Brianna and I took a three-hour tour of Canada’s health care system this evening. Earlier in the day, I got a call from her teacher—she refused to eat anything at school today, not the pasta, not a single green bean, not a bite of banana, not even a drink of milk. She claimed she was hungry but then would refuse to eat anything. Later in the day she had crying jags and tantrums in between moments of being just fine. We wondered if it was because Bryan is out of town for a few days.
So when I picked Bri up from school, I was surprised when she bounded up to me and asked to go to Wendy’s for dinner. If there’s one thing my kid likes, it’s chicken nuggets and fries. She took one tiny bite of chicken and starting crying for her apple juice. By the time we got home, she wouldn’t touch the chicken and only took tiny bites of the french fries, washing it down with all of the apple juice and a big glass of water. She complained that all the food went “down my breathing tube”.
After a quick consult with my mother-in-law, we were off to the ER. We arrived, took a number, and sat in the only empty chair, next to an older man dabbing a bleeding wound on his forehead with a bloody paper towel. After about five minutes, I overhead another mom exclaim “I’ve been here 45 minutes and I haven’t even seen the triage nurse yet!”
I decided to leave even though I’d just paid $10 for the right to park at the hospital. Note to self—don’t pay for parking until you have a clue as to how long you’re gonna be in the emergency room. We drove to the next place, a walk-in clinic that was still open for 20 more minutes. However, they were full up and not accepting any more patients.
Plan B: call the after-hours number on our family doctor’s answering machine. By now, it’s obvious that it’s too late to make it to their partner clinics. So, I call the nurse referral number. The receptionist takes my info and tells me to keep the line open so the nurse can call.
Plan C: try another walk-in clinic. Ding! Ding! Ding! We win! Only one other person in the waiting room. Brianna has (mostly) stopped screaming that she doesn’t want to see the doctor. I fill out the forms and we’re in the queue. Bri takes over the clipboard and proceeds to fill out a form of her own.
The doctor manages to get a look at Brianna. No fever, breathing is clear, no visible blockage in her throat, no redness, no swelling. Nothing visibly wrong with this little girl. Recommendation: back to the ER for x-rays, even though it’s likely they won’t show anything that’s not a truly foreign object.
Stop at the convenience store to get a notebook to amuse the child. Give her a pen from my purse. Go through the drive-through at Tim Hortons—it’s gonna be a long night. Stop at the gas station so I don’t add running out of gas to the night’s agenda.
Answer the phone when the nurse finally calls back. She asks many more questions, I tell her what the walk-in clinic doctor said. Verdict: the child doesn’t need to go to the ER, but she should be seen by my family doctor within 24 hours. Deal! Add in some soft foods—did you know that you can get pudding cups in bubblegum and cotton candy flavour? Yes, they are pastel pink and pastel blue. Yum! Even though Brianna picked them out and said she wanted apple juice, she refused to put anything between her lips when we got home. “I’ll save them for when I feel better Mommy.” I think my heart broke three or four times this evening.
I tucked her into the big bed (our room, so I can be next to her in case anything arises during the night) and see if I can track down Bryan. Nope, not yet. His flight hasn’t even landed yet.
Oy. It’s now hours later and Bryan has landed safely in Colorado. Brianna is asleep in our bed and I’ve already called my manager and told him I won’t be in the office tomorrow because I have to take my daughter to the doctor.
And now to a well-earned night’s sleep myself.