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Rough Patch, Part Three

Rough Patch, Part Three

If you haven’t read the rest of the story yet, start here.

We loaded our son into the car and left for the hospital. It was dark and rain was pouring down throughout the drive to the emergency department. Check-in went quickly. Our son was exhausted and still showing signs of difficulty breathing so it didn’t take very long to be seen. A chest x-ray was ordered immediately and we were settled in to wait for the results. No one seemed particularly concerned so we did our best to relax and wait. We expected to be given antibiotics and sent home.

The nurse came into our room and asked in an unusually timid manner if our son had been seen at one of the other hospitals downtown. We explained a consult we had at one point with an interventional cardiologist, but that we only went once and that doctor recommended against running any tests. I mentioned to her off-hand that we had also done several second opinions at Hopkins. “Why do you ask?” was the next obvious question. Micro expressions danced across her face, all showing signs of discomfort, and she pointedly avoided eye contact. We were to be transferred and they were deciding where. The doctor would be in shortly to answer any other questions. With that she ducked out, having not made any additional eye contact.

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Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids

Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids

No one likes having their blood drawn. Trying to explain to most children why someone absolutely must poke them with a needle isn’t realistic. It comes down to “no ouchies” which, frankly, is an argument I have a difficult time winning. With kids, you can’t exactly have a thorough discussion on the merits of whether or not these specific tests will provide adequate insight into their current medical problem.

I’m going to share what has worked for us. I hope it works for you. There’s no judgement if it doesn’t. Every kid is different! First, infants and toddlers under two. You really can’t do much for them except hold them down firmly with cuddles to minimize the stress and discomfort. Your focus will be more on the nurse. Ask yourself:

  1. Does the nurse have all of their supplies ready and accessible, while still having them outside of your child’s reach?
  2. Is the needle your nurse has pulled uncomplicated? It should look like a sewing needle, except it’ll be hollow.
  3. Are the test vials present? Sometimes nurses pull blood by syringe. That’s also fine as long as the syringe is ready to go.
  4. A second nurse will usually be present. While you hold your child down, the second nurse will either perform the blood draw or ensure the site they’re using stays completely still. I recommend highly to ask for a second nurse if there isn’t a plan for one to assist. It’s worth the wait.

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Conquering Medical Terminology

It’s sometimes difficult to understand what your primary care doctor is trying to tell you, but they’re used to explaining. Some can tell by the look on your face you don’t get it, and immediately just give you a five second rundown of what the term they just used means. Even better, many primary physicians don’t hardly use medical terminology at all.

Your child’s pediatrician is similar, but what happens when you have more than just a pediatrician? Medical terminology is a massive hurdle to overcome. If you’re working with a specialist you’ve never seen before it’s especially overwhelming. First, here’s a list of things you can do to ease the pain when talking to a new specialist, or a familiar specialist about an unfamiliar problem.

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