We Survived The Gastro Bug Of 2011

13 Feb

It has been quite a week, one in which both kids made it to the Emergency Room at our local hospital. James’ visit resulted in an overnight stay, which left me feeling exhausted and sick myself. With George, we were luckier. His condition, while similar to James’, was less severe and did not call for any needles or IV lines. We were seen by a really nice doctor, and then sent home with strict instructions on how to orally administer fluids.

Most parents of boys aged 5 and 7 have seen the inside of an E.R. at least once. With this latest visit, James has now clocked up four visits (3 months: hair wrapped around toe so tightly that said toe was turning purple; 2 years: hand placed on rapidly moving treadmill belt resulting in the loss of several layers of skin; 3 years: arm pulled out of joint at elbow by big brother; 5 years: severe dehydration).

George has been somewhat luckier in this regard, having only needed to visit the E.R. on two occasions. This is a good thing – I cannot describe how good. James takes stuff like this in his stride. Sure, he cried when the IV line was put in place on Wednesday night, and he cried when I explained to him that we would be in the hospital overnight instead of going home, but when these things happen, he understands that the doctors are there to make him better. George has a much harder time. His autism makes him resistant to changes in routine, new places, unfamiliar people, and strange smells.

Doctors’ offices are bad enough. Hospital E.R.’s have the ability to send him right over the top. It is a good thing that George has managed to stay healthy and relatively injury-free.

The first E.R. visit, the day after George’s 4th birthday, was prompted by an accident in the daycare he attended at the time. He had been stimming, spinning round and round in circles. The daycare staff were attempting to move George to the centre of the room where he could safely stim without hurting himself, but he lost his balance and fell, hitting his upper lip on the corner of a bookshelf.

The E.R. we took him to was very understanding. We registered him and completed all of the requisite paperwork, and then wondered out loud how we would cope with what was likely to be a long wait. The admitting nurse, realizing that George’s autism would make a hospital wait unbearable for him, told us to go to the donut shop across the street with him. When it was his turn, and when the examination room was all set up, someone would come and get us.

The nurse was true to her word. A hospital orderly came and got us after about twenty minutes, and we were taken straight into the examination room, where the doctor, a nurse, and two other orderlies were waiting. Before George had any clue what was happening, he was placed on the bed, and the orderlies expertly wrapped him up in a sheet like a burrito, so only his face was exposed. The nurse immediately swabbed his face, and the doctor, who was waiting with an already-prepared suture, gave George the single stitch that he needed.

We were in and out of there in less than three minutes. Kudos to all staff at that E.R.

This time round, George had to stick around for a longer time. His utter lethargy, while certainly a concern from a health perspective, definitely helped the E.R. visit go more smoothly than it otherwise might have. He endured the admission tests, with the exception of the temperature check. He was having none of that thermometer business, either at the front desk or in the examination room.

He  allowed the nurse to put a tamper-proof hospital band around his wrist. In the examination room, he tampered with it and got it off (people who make tamper-proof products should really test-drive them on out-of-the-box-thinking auties). I was very concerned about the prospect of an IV line. The kid wouldn’t even keep on a wrist-band. How were we going to prevent him from ripping out the IV line?

Imagine our relief when we were told that IV fluids would not be needed. We were told how to administer fluids, how frequently, and in what amounts. We all got to come home.

*Phew*

A day later, we are all officially on the mend. Well, except for James, who is completely recovered. George has just eaten a jam sandwich – his first real food in three days. I’m no longer feeling nauseous (I still think that was due more to pure exhaustion than anything else). Gerard is a bit more lively than he was yesterday.

And now, hopefully, we return to a “normal” life in the special needs family.

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One Response to “We Survived The Gastro Bug Of 2011”

  1. S Club Mama - Randi February 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM #

    So glad you’re feeling better; this flu was bad this year!

    That one ER visit where they told you to go to the donut shop – holy buckets, how nice! Very thoughtful.

    If you’re interested I have a giveaway on my blog; Ryders and Gu up for grabs. http://thesclub.blogspot.com/2011/02/outside-pr-review-giveaway.html

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