Do you have things that you have lived through, that you never think about? Simply just to avoid the pain of it? I have a few of them. This one has recently been dredged up. I have discovered that I can think about it without too much grief. I thought I would share. There is a lesson, or two or three, to be learned and maybe, just maybe it will save someone else pain.
When my daughters were 3 and 2 we headed to Long Beach for the summer. My husband had procured a internship, so we would spend the 8 weeks there with him, living with my in laws. We drove two cars. Me with the kids, and my husband by himself. All in one day. When we arrived, I was dead. Driving for that long does bad things to me. I was tired. I was grumpy. My children were not. All the pent up energy of being in the car all day burst out as they got out of the car, and even after a swim in the pool and many games of tag, house and overzealous rounds of hugging with their cousins, they were still ready to stay up and play. I put them to bed anyway. I put them to bed and headed outside to the hot tub with my husband and some friends. I should have realized that they wouldn't stay in bed. That they would be too excited to sleep. That they would go exploring. Right into Grandpa's bathroom, where he kept his sleeping pills for the night on the counter in a paper cup.
The two year old saw those pills and popped them right in her mouth. But, according to my three year old, she said they were "yucky" and spit them back into the sink. Grandpa found them right about then, sent them back to bed and came to tell us what had happened. I ran in the house and called poison control. Isn't that what you are supposed to do?
I called, I explained. I gave the name of the medication and the dosage, her age and weight. The man on the line said that the dosage was small enough that it wouldn't hurt her and it would just make her tired. So we put her to bed.
Sometime, hours later, I could hear screaming. Inconsolable. I turned over and realized my husband was gone. I figured he had it under control. I rolled over and fell back asleep. Shortly, he came in with the screamer. She was telling us all about the dragons and rainbows she was seeing. (She was a very articulate two year old.) In short, she was hallucinating. It took hours to calm her, and only by taking her in the den, the only room in the house that got completely dark, was I able to get her to go back to sleep.
The next morning, all was not well. I called poison control again. I explained the situation again. The woman on the line said that the medication should have worked it's way out of her system by now. This was the moment I decided to go to the ER.
We checked in, and were rebuked at every turn.
"Why didn't you bring her in last night?"
"Poison control doesn't know what they are talking about, half the time."
"We could have helped her last night, but now. . ."
Four long hours later, the ER doctor gave us paperwork about the particular medication that our daughter had ingested. "The medication has a half life of 30 hours." Meaning, that it would be coursing through her system for the next week. Not only that, but in such medications, they often have the opposite effect on small children. Sleep did not come easily that week.
That being said, after hours of being corralled in a small ER cubicle, she finally fell asleep in my arms. The doctor had gone to get her discharge papers. And when she came back, she announced that before we left the nurse would need to take my daughter's rectal temperature. I just stared in disbelief, and may have been a bit impolite. But, I have to admit, it was a fitting end to a horrid day.