This is going to be my most personal post to date. This past week I had one of my scariest days as a parent besides dealing with high risk pregnancies and labor, labor terrified me. Due to the measly pay of a school based therapist where I live, I do a few extra things for more income. This includes independent contract work (extra students) and serving as a Subject Matter Expert for an online university for medical related courses such as Data Analysis for BioAnalytics and Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare. In order to accomplish this I rely on help with my kids. Sometimes at home and sometimes at my moms. This week schools were closed so we came to my mom’s home for my to accomplish my work as a Subject Matter Expert. I left our medications on another floor until bedtime. At bedtime I brought up a big bag of our things and was about to get the children ready for bed. As my husband asked me for something I started to look for it, one of us placed the medication on the sofa. Our backs were turned to our 2 year old for a maximum of a minute and a half tops, I think it was only a minute. I hear my husband scream and turn around, little white pills are everywhere and my son is chewing. My husband quickly swabs his mouth and I pick up all the medication. Our son gags but he ingested some, some watery white liquid comes out of his little mouth and is on my husbands hand and the floor. I call the pediatrician and then we both google what happens if a child eats blood pressure medication as I wait for a call back. My 7 year old reads over my husband’s shoulder and rushes to me and whispers that his little brother is going to die. My husband and I both tell him not to say such a thing but, we decide to rush to the emergency room. The doctor calls back and suggests we call poison control, it is a serious issue. We get to the emergency room and after triage we are waiting my husband thank God gets up and asks why we are waiting when our toddler ingested a dangerous medication. They take us in right away and a doctor comes and explains the danger is not low blood pressure but that the pancreas makes a lot of insulin that a little body cannot handle. His blood sugar and other labs would be checked every hour. He would be staying for at least 24 hours. He cries to have me with him so I sat in the bed with him in my lap. We didn’t merely watch as our 2 year old cried as an IV was inserted into his tiny hand, but we both had to assist in holding him. After another doctor called poison control they decided to give him charcoal because it was within the 2 hour window. The charcoal binds to whatever was ingested and prevents it from being digested/absorbed. It takes 2 kind and strong nurses, one of the nurses cell phone’s playing baby shark, my husband and myself to get him to take about 4 or 5 large syringes of liquid charcoal as he screams and cries. My husband was amazing, he tasted the charcoal himself and listened to the nurses suggestions on how to get it in the back of my sons cheek to make him swallow. When that stopped working we added holding his little nose so he had to swallow. Once this was done we were told we were moving to the PICU, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he would be carefully monitored. I sent my husband back to my other boys. In the PICU there is a crib and a chair. He refused to sleep in the crib so nurses helped me hold him in the chair where he fell asleep on me. I placed him in the crib for awhile and fell asleep, nurses rushed in every now and then as his blood pressure had dropped. It was extremely scary, they woke him up to see if it would come back up. Everytime it rose back up and my poor baby was very tired. I then kept him in my lap upright to help keep his blood pressure up and felt more content with him nearby even though my body was sore.
Thank God, every lab came back ok. He was doing ok. We don’t know it is because he ingested very little or because he had the charcoal or a combination of both. While we were there a social worker came in to speak to me in the morning, I was sleep deprived, traumatized and just spent. She asked what happened and I told her. She asks if I have other children and what their ages are. She says “four boys that is handful what do you do to handle your stress?” I answer “I don’t do anything.” Then I say “well, I eat.” She and the doctor both laugh but I wasn’t trying to be funny, I was so exhausted and was just being honest. My husband called while we were talking so I put him on speaker, she asked him the same question and he gave the same answer. She asked what we could do differently next time, it felt so ridiculous of a question. But, we kept our cool and answered we understand that she was doing her job.
Here are the important things I learned:
- Even when traveling keep your medicines safe from your kids. My doctor sister recommended hiding them. I searched and found some locking pill bottles which open only with a code.
- If your child does eat your medications count how many are left, take the bottle with you to the nearest emergency room so there is no mix up about what the took and the hospital can take proper action.
- Call poison control.
- Make a fuss if the hospital keeps you waiting charcoal is effective within the first 2 hours.
- Make sure the pharmacy give you child safe bottle caps. When I showed the doctor in the PICU the pictures of the medicine bottle and she saw the label, she told me that Walmart is supposed to always give child safe cap but sometimes if the bottle has the right amount that you need they just stick the label on the bottle it came in. I may be switching pharmacies due to this.
To all my readers with curious and quick children, no matter the age or ability may God keep them safe. The same medication which are so important and help us can be so dangerous for our children, especially little ones with small bodies. I know there will be people who judge me, I have four young sons for those who don’t know. The oldest being only 7 years old. I can tell you it gets harder with children of different ages, you can’t just keep them in one place the older ones go from room to room and the little ones follow. You hear a noise behind you but it might be your 7 year old, you thought your 2 year old was somewhere else while you washed the dished but he was in the bathroom trying to brush his teeth. Accidental ingestion of medication usually happens with children under the age of 3. Be diligent and may God preserve and guide all our children to live healthy long lives. This week could have been very different and more horrific for me but I thank God my son is ok. I hope others learn from this post, feel free to share.