Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh, no. We're "those people".

On Saturday, I heard Natalie wake up from her afternoon nap. I went upstairs to find her with her head smushing into a mound of vomit. It was pretty gross. I am a sympathetic puker, I find vomit so very disgusting that there are no words to describe it. I was able to hold it together enough to clean her up and take care of the bedding, but I was horrified. I took her downstairs and she started playing, acting like her normal self, so I assumed that she had just eaten too much right before going to bed (we just got these reusable baby food pouches and they are awesome. My only worry is that she overeats, she sucks it down so fast!). I offered her a sippy cup of water (making sure she didn't get dehydrated) and began washing the dishes only to turn around a few moments later to see Natalie throwing up again. So I put away the sippy cup and figured she should lay off anything for a little while. She resumed her normal play and a little while later, while playing with her toys in the living room, she threw up again. Again, she returned to her play and seemed otherwise unbothered, so I didn't worry much. Later that evening, I picked up Micah from the train and we were both starving and I hadn't prepared dinner, so we swung by steak and shake on our way home. Bad idea. Natalie threw up yet again while we were there. So, we headed home and settled her down to sleep around 8:30. She woke up around 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 throwing up. The latter two times, her vomit was green, which is on the list of "call your doctor if" scenarios, because bringing up bile might indicate that a blockage is preventing it from its usual path from the liver to the gallbladder to the small intestine. So, I called the nurse hotline and a while later Natalie's Pediatrician's nurse called back and told us to go to the hospital. Natalie had gone back to sleep and so I asked if it would be better to just let her rest and go in the morning if the vomiting continued. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. Throwing up is pretty common, and she wasn't showing any signs of dehydration yet. She told me that we should go right away, just in case of the possibility of a blockage.

So, shortly after midnight, we found ourselves checking in at Scottish Rite Pediatric Hospital just down the road. Natalie threw up in the waiting room, which was good- at least she didn't make a liar out of us. Nothing worse than taking a sick child to the doctor only for the child to suddenly stop exhibiting the symptoms that you were worried about! After some paperwork and measurements, pokes and prods, she was eventually given a pill to treat the nausea, a bottle of pedialyte and we were sent on our way with a diagnosis of a stomach virus. The doctor gave us a prescription for Zofran- the anit-nausea pills- and said that if she didn't need it, we should hang onto the medicine in case we caught the virus and needed it for ourselves. He went on about how it was a very safe drug, blah, blah, blah... After the pill, she didn't throw up again and, except for being very tired, all of us have been just fine since.

As we drove home, Micah talked about his thoughts while we were at the hospital. I don't think either of us were very worried, since we knew that there was probably nothing unusual wrong with Natalie. Micah spent the hours wondering if we were "those people"- you know, the ones that we ideologically condemn, who take unnecessary trips to the ER in the middle of the night for a hangnail and, because Natalie has medicaid, cause the price of healthcare to rise for others. He reflected and decided that he wouldn't have done differently and wouldn't want anyone else in our situation to have done differently in the same situation. There was a small possibility that something serious could have been wrong. And the nurse told us to go. I won't feel too obligated to pay it forward by growing up, getting really good insurance and then going to the ER a ton to help balance their costs and expenses.

My main thought reflecting upon all of this: Why aren't there otc anti-nausea medicines for infants?  Especially after the doctor said Zofran is so safe ("we give 10x the regular dosage to chemotherapy patients, and they're fine"). It worked right away, but it would have been a lot easier and faster if I could have just picked it up at CVS without having to run to the hospital in the middle of the night and wait around for 2 hours just to get it from a doctor. Harumph.

But anyways, there you have it. Our first time dealing with a really sick baby. May I not have to clean up puke for at least 3 more years....


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  2. ....and there you have it in a nutshell, Sarah. I mean Micah's musings. You are right to question why not have treatment available at CVS. It is not the health care, and not that anyone wants to deny the health care to anyone (despite how the media may paint cruel, heartless republicans). But the challenge is in the distortions in the "delivery system." Some competition would go a long way toward figuring out more cost effective ways of delivering health care. But, for that to happen, the government has to butt out.... There must be allowance to do different things, try alternate methods and eliminate all the mandates which the government forces insurance to pay for. All that social direction sustains the upward spiral...