I’m always impressed at how a visit to A&E can make a poorly child well again – even before they see a doctor

Yesterday, at about 10.00am, Eli started throwing up. He then proceeded to sleep, wake, scream, arch his back, retch, vomit, scream, relax, sleep in a regular cycle that lasted about 20 minutes at a time for hours.

By 16.30, when it clearly wasn’t abating, I thought I’d give NHS Direct a call so they could tell me he probably had a virus and I should just keep him hydrated. Basically I wanted them to validate what I thought was the right course of action but, without access to my GP (why do these things always happen on a weekend?) figured NHS Direct would be the next best thing. They told me to go to A&E. Dammit. Of course, once you’ve been given advice like that you have to go otherwise what if it really is serious and you ignored it…

Packed up a bag with all the muslins I could lay my hands on and off Eli and I went. He finally asked for a feed whilst we waited in the waiting room and then proceeded to be violently ill about 10 minutes later. Yay to another mother in the room who helped me clear up the mess as cuddling Eli meant I couldn’t do much but stare at it. We didn’t have to wait long after that incident for a nurse to see us and she rolled her eyes when I told her what NHS Direct had said. Eli was looking ok, just a bit pale, but she had to double-check he could tolerate fluids so she started us on a fluid challenge, 5 ml of water every 5 minutes.

Poor Eli, he was so thirsty that he sobbed each time the syringe of water finished. He wasn’t sick again though and by the time we saw the doctor it was pretty clear we didn’t need to be there. Two hours after we arrived Eli was waving at other children in the waiting room and trying to talk to them. He was having 10 ml of water every 5 minutes and had had 5 minutes of milk without incident. Honestly, you would never have known he had been so ill for most of the day.

Eli today – if you hadn’t just read this you’d never know he’d been ill yesterday…

It’s always a bit embarrassing when you take your very ill honest! baby to A&E and they are clearly in absolutely no danger of anything except an over protective mother by the time they are seen. That said, all I have to do is remember the time I thought Lex (at 4) had a bit of a temperature and a cough and I eventually took him to the walk-in centre and he ended up in hospital for a week with pneumonia (in my defence he’s always been a bit stoic about pain, it really wasn’t obvious at all how ill he actually was!). So I go to A&E when advised even if I don’t think I should, even though I’m 99% sure it’ll just lead to a miraculous recovery and the doctor will think I’m nuts – ‘So he’s your first?’, ‘No my third.’, ‘Oh…’ – just in case!

4 thoughts on “I’m always impressed at how a visit to A&E can make a poorly child well again – even before they see a doctor

  1. Oh god we’ve only had one trip to A and E (so far – touching wood) and it was awful. Glad he’s better now. I think almost all health professionals would much rather see a child when you’re not sure than not see someone when it’s serious. But that doesn’t stop the worry about when to make the call!

    • I know, it’s a bit of a balancing act isn’t it – the nurse and doctor were both very nice about it though (and it was air-conditioned in the hospital which made it a little better sitting there for a couple of hours).

  2. So far we’ve done one trip when we thought our 2yoD had asthma. A&E basically got her of her trolley on steroids and she had a ball till 1am when she crashed and burned.

    (Found you on mumsnet blog posts)

    • Most of our handful of A&E visits have been late at night. Once when Lex about 18 months old I took him in because he wouldn’t stop screaming with pain and Calpol wasn’t helping. They gave him some ibuprofen and about 30 minutes later he was happily playing in the waiting room (it was a nasty ear infection). I got some interesting looks from other people as I then took my son to the local 24 hour supermarket to buy some ibuprofen (didn’t want the screaming to start again!) at midnight and he toddled about laughing and playing… (thanks for visiting :) )

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