Saturday, May 14, 2011

It all comes out in the end

Did you know that there are around 3,000 cases a year of children ingesting batteries? That statistic can now be added to by one. :-O

We had a bit of a scare yesterday afternoon. My 7 year old came running in, visibly upset, followed by his 5 year old brother, who was equally upset. My 7 year old blurts out that, "G. has swallowed a battery!" and they both begin to cry. Wail actually.  I managed to get out of them what type of battery, a very small button one and how it happened.

So, now what do I do? I asked G. if it felt like the battery had gone down. If it felt like it was stuck at all, does he feel any pain, etc. He said, he thinks it went down, he doesn't feel it anywhere and no, nothing hurts. With no signs of any problems breathing, I called Daddy to ask him, what exactly does one do when they swallow a battery.  Is there an immediate danger for heavy metals to begin leaking into his little body? Is he at risk for an internal burn?  After consulting his handy source of all medical knowledge, Google (he is a trained doctor, so please don't try this at home! ;-) ), he came up with a battery ingestion hotline.  Yes! There actually is a battery ingestion hotline. Who knew?  I called the number, which rang and rang and rang and rang. Wow! There sure are a lot of people calling in to that hotline, I thought to myself as I continued to listen to the ringing. Finally, a woman answered with a generic "Yes, hello?"  Me, "Is this the battery ingestion hotline?" Her, "What?" Me, "Is this the battery ingestion hotline?" Her, "Wha? No, you have the wrong number."  Me. "Oh, I'm sorry!"

Oops, still don't know what number I called, but I went to plan B instead and called poison control.  A very nice woman picked up within a couple of rings and as I told her what happened, she very kindly told me "Get him to an x-ray machine pronto." *sigh* Really?  "Yes, really"  She recommended calling our peds office to see if they'd send a script ahead of me, so we could go to a regular radiology place, as opposed to Urgi care.  However, my ever so helpful Peds front office staff said, "Go to Urgi Care." *sigh* "Really?" "Yes, really."  Now I employed my medical prowess and googled the nearest Urgi center, thanked the Lord for a sleeping two year old and having a responsible 13, 11 and 9 year olds at home to babysit their very upset brother and sleeping beauty.

As I walked into the Urgi center, hubby called to tell me that he had been talking with the Ped. GI doctor he knew at his hospital (no, he didn't google him, he does actually know him. In person and real life even) and let me know that if the battery was not down in the stomach region, page him and he'd be ready to operate on him that night to remove the battery.  Get the scans and let him know what's going on.

Urgi care was interesting. It was completely dead, which is a good thing, except I could use that same adjective to describe the workers there as well. Flat, unsmiling, bored out of their minds - dead.

At first, the front desk said to me, "We can't do that here." leaning back to someone else who was behind a wall, "Can we do that?" The mystery person behind the wall called back, "She needs to take him to an emergency room, we can't treat him here."  I very calmly explained to the woman at the front desk, calm yet loud enough for the mystery woman behind the wall to hear, poison control sent me here, my pediatrician sent me here and a pediatric GI doctor also sent me here to get an X-RAY, not treatment. Ah, the trifecta. I apparently now had enough cred to get my son an x-ray of his belly.  I filled out the forms, handed over my insurance card and drivers license, sat down and waited. We watched the TV, some doctor show that had Danica Patrick showing the medical professionals a real race car, and they all took turns squeezing in. I could tell which ones were the medical professionals on this show because they were the ones wearing scrubs and white lab coats. They looked very official and professional. I was impressed. (I have no clue what this show was, btw).

Finally, we were called back. Apparently, even when there is no one being seen, there is a mandatory wait time before treatment. Who am I to argue with the rules! I've read Animal Farm and Watership Down. I know what happens when you try to question the status quo! It's not pretty. *shudder*  A very energetic man calls G back and asks why we're here. Don't know his name, he never gave it. Apparently, that's part of the mystery of the place, unidentified personnel. He says, "So, you swallowed a battery. Why'd you do that? Hungry?" chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.  He didn't really chuckle and it wasn't really funny. I guess it could have been funny if he wasn't dead, but I digress.

