Friday, January 11, 2013

PSA #3: Poison Control and Managing Panic

Do you have the phone number for Poison Control in an easy-to-access place? 

This number? 1-800-222-1222

In the past few years, I've had to call poison control three times, the most recent being last Saturday, and I am thankful that I had the number easily accessible, in the form of a magnet on the refrigerator.

*Reader Tip: Also add it to your contacts in your cell phone. (Thanks, H.T.!)

The first time I called because Connor thought it would be a good idea to guzzle blue raspberry-scented bubble solution like he was doing keg stands at some kid frat party. Since bubbles are basically just soap, I figured it was fine but was concerned about what was used to make the bubbles smell good. Poison Control said that this wasn't a big deal. So aside from a blue mouth, there were no effects from that asshattery.

The second time, either Connor or Brandon thought that eating hydrocortisone cream was a brilliant thing to do. (Who does that? My kid...) Poison Control also said this was no big deal, especially since he didn't consume an entire tube, maybe 1/4 of an ounce or so. And that some diarrhea might follow.

This third time, I found Brandon sitting next to an open baggie of adult ibuprofen tablets that he lifted out of his dad's work bag that was sitting on our kitchen counter. Did you just cringe or gasp? Yeah... 

I did my best to get out of a two-year-old, who thinks it's all fun and games, what he did with the pills, but the exact same question asked twice received different answers. "Did you put these in your mouth?" "Yesh." [big smile] "Did you put these in your mouth?" "No." [giggle giggle] "Did you swallow the pills?" "Yesh." [giggle giggle] "Did you swallow the pills? "No." 

Damn it. Damn two-year-olds.

While trying to tamper down my panic (I kept reminding myself that I needed to think, not flip out) eventually it dawned on me to go wake up Nate (he's not lazy like me; he works late shifts) and ask him if he knew how many were originally in the bag. He didn't know exactly, but determined that there had been, at most, just a few more. We decided that Brandon probably had eaten no more than 3 pills, if he had actually eaten any at all. 

I looked at how many mgs are in Brandon's dose of children's ibuprofen (100), and compared to the potentially 600 that he may have eaten, decided to call Poison Control.

Thankfully, after asking his age and weight, they said that I shouldn't be concerned unless he had taken 15 or more pills, which there's no way he got that many. They said he might experience some stomach upset and to make sure that he eats or drinks to "pad" his stomach.

There's not much that makes me feel like a shittier parent than having to call Poison Control. Even though I was literally right there with each kid each time they pulled their nonsense, they are so freaking fast, and I always feel like the person on the other end of the line is thinking, "Jesus, is this "mom" drunk? WHO LETS THEIR KID AROUND EFFIING IBUPROFEN TABLETS/EAT HYDROCORTISONE CREAM/DRINK BUBBLES?"

Even though each time, the person on the other end of the line has always been extremely nice and sounds completely without judgment.

So put that number in a handy place, you really never know when you might need it. 

1-800-222-1222

Also, when in moments of extreme stress, constantly remind yourself to think. Remind yourself that your kid needs you to think and needs you to take action. By constantly telling yourself that, it forces you to focus on thinking about what to do, instead of losing your mind to panic. The second you start to feel your focus slipping and the helplessness set in, remind yourself to think.

Trust me, it works. When Brandon was a baby, about 8 or 9 months old, I had been holding him for about five minutes when he suddenly started doing these convulsive gags and stopped breathing. My first impression was that he was choking, but I had been holding him for the previous five minutes and he had put nothing in his mouth. While I was trying to figure out what was wrong with him and what to do, he was turning grayish blue. It was clear that my baby's life was in extreme danger, and I was on the verge of flipping out but kept reminding myself to think about my options, to think about what to do. After each option as to what could be wrong with him was rapidly considered and discarded in my mind (Virus? Seizure?), as the hopelessness built, I just kept reminding myself to keep thinking or he was going to die. 

I wanted to call 9-1-1 but my instincts told me that to take the time to do that would be fatal because help wouldn't get there in time. He needed me to do something right now, but I still needed to get help on the way. Even though I hadn't seen Brandon put anything in his mouth, I flipped him over on his belly so that my hand was pushing into his diaphragm, angled his body head-down, and started whacking him on his back, all while yelling at Ethan to go wake up Daddy. As Ethan ran down the hall, Brandon started throwing up, and the vomit was mixed with blood. Nate came out of the bedroom and I was starting to tell him to call 9-1-1 when a jagged chunk of plastic that had broken off of a cheap toy came out with some vomit and Brandon started breathing again.

Hole. E. Shit.

Brandon had kept that piece of crap in his mouth for over five minutes, then suddenly decided to swallow it and nearly choke to death. And cut up his throat, too.

So, the bottom line: Remind yourself to focus and to take action. Over and over until the situation is resolved. It may seem like reminding yourself over and over would be distracting but it's not; it's focusing. Just keep swimming thinking. 

And then when all is well again, drink some wine or take a shot to calm the massive post-adrenaline-rush shaking.



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23 comments:

  1. I have my Mother of the Year Poison Control moment one morning just over a year ago. Our morning routine went something like this at the time: (1) hubs and I wake up, (2) hubs goes to 18mo old son's room to get him dressed, while (3) I go downstairs and make coffee, feed the cat, and pull out some milk and cereal for the kid.

