If you end up in the Emergency Room....

If You End Up in the Emergency Room...

Last week, we ended up in the emergency room (ER) with a family member who had an accident.

As we were waiting for the ambulance, I asked my daughter to throw a few things in my purse. I have learned over the years that bringing a few things with me will make our stay in the ER a little easier.

My lessons from emergency room visits

My kids were hospitalized for asthma 12 times when they were younger, and I learned how to make the best out of a bad situation. Here are a few things I learned:

  • When you end up in the ER, it’s unexpected and scary.
  • You will be there for a long time.
  • They are busy – so they won’t have time to help you with anything other than medical problems.
  • Throw a granola bar, trail mix, etc in your purse or pocket.
  • Grab a water bottle on your way out the door.
  • Snag your portable power bank/phone charger.
  • Humor goes a long way with the staff. They are used to panicked, scared and angry people who may say or do things that they shouldn’t.

My experiences with the ER

Once we would go through the triage area and were in a holding room in the ER, it would usually take us 2 or 3 hours before we would be taken upstairs to a room in pediatrics. Depending on what you are there for, the staff usually has to draw blood for the lab, order x-rays, MRIs or CT scans. All of that can take time because there are many other people in the ER who also need labs, x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans. So...you wait.

Bring snacks

During that time, I didn’t want to leave my kid’s bedside because they were so sick. I couldn’t run down the hall to the vending machine, snack bar or cafeteria. That’s when I learned to throw a few things in my purse on the way to the ER. I would pack fruit, granola bars, trail mix, string cheese, nuts – anything I could find to help me keep my strength up. I found that I am better able to talk to the staff and care for my child if my blood sugar is stable. And I am not nearly as cranky!

Don't forget the coffee

These things never seem to happen during the day for us, it’s usually late at night/very early in the morning. So in addition to a snack, it helps to have a little caffeine too!

There is always a parade of people that come in – the registrar that needs my insurance card and a signature, the lab guy, the medical assistant, the nurse, the respiratory therapist and the doctor. But you never know when they are going to pop in your room. So…you wait.

I would pace the floor and watch the oxygen monitor. I would look to see how many liters of oxygen they were on, adjust my kid’s pillow, rub their feet, update to a family member, watch their oxygen level, check the clock (for the 10th time) and have a snack.

Longer hospital stays

Once we met with the doctor, and he confirmed that my child had pneumonia, we would be assigned to a room on the pediatrics floor. That was always a relief because I knew that I was in over my head and could no longer treat their asthma on my own. I needed the hospital, oxygen, the nurse, respiratory therapist, and doctor.

Usually, it would be another 3 days at the hospital. My husband and I would take turns staying there, so one of us could go home and shower, change clothes and grab something to eat. It was much different from being stuck in the ER.

You may not always be admitted to the hospital if you are in the ER, but think ahead – what might you need if you are stuck in the ER for several hours? I have a big purse and always carry medications, tissues, Tylenol or Advil, lip balm, gum, etc. So I had all of those things already, I just needed to throw in a few snacks and a water bottle.

What have you found that helps you when you are in the ER? Share your own story!

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