Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Can Make Going to Lowe's Really Exciting!

The kids and I accompanied my parents on a trip to Lowe's today. My children were goofing around in the store and I, current candidate for Parent of the Year, was ignoring them because their "harmless" game wasn't bothering any other shoppers and it allowed me to examine the nuances between 16 similarly colored bathroom faucets. 

The goofing got a little wilder and then The Boy said, "Hey, watch this, Mom, Watch this! This is going to be funny...." to which I replied, "I'm not going to watch you all do something stupid," as I, in fact, erroneously turned to look at him. Apparently, I then blinked or experienced some sort of wrinkle in time because the next thing I saw was The Girl falling with The Boy falling on top of her, slamming her head into the concrete floor. 

I guess I really didn't comprehend the force of the hit as I helped her up and cuddled her when she cried. Then she said she was going to throw up, and on our way to the bathroom, she asked me what happened. I thought that was pretty weird, but the good thing was that when she forgot what happened, she also forgot that she needed to vomit, so we just went and got some ice instead. Lowe's overall was far less concerned than they should have been since the didn't really know how she got hurt and so for all they knew, I could have been plotting my takeover of the store via lawsuit right now. 

After getting an icepack for her head, The Girl seemed to be OK but sore, so we went to lunch. She ate. But on the way home, her headache worsened. She complained of nausea and then puked when we got home. I called the pediatrician's office, but of course they were closed. The on-call nurse said that the rule for head injuries was that two vomits in three days equals a trip to the doctor. We quibbled over whether the fact that The Girl barfed twice in close succession counted as two separate vomits. Don't you think you should have to leave the bathroom in between barfing sessions for them to count as two separate vomits? 

The nurse disagreed.

So, off we went to the Pediatric Emergency Clinic, where we spent a whole five minutes (and were gifted with a barf bucket) before they strongly suggested that I save my co-pay and go straight to the ER because that's where they were going to send us anyway. So, we and our new bucket headed off to the nearby ER.

The first thing I learned is that you should always have someone drive you to the ER because there are no freaking parking places and I couldn't just drop her off and go drive around for a half an hour looking for a place to put my car because she's seven and that's frowned upon. When we got inside with all our gear (videogames, books, a jacket, a well-loved stuffed animal, the barf bucket...) we discovered a line and no one attending it. Not comforting. 

It was hours and more barf before she was seen by an actual medical person who did more than take her temperature and ask her what happened. Every seat was taken in the pediatric area, and a banged-up noggin and a barf bucket didn't move us up in the triage. When The Girl went on a vomit rampage in the bathroom, I went searching for someone who actually worked there so I could describe her worsening of symptoms and attempt to politely suggest that they get their shit together and fix my kid. 

She was gifted with the opportunity for medical treatment shortly thereafter. We were moved to a private room with a TV, which was really nice because the crowded waiting room had enough of that "people yelling into their cell phone" vibe going on to last me for a good long while. I found it quite interesting that the nurse came in, questioned us, and then prescribed a CAT scan. I kind of thought that would be a doctor thing. But I didn't care as long as someone acted like they were paying attention to us. 

The Girl was feeling worse and worse but, when we wheeled into the CAT scan room and she saw the machine, she perked up a bit. I think some of her stomach and head pain were from anxiety. I guess a scan of your head sounds pretty scary, especially after spending hours sitting in a stark waiting room with random yelling people and general uncomfortableness. 

After the scan,we finally saw a doctor, who asked The Girl various questions and performed an exam and generally seemed very doctorly. He took the time to chastise me for not being sure that The Girl isn't, in fact, allergic to any medication. He then proclaimed her as having a mild concussion, which, it turns out, is only a clinical diagnosis rather than something you actually know from some test. Who knew? He hadn't seen the CAT scan yet so we had to wait for that next. I expected the doctor to come back and tell us what he saw on the scan, but apparently that's not the way the ER works. We waited for 30 minutes, a snack was delivered, she ate it, and then after another 30 minutes, I went to go and ask the nurse how much longer it would be before The Girl could be discharged. He appeared to be surprised that we were still there. After that, the wheels got turning and I was finally set free with some papers, my starving, bruised child and my barf bucket full of amusements. 

Tonight I have to wake her up every two hours to make sure that she's coherent and not having problems due to the concussion. So far, that's not been too successful. It turns out that a sleeping child woken every two hours just isn't all that coherent no matter what. I should write down everything she says. She just told me that she went to school today "a little bit." Hmm.

Now to wait for the bill. I'm sure our $100 co-pay didn't cover it. This trip to Lowe's is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. 

"Mom, my head hurts!"

Help pay for our ER trip! Here's how:


  1. Thank you for the detailed report! I mean, I love your writing style, but mostly, I'm glad you documented everything as much as you could - these details could end up being important. Let's hope not - but you have them if you need them. The bottom line is there is still far too much confusion about what constitutes a concussion or closed head injury and where exactly the dividing line between mild and not so mild falls. And I would wager that the majority of doctors have no clue, when the injury falls short of cracked skulls and spilled blood and brains.
    This could be the ONE good thing about the ridiculous amounts of money thrown at our darling NFL stars - finally, we are motivated to learn a little more, as we see more and more of the long-term effects of the well documented concussions.
    Was this picture from that evening? Obviously a pretty good wonk to the noggin. Did the CT scan show anything at all? (They usually don't.)
    Kids are so good at springing back into the game quickly, Just keep a good motherly eye on her, as I know you will.

  2. Thanks, Dana! The CAT scan showed nothing. I was happy to have her neurosurgeon confirm that the scan was normal. WHEW!