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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vacationing in the "ER"

Yesterday I received a call from my daughter Isabella's school nurse.  Bella had fallen off the jungle gym on the playground and had hurt her right arm.  (She is right handed.)  My otherwise active fourth grader waited for me in the clinic with a bag of ice on the injured limb.  The nurse reassured me that it was not swollen, but my daughter remained in a lot of pain.  Since it was so close to the end of the school day, I also asked that my first grade son be released from school so we could all leave together. 

I had already planned to drop off my four-year-old last night to stay with his Grandparents so I could take care of business matters today.  Thank goodness for my parents!  The last visit to the ER with Sebastien resulted in Momma almost getting admitted herself for stress related trauma.  It's hard for four-year-olds to wait in an ER.  Every piece of medical equipement has potential to become a climbing aparatus, slide, tumbling mat, and overall dangerous activity where Sebastien is concerned.  I did not relish the idea of adding him to the evening list of patients at the Children's Health Care of Atlanta clinic where he would surely run into something and become incapacitated.

We arrived at the clinic after safely depositing Sebie with his Granparents.  Actually, I had to follow my mother to the clinic located close to her home...yet not close enough for me to grasp the twists and turns for the short cut.  I tend to be a bit directionally challenged, especially under stressful circumstances.  When we arrived at the clinic, I was pleasantly surprised by the professional and caring attitude of each person we encountered.  Everyone introduced herself by name and explained what we could expect during our visit.  A dry erase board at the front desk informed us about the possible length of wait before we would be seen.  I was relieved that I followed my mother's advice to take my daughter to Children's Health Care of Atlanta.

Here's the funny part of this unexpected trip.  My six-year-old son, Nathan, insisted upon going with us even when I warned him of the wait time.  "Wouldn't you have more fun going to Grandma's and Grandpa's house to wait for us?  Dinner is almost ready there and you can play afterward."  I thought, "Maybe this is his way of being a concerned brother, and he wants to be there for his sister."  Well, maybe there was some smidgen of truth to my analysis.  However, I soon realized other motives were at work here.

As I sat at the financial intake worker's desk, I looked behind me to see my son and six to seven other children circled around two vending machines; one with sodas and the other with a lovely assortment of snacks a.k.a junk food with no redeeming nutritional qualities whatsoever.  They looked up at these machines as if they held the holy grail.  I am not exaggerating this time!  The amount of times my son looked at me longingly and begged for change equalled what happens right before Christmas and his birthday.  Even after we were ushered into our cubicle to wait for the doctor Nathan continued to speak about the vending machines and how impressive they were.

I admitted to my son that I remember feeling the same way when I was a child.  However, there was perfectly good, healthy food waiting for us at his Grandparents house as soon as we were released.  Isabella received medication for her pain and was rewarded with a popsicle to dull the nasty taste of the liquid.  Her brother was also given a popsicle, which endeared these wonderful nurses to me.  The potential for a meltdown could have been quite catastrophic given how much Nathan loves popsicles.  Isabella had several x-rays done.  Evaluations revealed no broken bones (Thank Goodness).  A splint was applied along with a sling and we were ready to go.

Upon checking out with front desk to settle our bill, I realized that even a trip to the ER be an adventure for children.  And when I handed over my card to pay for the trip, it was indeed like paying for a small vacation.  At least, that's how I'm going to look at it.  Thank You to Children's Health Care of Atlanta for treating us so well.  (And for giving this Momma a 48% discount for paying up front.) 

I'm sure this won't be the last visit to an ER, but for my part I would love to wait as long as possible to save up for our next trip.

Many blessing to all of you.  Please sign up to follow my blog and take care.