Maria and I are each blessed to have two healthy and beautiful daughters. However, we have both had to make the panic-stricken call to 911 and the dash to the hospital with our children numerous times. There is no feeling in the world quite so terrible, but each time we leave our beloved Sick Kids hospital with our child smiling once again, we realize how fortunate we are.
We also leave each experience with lessons learned the hard way. I can tell you it does not get easier, but there are things you can do to prevent the situation from becoming worse.
- Keep your mobile phone on you and charged at all times. There is nothing more frustrating than being in the back of an ambulance or sitting in the emergency ward and not being able to contact your family as soon as possible. You will need back-up, whether it is to have someone pick up your other kids from school, or to have someone relieve you at the hospital. Also, I recently learned that your cell phone will dial 911 even if your battery is dead. They will track you via GPS. Good to know, but still better to have a full battery as it can be very helpful to have someone on the line until the ambulance arrives.
- Have emergency numbers programmed into your phone. The last time we had an episode I couldn’t remember our doctor’s number for the life of me and it’s been the same number for years! Also, it is important to have OHIP or health insurance numbers on hand. Caregivers, grandparents should have this info as well.
- Always have taxi money in your wallet and keep an energy bar or snack and a bottle of water in your purse or diaper bag. You will not want to leave your child, so going down the hall for a snack is out of the question and it could be a while until family arrives. Even then, the stress may suppress your appetite, but you have to force yourself to eat and take care of yourself so that you can be there for your child.
- Don’t be shy to ask for help. You may need a change of clothes, a toothbrush, or other items for your child. Someone to walk the dog, call the school etc. We moms are used to doing it all, but we need to know when to delegate.
- Take a first aid/CPR course. Often it is something required by work and that is the only reason people bother, but chances are you will end up using that knowledge on those you love most. Take the course, stay up to date, and pay attention.
- Advocate for your child. Our hospitals and their staff are wonderful for the most part, but you know your child better than anyone, and sometimes you have to push to get what they need in time. However, you also have to keep in mind that while your emergency may be the worst thing that has ever happened to you, the hospitals put you in priority of urgency, so we need to respect that there may be other patients who need more immediate attention.
- Don’t feel guilty if you hit the drive-thru on the way home. It is not the end of the world and after a day or night in the emergency ward the last thing you are going to want to do is go home and cook a meal.
- Rest and recover. The stress and worry of traumatic events takes a toll on everyone. We need to take care of ourselves to face another day.
It is our sincere hope that you will never have to experience an emergency with your child, but in case you do, we hope this helps.
Jennifer Torres & Maria Dorado
Archived from March, 2012.