The Hospital — Pictures, and Lessons Learned

W was diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease on Thursday. We were warned that with painful sores in her mouth and down her throat (plus nausea and diarrhea), the biggest complication to watch for would be dehydration. It was hard for her to swallow. She didn’t want to eat at all, and struggled to drink water and juice, but she did nurse a lot more than usual. By Saturday morning, she wasn’t even nursing anymore. She would sign “drink,” but then push the cup away when offered. She’d sign “nurse,” but wouldn’t latch. By Saturday afternoon, we were in the ER.

I took W to an ER at a children’s hospital. It’s not our closest option, but it’s worth the extra drive. They did things that regular ERs wouldn’t, like numb her arm with pneumatic lidocaine before putting in her IV. This was a really big deal, because as dehydrated as she was, it took a few tries, a few different sites, and a lot of digging to find a vein. They gave her some Vicodin between IV attempts and let her chill for a little bit. The second attempt went much more smoothly, probably at least in part because she was trippin’.

Watching cartoons and waiting for meds to kick in.

Keens are the best shoes ever. She barfed all over me in the ER. The staff was nice enough to get me some scrubs. I rinsed my shoes off in the sink, and they were good as new!

IV in place, we were brought an assortment of soft foods and beverages and told that if she could take anything on her own (or nurse), we could go home. While she was willing to sleepily finger paint with pudding, she didn’t want to eat anything. She finally agreed to take one little taste of some applesauce, but only if she could lick it off an empty syringe (sans needle) that she’d stolen from a nurse. Apparently this wasn’t good enough…we got admitted to the hospital.

Saturday night and most of Sunday, they kept her on an IV for fluids and on Vicodin for pain. She slept…

…and slept…

There was a brief period after her Sunday afternoon pain meds during which she was feeling perkier, so she tore up a magazine for a while.

And that was pretty tiring.

Late Sunday afternoon, she was feeling a lot better. She drank some water, which bought us our ticket home.

Feeling pretty good after a dose of pain meds. She's had so much IV fluid, her eyes are puffy!

First thing she did when we got home was get herself all dolled up with not one, but TWO bows (she took them to her daddy and he installed them for her), and cuddle with BuBuBo, her teddy (who, yes, has antennae. And wings. And who, if Mama had been thinking straight, would have come to the hospital with us).

First thing Mama wanted when we got home was a shower. First thing W wanted? BOWS. Sometimes, a girl just needs to feel pretty.

She’s still pretty sick, but she’s definitely on the mend. She won’t eat or drink anything, but she’ll nurse as long as we keep her pain and fever under control, so hopefully we’re only in for a few more days of this.


Things I Learned About Toddlers In The ER/Hospital

1) Even if your toddler is limp as a dishrag at home, bring entertainment (an iPod or something similar works great) for the ER. New environments are stimulating, and the only thing harder to deal with than a sick, cranky toddler is a sick, cranky, BORED toddler.

2) It’s definitely worth the drive to a children’s hospital, if that option is available.

3) Bring a snack. No, not for the baby. For you. For when you realize it’s been, like, 12 hours since you’ve eaten.

4) Be involved, be proactive. You’re not the patient, but you are the patient’s voice. You’re not the doctor, but you know your child. Most of the care providers know what they’re doing and are totally on top of their game. Most, but not all. Ask questions and keep track of your child’s care. Know when she’s supposed to get meds, and don’t be afraid to ask for them. Be willing to ask for reevaluation or changes. Don’t assume that because you’re not a medical practitioner, you’re not part of the care team. In many ways, you’re actually the one in charge.


What tips do you have on caring for a sick toddler or having to do an ER/hospital visit?




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ashley @ C is for Cockerham
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 10:57:08

    Great advice on going to a Children’s Hospital and bringing an iPod/iPad. And thank goodness for nursing. I keep finding great reasons to continue nursing past 1. I’ll have to share at LLL tonight.

    Hope sweet W is back to checking out rocks and feeling better soon!


  2. Megyn @ Minimalist Mommi
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 09:06:50

    Since The Hubs is an EMT, we are lucky to know the hospital to go to for each situation–it’s been a god-send! I’m so sorry you had to go through that experience, but glad W is on the mend. Hopefully you’ll never have to use the above advice again, but at least you know now 🙂 Hope W heals quickly and easily!


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