Emergency, emergency!

As the mother of two kids who have medical needs via chronic, life-long conditions I feel a little smug when I tell you I know when and when not to go to the pharmacy clinic, the pediatrician, urgent care center, or the emergency room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Our goal, because the kids are susceptible to catch other illness because of forced immune suppression, is to keep the kids out of any kind of medical office, most especially the emergency room (with a double especially during cold and flu season) if at all possible. That isn’t to say that we don’t have our share of visits. We probably go 8-12 times a year to a clinic or ER and as we look at our historical data, I’m here to tell you it’s usually on vacation or Sunday evening or a holiday. I wish I were kidding. My kids and husband are nodding yes and rolling their eyes right now.

When I was at the hospital with my daughter recently, my fellow Life360 Ambassadors were sending messages through the app and when I checked in on everyone, I noticed the hospitals and clinics . Since our last few ER visits were when we were in our home town, we went to our regular hospital emergency room. I’d forgotten how comforting that was to know the hospital function was in the app, especially since we sometimes have to visit hospitals while on vacation.

A couple of summers ago, we received an urgent call from our son’s care team, who would have admitted him that hour had we been in our home town. Unfortunately we were 400 miles south, at a beach store buying flip-flops. At the time, I didn’t have the app, but now, I haven’t really thought about how terrifying it was to be far from home from our care center when learning we’d need a large city hospital. I’m comforted to know the app now shows me where to go.

There’s a life cycle of treatment of care and it usually goes something like this:

“Should I call the pediatrician?”

“Let me just run him by the clinic.”

“Urgent care is open until 9, and they have an x-ray machine.”

“We’ll end up at the E.R. anyway so let’s just start there.”

Sure, there’s a lot in between those statements that can happen. Persistent (and worsening) symptoms, lethargic (always an E.R. trip or 911 call), bug bite looking sores (outline red area around bite with pen and write the time that you circled it to see if it’s growing), uncontrolled vomiting, causing dehydration and more…in my book, all reasons to go to the emergency room.

You get the idea. Here’s the thing I’ve learned after 100s of appointments for healthcare with the kid; listen to your gut. If your intuition can be skewed (like mine sometimes)and you aren’t sure if you should take your kid in, it’d be good to call an experienced parent, or always check in with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician expects to get calls from frantic parents about the littlest and biggest things. It’s what they do. Don’t be afraid to call and seek out treatment. Now let’s hope you don’t need to look for that little red and white cross on the Life360 app anytime soon. Or preferably never.