicting pain on my daughter. But I knew they were helping her.
They packed the abscess with gauze and then wrapped it. Then I was told that a nurse would be right back with a prescription for antibiotics.
She was right back about a half hour later and then we were able to go.
I was told to bring Natalie back on Sunday so they could check the wound.
So I did that and I guess Sunday mornings are the day to go to the ER because the waiting room was filled.
However, because the abscess was just going to be checked we were called back fairly quickly. The regular rooms were already filled so they put us in the psych room. Basically the psych room contained a bed, two chairs, and white walls. This was it. I could see marks along the walls from where people probably kicked them. I was a little freaked out, to be honest.
“It’s okay, I’m putting you in here so you can get in and out,” the nurse said. “I’ll be right back!”
An hour later someone came in. All they did was undress the wound and then put wet gauze to it.
“I’ll be right back!”
I waved. “See ya in an hour.”
Then a doctor came back and checked the wound. “I can move you into a regular room now,” he said.
So we did that and I assumed we’d get started. But no, he wanted to give something to Natalie to sedate her. He told me it would make her loopy and it was supposed to make her forget when they repacked the wound.
“Because repacking the wound is really going to hurt,” he said gravely.
I didn’t want to know that.
He sprayed something up her nose to sedate her. Natalie screamed and thrashed and screamed and thrashed.
“She’s so tiny. How can she be this strong when she’s so small?” the doctor said.
I’ve asked myself that many a times, sir.
When he was done, we had to wait a half hour. Natalie definitely was sedated. She kept pointing to the ceiling and was all, “Lighttttttt. It’s a lighhhhttt.”
When the doctor finally came back, Natalie was talking to her hand.
And yes, she cried again. It broke my heart again.
Now I have to take her back to the base clinic on Tuesday so they can monitor the wound.
I have to give Natalie antibiotics and let me tell you, it’s not easy. She spits most of it out. I have to wrestle her to the ground to get her to take the stuff.
“Please, it’ll help your boo boo,” I’ll say.
“NO! It’s YUCKY! GET AWAY! IT’S YUCKY!” Natalie will bellow. Poor lass, she tries to escape but she doesn’t move quickly because of her wound so I easily grab her. And then she kicks and tries to bite while I’m explaining that the pink medicine is going to HELP and isn’t it cool that it’s pink, you love pink, can you just HOLD STILL, if you hold still Santa will bring you lots of presents, PLEASE DON’T BITE ME!
So yes. The past few days have not been easy.
But Natalie seems to be okay. She’s still acting like herself, her lungs obviously still work—she just can’t move very well and I have to bathe her standing up since she can’t get the wound wet. She does not like this. She told me so last night, “I don’t YIKE this!”
It’s going to make for an interesting Christmas I think.