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When Your Child Goes To The Hospital {a practical guide}

The Cummings Family had quite the week. I was sick Monday and Tuesday, Gavin and Madeline got sick on Thursday and Friday, and my mom, dad, sister and brother in-law have all com down with the same nasty stomach bug yesterday and today. Thankfully Cole is not sick, he has been protected by the Lord and the amazing breast milk.

Sweet Madeline did get sick on Thursday night, and she went downhill quick. It was amazing to see how fast her little body was taken over by illness. She had been sleeping a lot on Thursday so she went to bed a little bit later and didn’t have much of an appetite. I put her in bed at 7:00 and maybe 10 minutes later I heard her crying in her bed and when I went in I found that she had been sick all over her crib. We drew a bath, changed her sheets and within 5 minutes she was sick all over again. Being so little, she was unable to control where anything was going so we found that the best thing was to keep her on her hands and knees on her changing table on a beach towel so I could easily swap it out. By 7:45 she had been sick probably 5 times and was starting to look pale and really weak. We called the after hour care and were able to get her in at 8:30. My mom came and took Cole and I was able to take Mads (because Gavin was starting to get sick). From there they referred her to the ER and eventually she was admitted over night. This is my mom guide to the whole process, I am not a doctor or a medical professional, but this is the information that I have gleaned through this process that I hope to remember as long as I have kids in the home.

The experience wasn’t all bad. She was pleased to have a popsicle for the first time, juice and french fries for lunch. Thankfully she is on the mend and we are thankful for excellent medical care. You never need good insurance until you don’t have it.

When to call/what to look for:

-Crying with no tears

-Rapid fluid loss (either end)

-no interest in drinking

-dry skin or chapped lips

– listlessness (if they are a newborn or infant, laying with their arms and legs flat with no bend)

What to expect:

– When you go to the ER say right off the bat that you need an IV, she is dehydrated. The staff was able to help her more quickly and appreciated me knowing why I was there.

– The nurses might need to try a few times to find a vein, it is sad 🙁

– The hospital will have diapers and wipes

– They will probably use a catheter to get a urine sample

– They will have to take a rectal temperature

– They will take vitals often

– Needless to say, there is a lot of poking going on. They let me sit on the bed with her on my lap the whole time, that allowed me to hold her and help hold her arms.

– They should offer an anti nausea medicine, if not you can ask for it

– It will take a few hours to get labs back and fluids in, then you can ask for juice or a popsicle to help them get rehydrated.

What to take:

-insurance card

-soft blanket (it is comforting for them)

-a bottle or sippy cup that they like to use (they need to drink on their own to go home; they might not like the hospital issued cups)

-phone charger

– clothes to take them home in (theirs will be covered in vomit or diarrhea) Mads had to go home in a hospital gown.

-Things for the mom (a clean shirt, toothbrush, dry shampoo, deodorant, etc)

Things to consider:

-It was hard to transport a toddler that is throwing up when you are by yourself! Putting her in the car, I realized she can’t hold a container and could potentially throw up everywhere! I put a towel all over here and put an empty wipes container in her lap. I only had to go right around the corner so I took a risk.

-If your child sucks their thumb, ask the nurse to avoid putting an IV on that arm if possible. Madeline ripped hers out because she couldn’t get to her thumb, which is really comforting to her. They also have a sleeve they can put over the IV spot which made it harder for her to get to.

– It was really nice to have her admitted because they were able to keep her hydrated. As soon as she had fluids she started coming back to life, she was still not feeling great, but it was nice to see her starting to act like herself. She wasn’t drinking so it was nice to know that she was getting the fluids that she needed and watch her oxygen levels and stuff like that. She was not able to rest at the hospital, so it was nice when we were able to get her home, she has slept a TON since she was brought home.

-Ask the hospital staff if they were able to contact your pediatrician and call them yourself just to be sure. There was a miscommunication and our pediatrician wasn’t called, we had called earlier, he was not pleased to say the least that the hospital hadn’t called to let him know she was admitted.

-If you are breastfeeding they will provide you with a pump and will store your milk for you.

-If your child doesn’t know how to drink from a straw, it would be good to have them practice. In the ER they only have straws and cups and they will ask them to drink… hard to do it they can’t drink from the straw. Madeline needs to up her skills :-/

– The hospital will provide a meal tray for parents, eat at your own risk. Most of it was fine, but there was one meal…

-When you get home have bland food on hand and lots of fluids. Madeline has had lots of bananas, canned pears, oatmeal, rice cereal, apple sauce, Pedialyte, chicken, noodles, etc.