When Mommy Brain and Medic Student Brain meet.

Working in EMS and going to Medic School you’re taught a variable plethora of things. Blood Glucose Monitors can be used to test for CSF. A woman with back pain could be having a MI. Low bgl’s can mimic a stroke. A kid with a fever and neck pain will probably end up with a spinal tap. All kinds of fun stuff. Over the past year (okay, year and a few months) in school I’ve learned a lot, particularly when is something an emergency vs. when it’s not. (I realize in this paragraph I may be simplifying things a bit)

I think, in general, I’m pretty good at this. I’ve LIVED Medic School since August 2006. I DREAM about it. I basically irritate my family and friends with facts no non-ems person would know. NO ONE will watch any type of medical show with me. Not even ER.

So you would think that this would come in handy when you have children or family members asking you for advice, right? Well, family members, maybe. Kids… Not so much.

One of my babies is sick.

Rewind to last night. It’s after 10pm. The kiddos are in bed. Mr. EpiJunky is watching some football game. I’m looking at pictures of Paris (FRANCE, people... Not that rich bimbo with ties to a certain hotel chain).

Future Cardiologist: “Mom?”

Me: “You should be in bed little boy”

Future Cardiologist: “I’m so cold I can’t stop shaking… But I’m not really cold.”

He’s burning up. Take a temp, it’s 103.1. Here’s where the Medic Student and the Mommy begin to do battle.

Medic Student Brain: Send his butt back to bed with some ibuprofen.

Mommy Brain: (Glares at the Medic Student) Don’t take that tone with me… This is my baby... Who I’m going to send to bed after I give him a hug and his stuffed animal, his fire blanket, and some water and some ibuprofen.

They manage to stay out of each other’s way until the next morning when Future Cardiologist wakes up. He’s on fire. And his back hurts. And his leg hurts.

Medic Student Brain: Guess he needs some more ibuprofen. I need some coffee.

Mommy Brain: HE STILL HAS A FEVER? Tylenol, ice water, cool washcloth and love… STAT!

Medic Student Brain: *Rolls her eyes* Aren’t you being a bit dramatic?

So I load him up on Tylenol, get him some water to drink, a cool washcloth, and his favorite stuffed animal. We set up camp in the living room. I check out his leg, which he says hurts. A few of the bites on his left leg look like they could be infected.

Mommy Brain: YO! Medic Wanna-be… Come here and check out these bites.

Medic Student Brain: *Perks up* Did you say infection? Like sepsis?

Mommy Brain: Go away you sick bitch.

Medic Student Brain: Damn. Guess you’ll be hitting up the pharmacy for some antibiotics, yeah?

An hour and a half later his fever has actually gone up. It’s now 104 point something.

Mommy Brain: I’m calling an ambulance, MY BABY IS GONNA DIE FROM SOME HORRIBLE INFECTION…

Medic Student Brain bitchslaps Mommy Brain into submission and calls Future Cardiologist’s Pediatrician who is as unimpressed as Medic Student Brain is. We wait another hour and a half and give him ibuprofen again on orders from the Pediatrician.

It’s now three in the afternoon. Medic Student Brain is napping on the couch and dreaming of 14 ga angiocaths and adenosine while Mommy Brain freaks the hell out.

Mommy Brain: *biting her nails* Something is not right. His fever should be coming down. And he’s not acting right, even for being sick. In the past when he’s been running a fever he could still run circles around me, and now I can’t even get him to walk to the bathroom from the living room. He doesn’t want to drink anything, He doesn’t want to even *TRY* chicken noodle soup, and he cries at the drop of a hat. He’s burning up. He’s going to have brain damage. He could have meningitis or something.

Medic Student Brain: Did someone say Meningitis?

Mommy Brain: Shut the fuck up.

Medic Student Brain: Fine! You WIN! Call 911 and tell them your baby is febrile and you need a Lifesquad. Better yet, let’s call the bird… We can have him to the hospital in a minute and a half instead of five minutes.

Mommy Brain: You think they would send Lifeflight?

