Sunday, 2 January 2011

Not quite the day I had planned

I was looking forward to a nice lazy start to the first Sunday of 2011 and then perhaps an unhurried trip to the shops to have a look for January bargains to spend my Christmas money on. It didn't turn out that way.

I woke up feeling pretty groggy having had a bad night with the Baby Boy. He's normally such a good little sleeper but a combination of a cold, teething and digestive adjustments from the introduction of solids have left him unsettled. He must have spent the whole of last night latched on to a boob for comfort (his comfort - certainly not mine). I had the Calpol on standby for him but didn't actually resort to administering a dose.

I was just getting comfy on the sofa and taking the first sips of my very needed morning tea when a sombre faced husband entered the living room holding the bottle of Calpol. He explained that our two year old had brought it into the bathroom with the 'child proof' top removed and handed it to him. Now I had no idea how much of the pink medicine there had been in the bottle before the two year old got hold of it but now it was half empty. Her breathe smelled distinctly sweet.

I wracked my brain to remember how full the bottle had been. I'm sure we had only taken maybe two or three doses max. There was no evidence of any sticky spills anywhere so we could only deduce that the two year old had been very pleased with her herself for getting the top off and rewarded herself with a generous swig or two from the bottle. We couldn't really rely on her answers to our questioning so we had to assume the worst.

My husband telephoned Shropdoc, the out of hours medical advisory service for our area, and they confirmed my suspicion that a trip to A&E was necessary.

For a while, I forgot how tired I was and how much my back was aching from a night of lying awkwardly as we prepared for our visit to hospital (all the while keeping a very close eye on our potential overdose victim for signs of unusual behaviour). Your mind goes crazy, thinking of the most terrible of outcomes, whilst on the outside a facade of calm, reassuring grown-up-ness is maintained.

We got to A&E without any problems and the two year old was exhibiting no ill effects whatsoever. I was beginning to think we were over reacting and we would have been fine to wait it out at home, but then when it is your precious child, you can't take any chances. We took our number from the ticket machine in reception and waited our turn.

We saw the triage nurse who reassured us that we had made the right decision to come in and told us of another little girl who had done exactly the same thing. We registered our details and waited in the under 13s play area. The two year old loved this - exploring all the plastic toys on offer and having a great time. She did keep saying "I tired" in her tiny little two year old voice which set my primed and ready alarm bells ringing, but then she would be off exploring again.

We were shown to a cubicle. A doctor came and asked us questions, weighed the two year old, did a calculation to work out the maximum dose of active ingredient she could have ingested and explained that we would be admitted to the children's ward, kept under observation and given blood tests to ascertain paracetamol levels in 4 hours time. It was going to be a long day.

Some time later, a second doctor came to our cubicle. He asked us a lot of the same questions, wrote a lot of notes, re calculated the maximum dose, divided it by her body weight and concluded that the milligram per kilogram ratio was within a safe limit and we could go home.

I was, of course, immensely relieved.

It did seem a bit daft that we had taken up the time of a triage nurse, an admittance clerk and two doctors not to mention generating a pile of paperwork and occupying an examination cubicle for at least half an hour for the sake of a problem that could be solved with a simple calculation and a value for a 'safe limit'.  It could all have been sorted out over the phone with a small amount of common sense.

Anyway, the two year old is sitting on the sofa, sucking her thumb and watching CBeebies. I have remembered how stupidly tired I am so am about to go and get another cup of strong coffee before re-evaluating my home safety (particularly when it comes to medicine storage).

January bargains will have to wait for another day.


  1. I am so glad that everything was all ok in the end, I bet you breathed a big sigh of relief

  2. I think you did the right thing by going to the hospital - thankfully everything was OK but, of course, things could have been quite diffeent.


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