So Ben has really been putting us through the parenting wringer this week! He caught a cold (probably from his first trip to the ER last weekend) that got progressively worse. It was affecting his breathing a little bit but nothing to be too concerned about until Thursday. I went to check on him while he was having a longer then normal nap to find him gasping for air. Paranoid first time mother or not I couldn't talk myself down out of this one. I took him to St. Mary's hospital which is fortunately only about a 5 minute drive from us. In a city the size of ours we are fortunate to have two large hospitals. St. Mary's is for respiratory problems and so that is where I took him (J would later meet us there). They made such a fuss over Ben the moment I took him in and rushed us right into a room. I thought something must be very wrong as so many nurses kept poking their heads in to see him. I later found out that pediatrics is at Grand River (the other bigger hospital about 15 min away) and so they never see babies at St. Mary's. I think Ben (who wouldn't stop grinning at everyone!) made a lot of people's day's as a result! He had a ventalin mask, was sent home with some puffers and cream for his eczema and a much more relaxed mother. We were in for a tough night however since the ventalin increases heart rate and makes it difficult to sleep. He didn't... he was up every 45 minutes to play all night long. Fortunately Jing Jing came to the rescue the next morning and looked after my day care kids while I had a quick nap. I thought all was well until later last night when I see Ben struggling to catch his breath again, right after a puffer that was not effective. So in the car we go again- this time regretfully to Grand River. Ben screamed the whole way there, which I was sort of glad for so I knew he was still breathing. We had to park in the parking garage which is a huge fear of mine (I don't understand them, like them or trust them!) but since I didn't really have a choice we found a spot finally as I was on the verge of hyperventilating. I should have walked right out the door to St. Mary's when I saw the huge waiting room full to capacity. Grand River is also the hospital where ambulances go and being a Friday night...well that's self explanatory. We settled in for a long wait. Ben was assessed and although his oxygen was low again, not as low as it was the previous night and not low enough to get rushed in.
What an emergency room on a Friday night is good for is entertainment. Ben and I enjoyed the mosaic of people that were coming in and out. Some on crutches, some in wheelchairs, some with designer bags, some with police escorts. The emergency room is the great equalizer. I was mostly keeping track of "Hermione M" who kept telling the triage nurses she was leaving every few minutes only to sit back down. Then there was Peter who was a homeless regular. They got a stretcher out for him, tied his ankle to it and put him in a corner with a cup of water (he splashed that all over himself). Every nurse that walked by him greeted him with "Hi Peter, let me know when you are ready for your sandwich." I think "Peter" is a nightly occurrence.
Then there was Mary Lou who was "belligerent and rude" enough to have the police called when she wouldn't leave the triage examination room. They asked her what the problem was and she told them that since her purse was stolen she had no money for a cab and no one to call. The officer asked if they brought her home would she hurt herself? "Hurt myself!? I am a Christian woman, I would never F-ing kill myself!"
Another young couple was in the children's waiting room and I asked the mother who was probably 16 about their baby. It seems 2 month old "Quintin" was constipated. I didn't want to burst their bubble by telling them that it was just about guaranteed that every single person that came through the door was going to have a more serious problem then poor backed up Quintin. I just acted concerned for the little guy instead since there was probably more entertainment in the ER room then there was on T.V back at their apartment anyways.
We waited 4 hours in the main waiting room. Finally J joined us with some Tim Hortens. Periodically a nurse would come out of a room off the waiting area with a big "NO ADMITANCE" sign on the door and call back a few people. When our name was finally called to go to this room, I knew what it would feel like to win the lottery. Other people looked on enviously as I packed up our things pretending not to notice. Finally Ben would be seen and this night could be over! Myself and the other lucky soon to be patients followed the nurse back through the doors into ... ANOTHER WAITING ROOM!!!! We had been waiting for a waiting room!? There was about 20 people in this waiting room, most of whom were sleeping in their chairs and quite boring. This was also the time when Ben decided he did not want to sleep any longer and wished to be entertained (at 12:30am...). Finally 7 hours into our hospital trip we were taken into room PED 1... complete with Hippo bed and a tv for our viewing pleasure while we waited another 40 min for the Dr. (the only one in the city I'm sure!) Ben got another mask and instructions to continue giving the puffer as many times as needed. We could then go home to another baby who couldn't sleep and a few more hours of rocking. Tonight it is 8:30 and so far so good. I have a feeling Saturdays in the ER are worse then Fridays so I hope we are spared tonight!