Medic Student Brain: (sarcastically) I’m sure they would for your baby boy. After all, he’s been running a fever for 16 hours. That’s definitely grounds for air transport.

Mommy Brain: This is sarcasm, isn’t it?

Medic Student Brain: Yes, you stupid twat. This is sarcasm. Make sure he’s drinking plenty of water, keep up on his Tylenol, and ii you’re still freaking out in another couple of hours, call his Pediatrician back and see what he says. You know you’re looking for any excuse to see him anyway.

Mommy Brain: Shut up.

Medic Student Brain: I can’t blame you, he has the cutest dimples.

Six pm rolls around and his fever still is hovering around 103.5. Even after multiple doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Mommy Brain: That’s it. He’s going to the ER.

Medic Student Brain: You’re on crack. Kids can handle fever better than adults. And it’s not even at 104. Give him another couple of hours and then call his Pedia—

At this point Mommy Brain snaps and kicks the ever loving shit out of Medic Student Brain. Medic Student is promptly hog tied, gagged and stuffed into a dark damp corner of the garage. Mommy Brain, feeling victorious, loads her precious baby into the SUV and heads off to the local peds ER.

Okay… I realize that the medical folks who might be reading this at this point probably think I’ve lost my mind. But this is my baby we’re talking about. I was very polite to everyone, apologetic even. I felt guilty even asking for a blanket for my 7 year old who was shaking he was shivering so badly. Of course they wouldn’t give him a blanket, they just gave him a sheet. They said it was because of the fever.

A quick sidenote: *I* was even cold. And I was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt.

Here’s where it gets really fun. Fifteen minutes after they give him a gown to change into and a sheet, they take his temperature again. It’s come down considerably. Only 100.7 now. He says he feels better.

Mommy Brain begins to think that all he needed to cure his fever was a trip to the ER. Literally. We could have sat in triage for free, if I had known this would work.

Then I notice something odd. He’s breaking out into hives. EVERYWHERE.

Medic Student Brain: *groggy* Hives?

Mommy Brain: Didn’t I leave you bound, gagged, and UNCONSCIOUS in the garage?

Medic Student Brain: Trauma scissors have many uses, Grasshopper. Now make yourself useful and go get a nurse.

At this point I still feel guilty for bringing my son to the ER for a fever, so I sheepishly approach our very stressed and overworked nurse and let her know that my son is breaking out into hives. She says it’s “probably the gown or the sheets” and lets me know she’ll have the Doctor check him out. I retreat to the room.

At this point Medic Student Brain and Mommy brain join forces.

Medic Student Brain: He’s breathing alright, right?

Mommy Brain: Yes.

Medic Student Brain: And he’s acting alright. Right? He’s not even itching. Look you’re being more of a pain in the ass to him than the hives are, right?

Mommy Brain: Yeah, he’s playing the Gameboy and ignoring me, so I guess he’s okay…

Medic Brain: See… He’s just having a reaction to something… probably in the sheets or gown, as he’s not had anything to eat today and he hasn’t had anything as far as drugs in the last couple of hours… It’ll be okay… just wait for the Doctor to come in… They’ll probably just give him some benedryl and he’ll be fine. See… it’s just hives… it’s okay.

At this point, at least in my head, Medic Student Brain was giving Mommy Brain a back rub.

The Doctor came in, and did exactly what Medic Student Brain thought he would do. He ordered Benedryl. He wasn’t even interested in the fever… In fact he chastised me for bringing my son in for a fever that wasn’t even 105. Seriously… 105? It wasn’t the fact hat he was running a fever of 103 (which granted, was finally beginning to come down once we got to the ER), it was the fact that despite the Tylenol and ibuprofen, it HADN’T come down. Add to that the back pain, some infection, and now a rash with hives.

You’re going to think I’m making this up, but hand to God, as soon as the Doc was finishing up his lecture, Future Cardiologist vomited on his shoes. Medic Student and Mommy Brain exchanged high fives.

