Perhaps you think I’ve been neglecting my blog because I’ve been lounging around watching the Grey’s Anatomy premiere on DVR? No, haven’t managed to see that yet (but I must before Thursday). Or maybe you think we whisked away on some relaxing mini-vacation? Nope,not that either. In fact, we’ve been busily finalizing the kitchen plans, including another 5am trip to the Kraftmaid warehouse (which I will write about another time). And then there’s this little tidbit, just so you don’t think that life gets dull around here (oh, what we would give for a little bit of that).
Yesterday after dinner, the boys were chasing a balloon around the living room, diving and laughing hysterically. When Austin hit his head. This is not terribly unusual and it wasn’t a huge deal. He cried and wanted to be held and then complained of a headache and asked for some Tylenol (the only medicine he’s allowed to take because it’s filtered through the liver and not the kidneys like Motrin).
Aware of the recent recall of Children’s Tylenol products, I decided to gather up all our bottles and check them against the lot numbers listed online. So I went through the bathroom cabinets and came away with a whooping five bottles, some opened, some still in their packaging, and brought them to the computer with me. The first thing I read was that the chewable “MeltAways” were not affected by the recall, so I let Austin have the recommended dose. Then, as I proceeded to compare the random strings of letters and numbers on our bottles to those listed on Tylenol’s website, Austin stood next to me playing with one of the bottles. A fact I was oh-so-conveniently ignoring until he cheerfully announced, “Look Mommy! Dink it!” and held up an open, and half empty, bottle of Tylenol.
So much for child-proof caps.
I stayed calm and asked him how much he had. After some prodding, he told me he took three sips. We went upstairs to consult with Mark, who thought it was probably no big deal. I really really wanted it to be no big deal. Trying to tease out just how much he might have had, Mark asked him what he was doing when he drank it, and he said, “Looking at the ceiling.” Uh oh. So I searched “possible Tylenol overdose” and learned a few lovely things: 1) There are usually no symptoms for 24 hours, and 2) By 24 hours, there can be permanent and fatal liver damage.
Alright. Back upstairs again where, I kid you not, I stuck my finger down my child’s throat –multiple times!–in an attempt to make him throw up. No luck. He was crying (duh) and I told him we either had to get the medicine out of his tummy or I’d have to take him to the hospital. He stepped forward and took my finger and put it in his mouth. Ugh, talk about heartbreaking. But even with all his heroics, nothing came up.
And what could I do? I packed a few books and some snacks and drove down to the ER. And, oh my God, we’ve been in the ER many times (too many times), but I have never seen it even close to this crowded before. It was packed, bursting at the seams, with most people in face masks which doesn’t exactly make you feel safe.
But they brought us right in, no time at all in the waiting room, and let us sit in the line of chairs on the back wall since all the rooms were full. After we were seen by an intern, she came back to inform us that, unfortunately, the blood test that detects elevated acetominophin levels can only be administered four hours after consuming the drug. The drug that he had taken a mere hour earlier. And I always thought that sooner was better with that sort of thing!
I asked if we could go home, promising to come back, which she and her attending physician both thought sounded acceptable . . . until they asked the floor nurse, who kindly informed us that because we were their responsibility, we had to stay. But we were welcome to leave the ER and go walk around or sit in the other areas of the hospital, away from potential germs. I saw this as a wink and a nod, and took Austin home for two hours. Mark and I got the kids ready for bed and let Austin fall asleep, before I scooped him back up and drove down that damn hill, one more time, one more time, for the rest of our adventure.
Still, there were no rooms and the nurse eventually took us into the nurses’ break room to draw his blood and then sent us out walking for a half hour while the lab ran the test. I thought (and hoped) that Austin would fall back asleep in my arms but no, he was thrilled to be all alone in the huge hospital hallways and we spent the entire time playing. Finally, finally, as the clock struck midnight and we were back in the ER, the doctor informed me that the acetominophin levels in his blood were nearly undetectable.
Undetectable! Ha. I just shook my head and thanked them all (for everyone was extremely warm and kind depsite the chaos reigning around us) and laughed at myself for the mother I’ve become. They repeatedly assured me I’d done the right thing. Better safe than sorry.
If this kid has nine lives, what are we up to now . . . ?