Can I tell you a little secret? I promise that it’ll save you lots of time and drama. If you think that your child is having difficulty breathing, but their SpO2 is 99% on room air, they’re skipping down the ER hallway, they’re laughing and watching cartoons, and they’re talking about how they won’t have to go to school in the morning, then guess what? They probably aren’t really having difficulty breathing.
And if you think your child feels hot, first buy a thermometer and check. Don’t call an ambulance and say that you brought your kid to the hospital because you didn’t have a thermometer at home and were concerned they might have a fever. If you have children, get a thermometer!!!
And if you come in complaining of abdominal pain but are sitting there eating McDonald’s, and even after I tell you that you shouldn’t have anything by mouth you continue to eat it, I will make sure that the doctor is aware of that little tidbit.
And if you come to the hospital and are upset because you had to sit in a waiting room with other sick people – guess what? It’s a hospital, and pretty much everyone in there is sick. We don’t have special waiting rooms for the healthy ones.
Thank you, and good-night.
*Let me give a little caveat – I’m the first person who’ll tell you that if you feel sick and you think that you need to go to the hospital, then GO TO THE HOSPITAL! Especially with little kids. I would never want to discourage someone from coming to the ER, because I’m not you, and no one knows you or your kids better than you. Believe me, if it was my kid and I thought they were having trouble breathing or were running a very high temp, I would be right up there making sure they were seen.
However, I wouldn’t start yelling at the nurse who has been in the room repeatedly updating me on the status of what’s going on and what’s being done. Remember – that nurse is taking care of several other patients, and hard as it may be to believe, some or one or all of those patients may be more ill than you. That nurse also can’t hogtie the doctor and drag him in there to see you. I feel bad about the fact that you’ve had to wait for 5 hours – if it were within my power, I would wave a magic wand and get you in and out in under 30 minutes. But I don’t have the power to do that – all I can do is keep checking, keep asking/informing the doctor, keep you updated, and try to be the best patient advocate that I can possibly be. I hate to say it, but there it is.*