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Eye-Opening 1st Trip to the ER with the Kiddos!

Not having to make a trip to the ER until your kid is practically 6 years old is pretty good, huh?

Hubby and I count ourselves lucky that we have never had to rush our kids to the local Emergency Room (which, in our case, is JSUMC) at any time in their lives: no broken bones, no car or bike crashes -- knock on wood -- no asthma or allergy attacks...Nothing has ever seemed that urgent enough to us or a pediatrician, until a couple weeks ago, when THIS happened.

Short story: the kids were roughhousing in the living room, jumping and wrestling on the couch -- something they know they're not supposed to do and have been oft-scolded for doing so. Somehow my daughter (yep!) kicked her brother in the face. Our 4.5 year old was quick to cry self-defense, and of course, my soon-to-be-6-year-old cried foul, "I didn't do anything!" Whatever, says mom; the end result was his eye swelled up huge, and fast. The photo above is from maybe 5 minutes after the 'incident.' Dylan couldn't even open his eye, but shockingly he was pretty composed and no major tears.

Dad and I quickly called an urgent care place, but they were closing in 5 minutes. This happened at 7:50pm. So we kind of both looked at each other, declaring, "Guess we're headed to the hospital!" [This entire evening was even more surreal and coincidental because only minutes before I had arrived home from a Meridian Health annual report meeting. I was just in a large room with who-knows-how-many Meridian docs, and minutes later I would find my family being cared for at a Meridian facility!] 

And here is the point of this blog post...I had no idea what to expect with an ER visit!  The last time my son was at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, he was born!

So, onto the ER we went. I drove in one car with my daughter, and hubby drove our son. On the way I literally called a close mommy friend and said, "I feel like an idiot not knowing this, but is there a separate pediatric entrance?" I had no clue! Turns out (of course), you walk in to the regular ER, get your wristband after handing insurance info to attendant, and they send you off to the left, which is the pediatric ER. Separate waiting room, separate exam rooms, all kid-friendly and all just kids, which was instant relief.

We were in and out in about 3 hours. The pediatric ER physician was AMAZING. He was funny, personable, and put my stress at ease. They tested his retina for damage (none!), and ordered X-rays to make sure he didn't have an orbital fracture. They also provided my son (and daughter) with coloring books and crayons, and the nurses were awesome.  We even made friends with another 2-year old who was there with his parents (waiting for a penny to come out after swallowing it). Us parents all seemed to not be freaking, which was a definite plus, because my kids would have certainly fed off any visible anxiety I was putting out. In fact, Dylan felt super comfy in his exam room bed;  check him out, just chillin'!

The X-ray technician was also great and let me go back with Dylan (that was something I was worried about, if they would just 'take him away'). No broken eye socket...double phew!

The doctor sent us home with a note for school explaining Dylan didn't need any restrictions, and to call if anything changed, and sent us on our way with a few high-fives.

Overall, it was a very positive experience for a frightening night. This was our tough-guy a few days later with his nice-and-purple shiner. (And, maybe this comes with a mental note for him to never mess with his sister!)

Now, we know where to park, where to walk in, and what to do if we ever need to take the kids to the hospital again. I just hope we never have to do that!

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Comment by Sheila Hill on August 2, 2016 at 10:47pm

Hope he's fully recovered by now. We've been to the ER at JSUMC many times and have had nothing but positive experiences.

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