A Trip to the ER

***NOTE TO READERS: We’re having problems with the comments so I apologize to the people who have tried to leave them and had trouble. My crack team of experts (aka my awesome brother Nate) is working on it so bear with us.***

Will has been sick for nearly a month now.

It started with vomiting and diarrhea. Then it was a cough and stuffy nose. We called our pediatrician’s office after about 10 days of problems, and they basically told us it was going around and there was nothing we could do except to let it run it’s course. A week later he was still sick, so I demanded an appointment. When the doctor “examined” Will, it consisted of taking a temperature and poking twice at his stomach. That was literally it. Then he told me it was probably two viruses, one after the other, and that I should just wait it out and he’d be fine.

You have to understand, I do not have any medical training. Therefore, I treat doctors like infallible gods. I know that’s probably not the best way to be, but I can’t help it. I take doctors at their words and I trust them without even blinking. But our pediatrician was so dismissive of Will’s problems that it just didn’t sit right when he shooed us out of his office so quickly.

That’s when MJ turned into “Mama Bear.”

Will’s cold persisted and a couple of days later she called the pediatrician and lambasted him far more than I ever could because I’d be totally humiliated berating a doctor like that. Needless to say, we got some goddamn antibiotics after that. And they worked for a few days, until they ran out this past weekend. And wouldn’t you know it, by Sunday night Will was coughing again. Except this time it was accompanied by wheezing. This morning he woke himself up at 6 a.m. with a coughing fit, and when I picked him up he was having trouble breathing.

That was enough for us to take him to the emergency room.

Will was really fantastic in the hospital and well behaved. He was flirting with the nurses, impressing the doctors and inspiring “Awwwww” sounds from all passersby. When we got settled in the doctors listened to his breathing and heard lots of congestion and some “crackles” in his lungs. So they ordered a chest x-ray for Will, and soon we were off to the x-ray room.

You should know, hospitals freak me out. They shouldn’t by now, because with all of MJ’s health problems I’ve been in and out of them for the last five years. But it’s different when it’s your child. I cringed when they said the words “chest x-ray” but when we got into the room and saw the contraption Will was going to be put in, I nearly had an anxiety attack. Here’s a picture of the device they used to hold Will in place:

But in my eyes, it looked much more like this:

I know, I know. A little dramatic, but you get the point. And to his credit, Will did really well. He only cried a tiny little bit toward the end of the second x-ray, but other than that he was absolutely fine. As for dad, well…I think I was scarred far more than he was.

Thankfully the chest x-rays revealed no pneumonia, which was a load off my mind. But it still didn’t solve the mystery of Will’s ailments. So because MJ has asthma and it runs in her family, they decided to give him Albuterol. They hooked the medicine up to a tube and mask and turned it on, at which point mist began to come out of it. Then they had me put it up to Will’s face so he could breathe it in.

Well, at least they called it medicinal mist. Again, to me, I felt like they were forcing me to gas my own son with poisonous mystery smoke. But six of one, a half dozen of the other.

The stuff from the inhaler seemed to have an immediate positive effect. Will stopped coughing and the doctors could no longer hear congestion in his chest and lungs. So they sent us home with more of the Albuterol and some antibiotics. If he starts coughing again, I’ll have to hook up the inhaler to this mask contraption they gave us and force my son to inhale this crap again. I’m not sure how that’ll work out, I’m kind of banking on MJ being home for that because I’m not sure I’m qualified or capable.

And in the meantime, you’d be correct in assuming that we’re shopping around for a new pediatrician.

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14 thoughts on “A Trip to the ER

  1. I usually take my daughter to the doctor but when I had the flu my husband had to take her because she had her 18 month appt. and she was getting sick. I send him with a list of questions and information. He came back with a ton of stuff unanswered and things were odd. The nurses and doc treated him differently than they did me. They didn’t do the “normal” routine and seemed to skim over the basics. I think they saw the dad coming and just didn’t do as thorough a job because they knew he was a newbie there. He didn’t know to question the stuff they did or didn’t do and the questions of his they brushed off. I WAS PISSED. He knows now that going in you have to be the advocate for yourself and your kids because they will dismiss your concerns or make it seem like you are paranoid if you don’t force the issue.

