I’ve been a mother for almost 2 years now, and my gray hair is coming in faster than ever as my daughter enters the terrible twos stage. (Or is she just a diva and I’m just in denial?)
But nothing, nothing
is tougher to deal with than a sick child, no matter how old your son or daughter is. It sucks, especially when it gets to that point when you’re like, "oh sh*t," that fever, that cough, that pain, you name it, won’t go away and you don’t know what the hell to do.
When our little girl's temperature started climbing over 103 at 4 am last Sunday, and she was crying hysterically, curling up in a little ball holding her tummy, we knew we couldn’t make the owies go away on our own. This led to an epic day at the children's hospital waiting room and then urgent care clinic — from 5 am to 5 pm — that we don't want to relive, ever.
There’s a happy healing ending to this — she finally beat the fever due to an infection that is now being treated with a 10-day course of antibiotics — but her father and I learned a lot from our day there.
First off, we hope you’ll never have to rush your child to the hospital, but if you do, here’s our Parent Survival Guide for those occasions. You see…you’re going to hope (or think) that you’ll be gone for just a few hours, but it’s not always the case.
Your "In Case of Emergency" Essentials
Pack a few toys and books.
There usually are some at most doctor’s offices and hospitals, but familiar ones should bring your child some comfort and make it seem like a fun outing instead of a dreaded doctor visit.
Bring your phone charger or power pack.
Chances are, you’re going to do a lot of waiting around: Waiting to see the nurse, then a room, then a doctor, then a nurse again and on. We spent 4 ½ hours just to get a room. Yikes. So you’ll need to keep that kid of yours (and yourself) entertained and alert.
Pack some snacks for all of you.
See above. You’re gonna get hungry. The cafeteria may/may not be open when you’re there, and there may/may not be a vending machine. You just don’t know, so pack your child’s favorite snacks in your bag, and don’t forget yourself, either. If not for the apples, graham crackers and breakfast bars we brought with us we would’ve passed out.
Or not only will you look
sh*tty, you’ll feel
sh*tty, too, if you don’t drink fluids. So bring some water or juice.
Bring 3 changes of happy clothes for your kid.
I usually have a backup set of clothes in the car for her, but thankfully I packed more than that since I was just in a rush I threw a ton of stuff in my bag. Food, rejected medicine, juice spills, throw up…yeah, that all ended up on her or her dad, but we had clothes to change her into. And not just any clothes, we chose the cheeriest of items to keep her spirits up: animal print anything does the trick.
Bring a blanket or one of those blow-up head cushions.
Those hospital chairs and couches aren’t for sleeping, but it’s worth trying.
Think happy thoughts and try not to fight.
Super important! When you’re exhausted and your child is miserable, it’s hard to stay positive and cope, but you have to. My husband and I certainly had our breaking points during our 12-hours escapade, but if we got snippy at each other it just made things worse.
Have a Happy Thoughts playlist handy.
Music soothes, as you know. If you don’t have your own mix to calm that sick kid or your nerves, check out Rockabye’s playlists
Remember the hospital staff is on a 12-hour shift, too, or longer.
So remember the tip above. Honestly, the doctor we saw that day sucked…at first. He scared our daughter more than he comforted her because he came into our room in a bad mood and she totally picked up on it and cried her head off. But he warmed up hour after hour — maybe he realized we weren’t going away anytime soon (or he heard us talking smack) — and came in with bubbles and stickers as peace offerings.
Bring cash. To bribe the staff for better treatment.
No, just kidding, or am I
? My cousin actually kept a stash of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in his hospital room drawer that he’d share with the staff and it did win him some favors. In our case, cash was good to have for vending machines and the parking lot exit gate, which didn’t take credit cards.
Do you have any In Case of Emergency tips?