Being a parent is probably one of the most terrifying jobs I have ever had (and that includes cocktail waitressing in a dance club). I thought pregnancy was scary – but for a chronic worrier like me – parenting can be a white-knuckle ride.
For the most part, day to day things can be very easy and calm but when things start to get hairy, look out! Suddenly one of the shorties tumbles off a chair and develops an immediate goose egg on their forehead. Or inexplicably, out of the blue a strange rash envelops their little body with absolutely no warning. Or how about the random limp that comes out of nowhere.
Off to the emergency room for that harrowing ride and even more harrowing wait in the germ filled space. Much like a petting zoos and butcher shops, emergency rooms is one of the most horrifying places for a germaphobe like me! Don’t forget to bring the Purell!
We have been incredibly fortunate with our kids that they have been healthy and the little scares have been easily diagnosed and quickly treated. So count me extremely grateful for that. Rather, I like to share these moments for the comedic value one might find in laughing at me trying to cope with the situation.
One of my better emergency room stories was with Shorty # 2. After a rather tumultuous couple of weeks with multiple visits to emerg and a diagnosis of a bone condition in Shorty #1 (that was easily treated and quickly resolved – thank GOD!) we were ready for a little quiet time. We were on an outing to Science World and #2 needed a diaper change. Mid-change we discovered many tiny red and blue dots all over her legs. That was a new one on me and looked concerning enough that we packed off to the walk-in clinic.
It was January – so busy cold and flu season and the wait at the clinic was creeping past the two hour mark. When J arrived, we talked it over. We could wait the two plus hours only to be told this was too weird and be sent to Children’s Hospital for another 3+ hour wait. So I did what any other worried parent would do – I asked Dr. Google. I typed in red and blue dots – guess what came up… MENINGITIS. Basically the website said if your child presents with this symptom to head straight for emergency. So we did.
The triage nurse reassured me after I apologized for coming in (for the record, I always apologize to the triage nurse since our afflictions seem so minor compared to others and I hate to be the person burdening an already over-extended medical system for some frivolous reason. I also apologize to massage therapists for putting my arm in the wrong place and I always thank a doorman for holding the door. I’m Canadian, what can I say?). She said I had done the right thing, steering us to the waiting room. Moments later, I knew she was right when our name was called and we were ushered into QUARANTINE!
That’s when I started to really worry.
In minutes a doctor was at our door arriving before the nurse. I worried more. She examined little #2 and explained that yes, it could be meningitis and if it was we would know very quickly as other symptoms would soon follow this strange rash if she was infected.
I was about to panic.
In came the nurse to hook her up to the machines – heart monitors etc. She checked her vitals and ordered blood work.
I looked at J – while I can worry myself silly in these moments, I usually try to hold it together for the sake of the Shorties. This time he could see that I was starting to come a bit unglued.
Shorty #2 was doing great. She was thrilled with the attention and particularly liked the cartoons they brought to help pass the time.
After about 3 hours of waiting, with #2 smiling, playing and even napping happily, the Doctor came back for what would be her final visit…
Now, #2 was rather chubby back then in her pre-crawling days. I think she was about 35th percentile for height and about 85th for weight. So a little bit round I guess you could say.
Turns out Shorty had a simple case of broken blood vessels. You see, on our outing that day, I had carried her around Science World in the sling. This constricted her legs a little bit and caused some blood vessels to break. “Yes,” the Doctor said, “we often see this with babies of this…stature.”
So in this case, the morale was – better to be safe than sorry and this Mama was nothing but purely relieved and grateful to be headed home with a healthy and happy – albeit chubby – Shorty #2.