With great power parenting comes great responsibility. (Thanks Spidey. I always knew that quote would come in handy one day.) We are responsible for the safety and well being of our offspring and it's our duty to try and grow these children into happy, healthy productive members of society. Which means, for the most part, keeping them out of the klink, off the stripper poles and well, alive.
My track record for the alive part isn't the greatest, but I'm working hard on the happy productive part of the deal. Two out of three and all that jazz.
Every parent will at one point experience a health scare with their child, whether it's a broken arm, a split chin or a dangerous fever. It comes with the territory of raising wee ones. They like to test our internal fortitude by scaring the dickens out of us with midnight vomit sessions and jumping out of trees whenever they can. Kids can't help it. It's hardwired into their DNA to age us prematurely.
As the parent to two disabled children (and yes, the dead kid still counts) I've had more than my fair share of health scares. Between the older healthy children falling out of bunkbeds and splitting their chins open and trying to slice their thumbs off while peeling apples and the younger children deciding to spontaneously stop breathing and aspirating their own body fluids so they start to drown in their own lungs, I've seen the inside of the pediatric emergency room more times than I care to count.
When I showed up yesterday with the Jumbster, the nurse asked if I had a frequent flier card. Because gallows humor is sometimes the only thing that will keep a panicking mother from having her head pop off and explode into a cloud of confetti.
Luckily for my family, this particular emergency did not end up with me walking out with only a plastic bag containing my child's clothing instead of my actual child. I'm hoping that is a scene never to be repeated. No parent should ever experience that horror.
However, every parent should know what to expect when faced with a sudden emergency and have the tools to handle what will likely be a very stressful situation. I know I would have appreciated it if someone had written a guidebook to parenting during medical crises. A list of do's and don'ts to help tiptoe your child and your sanity back to health, if you will.
Since no one else seems to be stepping up to fill this need, I'd thought I'd offer my valuable insight and considerable knowledge to the parenting public. All for the low, low price of well, nothing. Because I'm cheap and I know you are all cheap and well, like attracts like. (However, my husband would like me to add if you have any unused or unwanted Canadian Tire money you are more than welcome to forward it my way.)
Tanis's Top Ten Tips To Survive A Medical Emergency.
- If you're in charge of your child's safety while the other parent has to leave to take care of business and your child manages to injure themselves when they are supposed to be in bed (and you were playing video games) don't neglect to mention the accident to the other parent when they call to check in. Otherwise, you may accidentally run into said other parent at a gas station after you squired your child to the Emergency room to get sewn up. And no child will be able to resist pointing out his/her's new war wound to their other parent while bragging about how the injury occurred. This will not cast you in a good light, especially when it's revealed that you bribed said child with ice cream in exchange for a promise not to tell Mommy.
- If offered the choice between riding in the back of the ambulance with your unconscious and/or unaware child or following behind in your vehicle, chose the later if at all possible. If it won't upset your child, it's easier to have your own wheels available so you won't be stranded at the hospital upon your child's eventual discharge. Also, riding in the back is much the same as being bounced around inside a giant tin bread box. You won't be able to stand up straight for a week.
- If you do ride along in the ambulance with your child, don't ask the paramedic if they'll stop so you can buy a slurpee. Even if your child is just being transported for an appointment and it's not an actual emergency, paramedics tend to get all sensitive and touchy when treated like over-paid cab drivers.
(For the record, I was only joking. I didn't actually expect them to make the pit stop, but if they had I would have generously ponied up and treated them to their own slurpees too.)
- Refrain from making jokes when surrounded by other panicked parents in a waiting room who are unaccustomed to medical emergencies. It tends to freak them out and as a cranky old nurse will remind you, "Not everyone enjoys black humour, Tanis." The smarter option is to remain silent while shooting sympathetic looks to the other parents and save your good material for the person you know will appreciate it. Like your kid's doctor.
- Always be prepared for the unexpected. And by that I mean, there is always a crazy old man wandering around in a hospital gown with his arse cheeks hanging out. The sight of which will either burn your retinas or send you into hysterical giggles at an inopportune time. Forewarned is forearmed, I say.
- Never call a young doctor Doogie Howser, no matter how young they look or how badly you are itching to do it. All it does is highlight how old you really and make the professional responsible for healing your child think you are an idiot.
- Apparently hospital hallways are not an appropriate place for wheelchair drag racing. No matter how much it makes your child or yourself giggle.
- Sometimes you must leave your child alone, to go to the washroom or to grab a cup of coffee. Don't feel bad about this. Try playing some of your children's favourite music off your iTouch while you're gone. Just make sure to check if your playlist has any inappropriate music on it. Other wise you may come back to your kid's room freshly caffeinated only to discover your child's surgeon, nurse and medical resident staring at you in horror as your child rocks out to the Flight of the Conchords Mutha Uckers.
- Pudding cups and jello always taste better in a hospital setting.
- On occasion you will cross paths with a very attractive doctor/nurse/professional involved in your child's care. Try to keep your tongue in your mouth. If you find yourself blushing like a school girl, well, welcome to my club. Try not to flirt. Or at least do it better than I have ever managed. Because you are already dealing with a stressful situation as your child recovers. You don't need to be humiliated by a hot Doogie Howser who just killed your ego as he heals your child while you're at it.
There you have it. The best tips to surviving your child's health crisis. It really is a bit of a mystery why people aren't beating down my door for more advice, isn't it?
Have any tips of your own to share? Let me know. Because I'm fairly positive Jumby is going to keep me on my toes and I need to be on my A-Game for him.