Grateful for Long ER Waits

I spent 5.5 hours in the emergency department (ED) for my 2.5 year old on Saturday. Three and a half of those hours were in the waiting room. We went to the pediatric urgent care first at 10:20am, and the doctor was concerned about her slightly low oxygen level and the way her lungs sounded. She told me to take her to Emergency to be evaluated there, with a potential for admission. I took her and her sisters home and arranged for someone to come watch the older girls.

We’d arrived in the ED at 12:20pm. The nurse triaged us at 1:05pm. Her oxygen was better, and the triage nurse didn’t think she sounded too bad. We were finally roomed just before 4pm. They hooked her up to a continuous oxygen monitor to make sure her level was sustaining over 90%, which it did. About 5pm, she had a chest X-ray taken. It showed diffuse pneumonia, but her vitals looked really good. The doctor confirmed that we don’t live far from the hospital and I shared that my husband is a critical care nurse and that I am a nurse as well. The doctor seemed assured by that new information and we agreed I could take her home on oral antibiotics. He said we should have a low threshold for returning to the ER, if there was any change in her condition, we should return immediately. With that, we were discharged at 6pm.

Our next adventure was to the pharmacy. Recently, our insurance decided we could no longer go to one of the major pharmacies. This was extremely frustrating because they have a 24-hour drive through in their downtown location. The new pharmacy near our house closes at 6pm, so we had to go across town to their 24hr store, which does not have a drive through option. Super un-fun to take my super sick kid in a store and wait 30 minutes for her prescriptions.

When I go to pay for the prescriptions, turns out they filled them just before closing at the store closer to my house, and billed the insurance, so I either had to pay out of pocket $45, instead of $6, or wait until morning to go to the pharmacy where they’d been filled. Starting antibiotics 12 hours later could be the difference between my kid getting better or my kid getting admitted to the hospital. I paid the $45.

My little decides she’s hungry, and I was hungry, so we grabbed fast food. Though, she didn’t eat because she fell asleep. We finally arrived home after 8pm. She’d fallen asleep and it took both my husband and I cajoling her and bribery with candy to get her to take the 2 antibiotics she’d been prescribed.

In the waiting room in the ER, and in the pharmacy, I started to get frustrated at times, but, being in healthcare, I know how fortunate I am, so instead of being impatient, I started thinking about all the things I am grateful for.

I am grateful for:

1. Family and Friends. Because when I didn’t get ahold of my MIL or my mom immediately, I could think of at least 10 people I could call to watch the older girls so I would not have to wait with 1 sick kid and two extremely bored kids.

2. Primary Care. Because I know the best place to go for the average cold is a primary care doctor (or urgent care if it’s after hours). Normally, we make an appointment and wait only minutes to be seen. Some people only access care through the ER, which is not ideal for many reasons, including hours long wait times.

3. Health Insurance. Because when it was deemed necessary for her to go to the ER, I didn’t think twice about how I would pay for it. I was able to focus on my sick child instead.

4. Financial means: Because when the co-pay for the prescriptions was much more than I’d expected, I had a card to cover the cost. We are in a ton of debt, which we are working to get out of, but we are secure in our jobs and in our ability to produce an income.

5. Doctors, Nurses, X-ray techs (etc). Because even though I know they are crazy busy, they were patient, gentle, and caring.

5. Last, but now least: Long ER waits. Because waiting a long time means my kid isn’t critical, and the kids who are critical, are getting the care they need first. Because I know that of my baby was in distress, we wouldn’t have had to wait.

I intend for this blog to be about my weight-loss journey… and this is about that. Life happens and I hadn’t planned for my day to end with fast food. Six months ago, I would have made that mean that I failed and will never succeed at losing weight. Instead, it meant nothing more than a meal that wasn’t ideal. I got right back on track Sunday and yesterday. That is a win. Finding resources that have helped me get in a better head space, is one more thing for which, I am grateful!

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