Monday, December 27, 2010

Surviving the Sick Season

Sadly, the holiday season also spells a season of coughs, colds, flu, and some darn complications that come along for the ride.  Usually, this is a short battle you can win hands down at home.  But for an unlucky few, this can lead to a stressful trip to the ER.  Ok, scratch that.  When I say FEW, this can also mean half the neighborhood.  So you best come prepared.

ER trips are never planned... obviously.  But, as a parent, you must have that gift of forward-thinking (or in my case, paranoia) to be able to gear up physically and mentally on such short notice.

1.  As soon as you've breezed through the forms and have undergone a quick interview with the doctor,  shift your focus back to your child.  He could be scared as hell!  Make him feel a little comfortable about the place by bringing some interesting hospital stuff to his attention.  "Let's count ambulances!" or "Wait for the supply canister to zoom out of the chute." have helped me a lot.

2.  Quickly after that, tests will have to be made.  And this would naturally produce a bit of pain on your child's part.  Be prepared with water, tissues, baby wipes, a soft towel, and comfort food for an emotional outburst that could very well ensue.
Don't forget to bring a plastic barf bag, too.  Anything can happen in a nerve-racking situation.

3.  Waiting for the results is the killer part of the deal.  Specially when the hospital is packed for the holidays.  A great help is to bring some quiet toys to keep your child preoccupied.  If his distraction is a video game, keep the sound on mute.  It's a hospital after all.

4.  Be considerate.  Chances are, other patients in the ER have it worse than your child.  So if you're just waiting for results and your child can walk, move to a waiting area that's far from the panic area.  I was lucky to find secluded seats where we even got to watch a movie. 

5.  When the results are finally in --whether good or bad-- reward your child. 

ER trips --no matter what the reason, no matter what the season-- will always be filled with dread.  But with a dash of level-headedness and a smidgen of grace under pressure, you can still make it somewhat less of a traumatic experience for your child.

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