In last five Fridays, including today, I have:
- gone to urgent care to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack
- broken a plate glass window
- visited the ER, with both kids in tow
Yep, today was the ER visit. Everything's fine, thankfully -- so long as we don't all end up with swine flu as a result of hanging out at the hospital!Even for a day that began at 4 a.m., when BJ woke, I didn't expect that today would take such a terrible turn. The events leading up to the ER visit started innocently enough, with BJ complaining that his beloved magnet write-on board was not working properly. He would scribble and scribble with the magnet "pen," but nothing would happen.
So I came over and took a look, soon realizing that the magnetic tip of the "pen" was missing. It's a little metal rod that goes inside the plastic part of the pen, much like a ballpoint. I asked BJ if he'd seen it fall out, if the pen was working yesterday, what might have happened to break it. We were in the midst of exploring these questions when BB ran over to the couch.
"Mommy, I ate it!" she declared, proud as she could be.
Oh sh*t, I thought. We've been SO careful to avoid those toys with the powerful little magnets, so cautious about recalls and toy safety. And now this. Swallowing magnets is bad news, as most folks know: swallow more than one, and they can attach together inside, perforating the intestine -- with serious consequences, even fatal ones.
But this is only one magnet, I told myself, trying not to go into full-out panic mode. And she was acting perfectly fine; if she hadn't made her announcement, I wouldn't have thought anything was wrong. But being the worrying type of mom as I am, I got on the nurse line (thank you, Kaiser) and after talking with the advice nurse, conference calling with a doctor from Poison Control, and doing our best to assess the situation, we decided an immediate x-ray would be necessary.
Mostly because I had no idea how long the magnetic rod might be, or how sturdy -- the nurse asked, "Do you think she might have broken it with her teeth when she ate it" Which would mean she'd swallowed not one, but two magnets.
So we head to the hospital, armed with a full bottle of hand sanitizer. Of course it was lunch time, and of course I wasn't able to feed the kids because if I fed BJ, then BB would want to eat, and she couldn't eat anything until we verified that she didn't have a hole in her digestive tract. Thankfully, when we arrived the ER waiting room was almost empty. (I tried not to visualize the population of germs...) Only two other people were waiting to be seen, so I hoped that it wouldn't take too terribly long.
In fact, it turned out that my conference call had resulted in an x-ray order already being placed for BB, so we didn't even have to wait for a doctor to see her. We consulted with the triage nurse, headed straight to radiology, and were taken care of fairly quickly by a very kind technician named Josh.
Alas, I am all too familiar with the procedure for taking an x-ray of a child's belly, having been there before when BJ swallowed the penny. (I know this is typical kid stuff, but this is hardly the kind of expertise I need, thank you very much.) BB was very good about stripping down to her gown but nervous about getting up on the big metal table. When it came time for the x-ray itself, I stood with BB to help her stay still, and of course BJ had to leave the room so he wouldn't get exposed to any radiation. Josh was very kind with BJ, reassuring him when he had to be away from me.
As soon as the x-ray was taken, Josh took us straight to the doctor who would review it for us. She found nothing at all, which means that either BB was lying (which I doubt -- she made the declaration about swallowing it completely on her own, with absolutely nothing to suggest it) or she'd swallowed it yesterday or some time previously, giving it enough time to pass through her system.
Whatever it was, we were lucky to get off so easy. In and out of the ER in a little over an hour and a half. (Say what you will about Kaiser, but they manage to do stuff like this pretty well!) And only poorer by a $50 copay and one bottle of hand sanitizer. And an incalculable amount of mom's patience -- it was used up especially quickly when BB started playing the runaway game, darting among the gurneys in the hallway while I was trying to get us checked out.
Thank goodness S was able to come home early. I will be forever grateful for that. (Even though I would have been even more grateful if I'd been able to get hold of him on campus before the ER visit, so he could watch BJ!) When he got home, I just went and hid under the covers for an hour or so, even snoozing for a bit. It was a sorely needed pre-dinner nap, and I'm feeling much more human for it.
Here's hoping that next Friday is a better one....
And by the way, Happy Beltane to those of you who recognize the holiday. I hope your May Day was better than mine!
(Update -- the magnet has been found!)