    Well, this particular morning, I was behind. Hubs and kid were already downstairs, and I was still trying to get the cat fed with nary a drop of caffeine in sight. I was in a fog, and really just trying to survive going through the motions. The cat, over 15 years old, had serious arthritis, so he was on liquid pain meds that I would give him via syringe to the mouth every morning before feeding.

    I don't know what the hell I was thinking (clearly I wasn't), but that morning, instead of putting the syringe to the cat's mouth and giving it to him, I GAVE IT TO MY SON INSTEAD. And he just stood there, gave me this funny look, and swallowed it. I realized JUST as the plunger was all the way down what I had done and screamed for the hubs to call poison control.

    Luckily, the dosage was for a cat about half the weight of our son, and it wasn't an opiate or anything like that, so poison control said he'd be just fine. But honestly... if you ever worry about what your kid ate during that two seconds you looked away, just remember the lady who gave her kid cat meds. I feel guilty to this day.

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    1. OH DEAR GOD! I'm so happy the medication was harmless! Now stop beating yourself up. And place a coffeemaker next to your bed. ;-)

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    2. OMG. That sounds like something I would do while not under the influence of caffeine.

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    3. I could see doing that. I've been known to jiggle a 12-pack of soda while cradling it, as if it were a newborn (more than once).

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  2. Great post.

    When H fractured his leg (and during every other emergency) ADD Daddy shut. the. fuck. down. I always have to figure it out on my own, which is nice so there aren't two people trying to fix something at once. I, on the other hand, go into paramedic mode without an ounce of panic. He just can't handle the thought of the kids being hurt. It is actually really sweet.

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    1. Thank you! And way to be with the paramedic mode and keeping your cool. Hopefully I don't have to experience that mode in a couple of months, but it's good to know that you'll be able to handle it if shit happens! Oh wait... you'll be drinking. Shit. And here's to hoping that your kids never have an emergency when alone with Daddy!

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  3. Great post. my hubby flips out if he even things something is about to happen, but I suspect (hope that) it would be different if I wasn't there. I like your plan, because that's exactly right. you gotta think

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    1. Thank you! And I, too, hope that your hubby pulls his shit together if something ever happened!

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  4. Elizabeth, I adore you! I had to call the poison control three times with Josh too, and was scared the third time that they might actually send out CPS or someone to investigate me for child endangerment! The first time I had to call Josh was when he was about nine months old. I was holding him while talking on the phone and he grabbed a container of acne wipes, and drank some of the liquid! He was fine, as barely any went into his mouth, but yikes! The second time, he was a little over one y/0 & I was using spray window cleaner inside of the house. The in-laws arrived (hence the cleaning of the INSIDE of the windows haha), and I went to let them in. I come back into the living room, and Josh is happily squirting away big streams of the window cleaner into his mouth. Luckily it was one of those hippy cleaners, and really only contained vinegar, so again..he was fine. Third time, he was around 3, and ate a bunch of wild flowers growing the back yard, which as it turned out were actually edible, phew! I love your blog sweet girl!
    xx Kelly F

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    1. Oh Kelly, you're too sweet! Wow, didn't you ever give Josh stuff to eat or drink? Poor kid... having to shoot acne wine liquid and window cleaner and eat flowers... ;-)

      Hey you know what, Kelly? I adore you, too! I miss our rides home together.

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  5. I'm freaking out FOR you Elizabeth!! Thank God everyone is okay! I'm putting Poison Control on speed dial now.

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    1. YEAH, Teri! Although, hopefully, your girls are older and wiser at this point!

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  6. I totally added the number to my phone. Something HAS to happen.

    I deserve it. lol.

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  7. My two eldest boys swallowed rubbing alcohol a year apart. (I swear I put it up way higher after the first incident.) I'm also convinced the woman at Poison Control remembered me when I called the second time. My third call to Poison Control came a couple of years later when my preschooler swallowed a few of my birth control pills. I thought he got mostly placebos, but you can never be too sure. I was told he would be fine. Boy, that one cracked up the ladies at daycare. Son #3 is almost four and I haven't had to call for him once. I guess there's still time. (I haven't retired the cupboard safety locks yet.)

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    1. Oh my gosh! Glad everyone was okay! Good luck with son #3.

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  8. I need a shot just after reading this...jeezus! I need to find something about rainbows and unicorns to read before bed...

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    1. Sorry to make you want to drink! ;-) Thank you again for all of your copyright help last night!

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  9. Sometimes it's seriously a good thing to spend too much time reading blogs. The other day a dad blogger re-posted an article about a little girl who died after a dresser fell over on her. Tragic. And now my next project is securing all of our dressers, bookshelves, etc., to the wall.

    And now I have poison control in my phone. My daughter will probably live past 5, now. After that, we're not responsible anymore, right?

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    1. SEE? Bloggers: saving the world, one post at a time!

      Yep, after 5, we're absolved of any responsibility. It's the magic age.

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  10. My kids have eaten the following: deadly nightshade berries, cigars, ladybugs, weed killer, a container of chewable calcium, and many others. i hate calling about it all, because...i just look irresponsible. Lordy. We're gonna survive having kids, right?

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    1. Holy shit! I mean, yes, we ARE going to survive having kids. I think.

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  11. Howdy, is that your one and only portal or you personally have others?

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