Should I have taken him to the ER? It’s hard to say. Future Cardiologist’s Pediatrician called me back later on tonight and said I did everything right (He was checking on us. He’s so sweet. I wonder if he’s single). In reality, my boy’s fever would have come down at home, of course, I didn’t know that at the time I took him in. As a matter of fact it’s now after midnight and his fever was up again an hour ago. At least he’s keeping fluids down again, and the hives are gone thanks to the benedryl. We have a script for keflex for his leg…

So maybe in my case Medic Student Brain and Mommy Brain need to learn to sit around the mental campfire and sing kum-ba-ya, make hobo pies and roast marshmallows and shit. I’m not sure the end result would have been much different, but at least EpiJunky’s head wouldn’t hurt so damn much.

On the other hand, maybe I need to seek help for my obvious multiple personalities.


Fyremandoug said...

Oh trust me on the parent and the EMS life they will fight to the death, well atleast a good bruising

Epijunky said...

I had a feeling that was the case. I guess as long as they can keep each other in check I'll be okay :)

none said...

Damn. I just do the doctor most times if my home remedies don't work.

I know where you are coming from I have my cynical calm logical brain and the protective dad brain.

Glad your kid is doing better

Constance said...

Good Tuesday evening to you, Epijunky !

Glad your little boy is doing better.

Actually, I believe your 'multiple personalities' were all normal in this case.

It's hard not to have the different aspects of your intelligence and love each having a say when your kids are involved...

Probably every mom/nurse out there would say the same goes on in thier heads... and mom/dr., too --

p.s. if you'd like me to put you on my, uh, naughty links, I'd be happy to.
I know you were on my nice girl links from before, and some people were only comfortable there, which I understand.
Please let me know, and thanks for visiting !

Lobing Annie

Anonymous said...

Blood glucose monitor for CSF? Eh?

Epijunky said...

Hammer: I tried the Pediatrician's office first, the nurse directed me to the ER.

Loving Annie: I'll email you :)

Anon: I'm pulling this from a dark cobweb covered part of my brain, but if i remember correctly you take the patient's BGL, get the reading, then run what you suspect is CSF through the meter, if it's CSF it will have a reading that is half the bgl reading.

If that makes sense. I'm a little sleep deprived, so someone correct me if i'm wrong.

Unknown said...

It is always hard to know when to take in kids, and in your case, your EMS mind makes it even harder. I think you made the best decision you could with the information you had.

And seriously, better have an occasional 'maybe wasn't needed' visit to the ER, than miss one when it clearly was needed.

You did great and I hope his fever has come down by now,


david mcmahon said...

Oh, WHAT? No one will watch medical TV shows with you?

NO worries, come and spend a day with us and my kids'll keep you company!

Cheers from Oztralia!

Epijunky said...

Nannyogg: I couldn't agree more. When I was Nick's age I ran a fever for a few days that wouldn't come down. Mom took me into the dr's office twice in four days. Both times they told her I had the flu. Turns out my Appendix had ruptured. Bad bad bad stuff.

David Mcmahon: HEY! I love Australia... My daughter is a huge fan of the Wiggles :) Will your kids let me pick apart medical shows like ER? Either way, I'm there.

lime said...

i can so appreciate the argument the two sides of your brai nhad. what i don't understand is why the pediatrician didn't have youbring the boy in to his office with a fever that was not responding.

glad the kiddo is on the mend.

Deborah Gamble said...

This is so funny! Loved it! Of course, since I am lacking a Medic Brain, Mommy Brain (and Daddy Brain for that matter) would have been to the ER as well.

Epijunky said...

lime: In defense of the pediatrician, by the time he was convinced the fever wasn't coming down it was pretty much closing time at the office. Rather than having us wait until the next day (and having Mommy Brain completely lose it), he felt better having us go to the Peds ER.

Deborah Gamble: Thanks so much for the kind comments, I appreciate it :)

Anonymous said...

Totally cracked me up. And you did the right thing. The best way to help your kid to get better is to fork over your co-pay at the doctor's office or the ER.