Ella Jo’s First Trip to the ER

I’ll spoil the ending for you: she’s absolutely fine. Her kooky mom on the other hand …

It all started with a small red spot on Ella’s right eyelid. Like any other time I noticed a new mark on my baby, I flipped out, staying true to the first time mom stereotypes. My parents reassured me that she had probably just rubbed her eye and gotten a scratch from a sharp fingernail. I agreed that no immediate action was necessary and that we would just watch it to make sure it didn’t get any worse. Fast forward to two days later when a single tear escaped from the same eye, which looked much redder to me. Panic time. I tearfully showed my poor baby’s eye to my dad. He and my mom got ready and accompanied me to take her to Urgent Care, since we were out of town and couldn’t see her regular pediatrician. Upon arrival at Urgent Care, we learned that she couldn’t be treated there, because of her young age. The receptionist suggested we head to the ER of the hospital down the road. Now in five alarm mode, I snatched her car seat up and ran back to the car.

I burst into the doors of the ER, making a desperate beeline for the check-in desk. The receptionist glanced up inquisitively, wondering what a seemingly healthy 30 year old and her sleeping baby in a car seat could possibly want from her. Still on the verge of tears, I pointed to Ella and explained huffily that her eye was red and swollen and she needed to be seen right away. By this point, I had gotten my parents to understand that we were dealing with a REAL emergency, so they were a bit more concerned as well. As we waited for our turn to be seen, I paced anxiously as Ella looked on with silent curiosity.

When they finally called our name, I rushed into the room and re-explained the situation to the triage nurse. She looked a little skeptical, but took Ella’s temperature, weighed her and checked us in. My mom apologetically explained that we were only at the ER because we were from out of town and not near Ella’s pediatrician. The nurse smiled and just said she was glad that Ella looked to be very healthy.

After what seemed an eternity waiting both in a consultation room and a hospital room, a nurse practitioner finally came in. I explained for the third time what was wrong with Ella and she smiled a little and looked down at Ella. She tried to make a couple of suggestions about immature tear ducts, etc.  Both my mom and I adamantly shook our heads and pointed again to Ella’s eye: “SEE – it’s SWOLLEN!” Slightly taken aback, the poor woman backed up and promised to get the on call doctor come in and take a look.

The Doctor had obviously been briefed about our insanity before he came in. He made a point to shake everyone’s hand, introduce himself and smile as exuberantly as his face would allow. He approached me and said: “This is your first baby, isn’t it?”

Not to be deterred, I insistently explained her condition again and again. He examined Ella’s eye thoroughly and admitted that the right eyelid was slightly more swollen than the left. He asked … “Is she rubbing it or showing signs that it bothers her?” Well, no, not TECHNICALLY…Finally, I think he understood that he wasn’t going to get off the hook without an explanation. He offered to get us some sulphur drops as a peace offering and quickly made his exit.

Throughout this entire ordeal, as my mom and dad and I worried, argued, paced, fretted … Ella remained calm and happy, playing with the toys we put in front of her and enjoying meeting all the new people. After they put the drops in her eyes and we were back in the car, she promptly fell asleep. When she woke up … the redness in her eye was gone. Yes, GONE. At the very least, I’m glad we could serve as a source of laughter for everyone working in the ER that night. I’m sure they all went home to tell their loved ones the story about a crazy first time mom who brought her three month old to the Emergency Room because her eye was red.


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