Vitals taken, info taken and a wait here as the door swings open and he's gone.  This time the wait was only a matter of seconds, literally. The door hadn't stopped moving before a very nice radiology tech (and I do mean very nice. She was the nicest one there) came in and escorted us back to the x-ray machine. She got him lined up, we stood behind the partial wall (does that really protect us from anything?) and zap! My little guys gut was irradiated. I kind of wondered about the lack of lead apron on the other parts of his body, but it went so fast I didn't have a chance to ask.  She made sure the scan was clear, it was. I even managed to sneak a peek and saw the tiny button battery had made it's way all the way down into his small intestine! Yes! That was a very good thing. No emergency surgery on Friday night for my guy. Thank you Lord!

We went back to the room, waited for the disk to give to our Ped. GI doctor, who will see it on Monday, and were then told that the PA wanted to talk w/ us. Actually, we weren't told that as much as we heard the conversation between her and the x-ray tech. The x-ray tech was asking her if we could go or if she wanted to talk with us. She said, "I guess I need to go and talk to them."  (I think she was the mystery lady behind the wall, but shhh, I'm not telling their secrets).  The PA comes in, tells us what we already know, tells us what we already know to expect, tells us what we already know what to do and dismisses us. Phew! Thank goodness for her helpful guidance. At least now she can legitimately bill our insurance for a visit. So glad we got that sticky formality out of the way.

We go to leave, I'm told to go sit down and wait. Now we're watching Oprah, who is rehashing an old story from a previous episode. I don't know what was being said, or what the story was about, beyond it was something sad and the woman inspired someone else who watched her show. I know that because that's what Oprah shows are always about.  Finally, I'm called back up to the front desk, get the papers with a courtesy, "Here you go."  Alrighty then!  We are out of there.

Back home, which is really the sweet part of my post, we have a greeting awaiting us.  My sweet, sweet kids really do love each other. They fight and bicker but they really do care about each other. This is what greeted us on the door leading from the garage into the house.  It was similar to what they did for our little K. back in Feb. when she broke her leg.

R. had printed out a huge picture of G's head, cut it out (which is why he looks like he might not have a skull on top, or on the side. He does, honest) and taped it to the door to "welcome" him home.  It brought a smile to my little guy's face and it made me smile all over. Waiting for us inside, they had made him a new boat.

S. has been making these cool boats (post to come) and he made one just for G. Both R. and S. made cards for our newest battery ingestion statistic, which again made him smile and gave me more confirmation that I have the best kids in the world! 

So now, we wait and watch. We hope and pray, that it will all come out in the end. ;-)


Heidi said...

Oh my - that was a bit of excitement! I love your sense of humor about it all. Luckily we've never had any unusual ingested items.

Leslie said...

What a day! So glad all worked out - and hoping it continues in that direction. (((Linda)))

Love the sweet things your kids did while you were gone too!

Jen U. said...

My heart was racing just reading your post, Linda! Soooooo very very glad that he is ok and that it come out just fine. I would have been a mess had it been me. When Camden was a toddler we found him playing in a pile of school magnets. We have no idea how they ended up on the floor but he was in that stage of putting everything in his mouth and I was terrified that he might have swallowed one. We took him to emergency and had him x-rayed just to be sure. I threw those magnets in the trash afterwards. Of course, we need batteries around though. Can't throw all those out. But I remember how scared I was and we didn't even know if he had actually swallowed one. You did. Again- soooo glad he is ok!

And why in the world is their a mandatory wait time when not one else is in the office? That is about the stupidiest thing I have ever heard! *Rolling my eyes*

Linda said...

I was joking about the wait time. I mean we did wait, but I think it was because the woman up front was so darn slow! You'd think we'd go back w/i minutes of arriving, because we were the only ones in there. We still waited about 20 min. before being called back and another 20 after the visit for the paperwork, which the gal up front was processing. I think she was the slow cog in the wheel in that place! LOL