I talk to my mom just about every day. Which is why I’m scratching my head as to why FIVE DAYS WENT BY before I knew that my 11 month old nephew had been taken to the emergency room for a last-ditch treatment for a case of seal-barking croup.
He ended up there late last Tuesday upon the recommendation of the pediatrician, after efforts to calm his coughing proved ineffective. A long evening, short-term admission, and heavy duty breathing treatments later, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew headed home. Tired, but on the mend.
As I was discussing the blasphemy of such delayed information dissemination with my partner, the conversation moved quickly from vilifying grandma to asking one another: “What would we do if something like that happened with us?” And I’m talking single event situations, as opposed to longer-term illnesses, because that’s a whole different ball o wax.
As with most readers of this blog, unlike my brother, we have two or more child(ren) to address and waking/taking the doing-just-fine kiddle is not going to pay off. And if you do go as a family, you better have banked the mental cost of jacking with more than one child’s routine. And what we decided – as well as you can go on deciding without going through it -was the following:
For semi-planned urgent care, one stays and one goes. Such as with X and croup, one of us would stay with the better kid, while the other of us (probably me, since i used to work in the healthcare industry) would take the not-better kid to the hospital. We’d keep in touch via calls and text messages. But to us, it would be important to keep one parent and the other child(ren) with as much rest and as little routine disruption as possible.
For unplanned urgent care/emergencies, same thing. This would be something like big falls or a need for stitches or something of the sort. While it would be poopy for one of us not to be there, keeping things moving with the well kid is equally important.
For rapid-onset illness, one stays and one goes, but the one staying is making plans to go. That means the stayed-homer would shore up plans, clothing, materials, childcare, and phone calls to family, then joining the other and sick child as soon as possible.
For critical illness or injury, we’d probably both go immediately after calling upon godparents (we should probably inform them of this, no?) or friends to stay with the well child until the situation was stable.
We also have a good circle of neighborhood friends who could likely step up in a time of crisis, as well as godparents and a set of grandparents that live within 30 miles. Of course, under any of the above scenarios, it’s possible that we’d have no choice but to take the well kid, too. And we’d figure things out from there.
We are immeasurably blessed and grateful to have emerged this side of infancy without major incident [warning: we’re entering toddlerhood], but I also know these things can be inevitable at some point in time. Certainly, there isn’t a wrong way or a right way to handle a childcare situation when one of the children falls ill/injured. But to the extent that we can somewhat prepare, the smoother the chaos can be.
For those who have had an urgent/emergent care incident, how did you handle the other child(ren)? Did you have a loosely organized plan as to how to handle a situation like that? What would you differently?
Rachel is a mom who managed to survive the first year with twins, but hold the applause because the second year has only just begun. You can read more about their adventures on her blog.