The five stages of ending up in the emergency room with your child


Nobody prepares you for the first big accident your little one has. You can only hope it is something relatively minor. Throughout our parenting lives, we will inevitably find ourselves in a situation where we have to rush our child to the emergency room - for a broken arm, a nasty bump on the head, or simply a temperature that you just can't get down. You pray it isn't for anything more serious but those who are experts in the minor emergency drill, might relate to this.


Last week my eldest daughter came off her bike quite badly. Luckily she was wearing her helmet but the second I saw the deep cut on her chin (my knees went weak) I knew it was a more serious job than the usual Minnie Mouse plaster and a kiss. Off we went straight to the A & E, her bawling and me shaking. As luck would have it, Daddy was home to mind the rest of the gang. 


I've had plenty of trips to the hospital emergency department before. A midnight rush because my son couldn't catch his breath, a rash that freaks every parent out and a swollen eye that ended up being cellulitis. For most low-grade injuries or illnesses, it usually unfolds the same way.


1. Panic

You need to just GET THERE FAST. The receptionist is just a little too casual for your liking when you finally race in with your precious cargo. You emphasise how awful your child's illness/sickness is and then all you can do is wait and shout out your personal details as you try to stem the bleeding/comfort your child. Stoopid admin. 


2. Hope

You know you are in safe hands so you relax slightly and look around. There doesn't seem to be too many people here. This may only be an in and out job. Surely you won't be here for three hours like you hear others mention. Surely...


3. Despair

Ok, it's two and a half hours later and your child is obviously (and luckily) on the low grade on the injury list but they are still injured and you would still like to know roughly when you will be seen. You suddenly realise that they must have called your name when you nipped to the bathroom and race to reception to inform them that you must have missed your turn. Sadly not. You make the mistake of asking how long, roughly the doctor might be and get a scornful response; 'its very busy this evening so we couldn't say how long.'


4. Jumpiness

Every time the door opens into the waiting room you are SURE it is going to be your child's turn. You want to race to the vending machine to grab such healthy delights as a midnight snack for Junior like a KitKat or bag of Tayto but you just can't risk it. Your phone battery is dead, your child is hypnotised by the 23rd episode of SpongeBob on the TV screen and you have about five new friends for life who've been sitting beside you in the waiting room. You are also forced out of your own worry and concern by seeing some of the other poor little mites with really bad injuries and you resign yourself to the fact that you will probably be there all night. 


5. Relief

Finally, your little patient is seen to by the amazing medical staff. They croon over her poor split chin and comment on how brave she is as they glue it closed. You pass a little boy suffering from an asthma attack and hear another baby crying in distress behind a colourful curtain and it puts it all into perspective. You send all your positive energy to those poor parents clinging to their little hands and as you leave the hospital behind you, you hug your little one close - drained by the relief and worry of it all. You survived another dip in the parenthood rollercoaster. Now all you have to do is stop off and buy child-size cotton wool and a few metres of tape on the way home.