  2. I probably take doctors at their word too often too. I guess that is another area for Mom. Hope Will gets better soon.

  3. The poor little guy! He’s so good…

    By the way, I would have been in the next room hooked up to an IV after passing out…

  4. Hey DF

    My wife is a Natural Health Practitioner and she suggested you try an herbal remedy called, Respiractin(its safe for children), also low doses of vitamin C help heal damaged lung tissue. We have used it on our kids with excellent results. Good luck.

  5. NOTHING like a good ol’ trip to the ER…. Brings back chills. I had to take Misch several times before I got divorced and would always be so tired (as my ex-husband stayed in HIS bed and slept while I wrestled with two kids at the ER). Yea, good times.

    There is nothing like the pressure and worry one gets with children is there? IT. NEVER. GOES. AWAY.

  6. I find the “it’s a virus, it will pass, there’s nothing we can do” to be the most frustrating part of parenting. I’ve been at it for 13 years – I know when something is wrong beyond the normal cold or stomach bug. I swear sometimes they want you to fork over two or three co-pays before they actually look far enough to find what’s wrong. It drives me batshit.

    I hope Will’s issues are just temporary and that you all heal quickly!

  7. I feel for you, MJ and Will. I’ve done the ER when both girls were little and walked around with a “I think I’m in Twilight Zone episode” frame of mind. I didn’t freak out or cry . . .until I got home.

    Your former pediatrician sounds like an uncaring, pill pusher. He sounds like he can’t be bothered. I’m glad you’re searching for a new one. I’ve been extremely fortunate in my choice of pediatrician. He has been the girls’ doctor since they were born. He still sees them both, saying he pushes his patients out of the nest after college. He has provided them with the best care and is extremely thorough. I couldn’t be happier. I hope you find one just like him.

  8. Oh wow! Can’t believe he’s still sick. If you need help with setting up the nebulizer, call my mom. She’s a nurse and can be down there in a minute to dose it out for you.

    And as for pedi rec’s we use Dr.Bodie at PMGPediatrics in Sandwich. She is really incredible. Zach loves her and Frank really trusts her also. I’ll send you an e-mail with her info.

    Hope Will feels much better soon! The neb treatments really do help clear up the gross stuff in his chest quick.

  9. This horrible torture looking device is called a Pigg-O-Stat and as horrible as it looks, I am one of those lucky X-Ray techs (well almost, still a student, but will be in May) that get to put your poor little guy into that thing! BUT as they probably explained, it helps reduce repeating an Xray due to movement and we can see him take a good breath in because he is probably screaming his head off. I kind of wish they made them bigger because Will is just about the size where he is going to be too big for that soon and they like to move around more as they get older and realize what is going on. My daughter was 3 1/2 and too big for this when she had pneumonia so I had to wear the lead and pin her to the board so they could get a good xray. Hope they were good to you if you went to Falmouth! Did my first rotation for school there…
    Oh yeah, can you imagine if your dad was the inventor of this device? “Hey honey, can you bring Junior in here for a minute…”

  10. My daughter is just a couple of months older than Will and we just went through this same scenario back in November. Finally, in December her doctor diagnosed her with asthma, sent us home with a nebulizer, a prescription for about a million units of albuterol and told us to do a treatment at the first sign of a cough. This machine may look scary when strapped to a two year old but it has saved us buckets of money in doctors visits and prescriptions. Its my new best friend.

  11. Hey Aaron, tell MJ that Riley gets this way, with the trouble breathing and wheezing, almost every time she gets a cold and we had to start with the Albuterol (which makes her bounce off the freakin wall!!)when she was about Will’s age. Interesting…must definitely run in the family.

  12. My oldest has asthma and reactive airway disease. He’s been able to hook up his own nebulizer treatments since he was 3. It’s bad enough to watch your child have breathing problems and they seem so much smaller when they have that mask on but small children shouldn’t know how to do it themselves. A few asthma attacks and you’d stop seeing the mist as a Stephen King plot twist, lol.

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