{Confessions of a Career Woman & Housewife} When ER Visits Go Awry

Fair warning: this post is frenetic and disorganized at best. We had a terrible ER visit on Saturday and I do not even know how to come to terms with it. I am hoping that writing about it will help me heal.

This weekend we went from this:

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To this:

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…and my mama heart is sick over it. Chipmunk landed face first on the ceramic tile floor. It cracked his front tooth all the way into the gum. It was all but impossible to find a pediatric dentist on a Saturday, so we ended up at Children’s Hospital. We tried our hardest to avoid going to Children’s because the billing department is mean, lazy, and incompetent. We still are not confident that they have properly billed our insurance for our last visit in October. Several fellow parents have had similar experiences. Heading back to Children’s for another billing nightmare was not particularly appealing.

That choice was ultimately taken out of our hands when we could not find anywhere else to go. I will spare you the specific play-by-play, but know that our child was not given the appropriate pain medication for a procedure that went horribly, horribly south. His blood curdling screams of pain will haunt my dreams for a long time. (This is not an exaggeration. I had nightmares Saturday night and Husband said I was talking and moaning in my sleep.) Chipmunk’s screams did not stop the dental resident from continuing to dig the pieces from his gums. She kept saying, “I’m almost done. I’m almost done.” Yet minutes later she was still digging. There was never a re-evaulation of the situation or the thought that the medication for the initial procedure was no longer enough. Our nurse was never informed that the extraction was taking place. The look of fury on her face when she came racing around the corner to us was all the validation I needed. While Husband was holding Chipmunk, I began silently bawling in the corner. My child was effectively being tortured by someone I was supposed to trust, and I felt powerless to stop it. As a mother, I failed him.

We received apologies from a few nurses and the attending doctor when it was done. Chipmunk’s nurse was in tears as she apologized to us. Discovering she is a mother of a three-year-old bonded us in that ER room. When she rounded the corner and heard Chipmunk’s screams, she knew he was in pain – even though the resident tried to tell us that Chipmunk had not felt anything. Having had dental work numbed by lidocaine done on my own teeth, that statement did not fly. Being an expert on my child’s scream, I flat out call BS. Her coldness toward our son and general lack of awareness or concern for his pain level was absolutely horrifying. Even worse was being told, “We do this in the clinic all the time.” Needless to say, we will not be doing our two week follow up at that clinic.

This is the treatment we received at a top ten ranked Children’s Hospital.

We feel guilty because we did not step in and stop it. Guilty because we did not realize our nurse should be with us. If she had been there she would have intervened. I feel guilty because Chipmunk busted his tooth while we were baking Easter cookies that I insisted we make. Husband feels he failed because he is a paramedic who knows enough about pain medications to have stepped in and, at the very least, asked to speak with the nurse or attending before continuing the extraction. He is not giving himself any credit for asking about pain medications before we even took Chipmunk back to the dental chair. We believed the dentist, at least for a while, when she reassured Chipmunk that she was almost done pulling his tooth. After all, the extraction should have been quick. It was not her fault that his tooth broke into multiple pieces.

I am rambling. Sorry. Clearly, I am struggling to process this event. It was traumatizing for all of us. Going to church on Sunday morning helped. It was healing to speak with other moms about the horror of hearing your child scream in pain, watching him contort his body in incredible ways, and sweat through every inch of his clothes; about the powerlessness and pain of a mother who, holding her inconsolable child, had to put him back in the dentist’s arms for a second round because there was still a fragment in his gums. Their tears as I explained the procedure was reaffirming. It was validating. Speaking to an MD about it and watching the horror and disapproval in his own eyes was equally ratifying.

At the end of the day, what was already a tough experience was catapulted into the world of trauma. Chipmunk has begun having nightmares. While we cannot say what the nightmares entail, we cannot help but wonder if they are related to Saturday’s visit. He is not one to have bad dreams often and the timing is suspicious.

It is going to take time to come to terms with this one. It is going to take time to not tear up whenever I see the gap in Chipmunk’s mouth. I will not stop worrying that other children will make fun of Chipmunk for the missing tooth until his permanent one has replaced it. And I know it is going to take more mourning before I am over the “loss” of full-toothed kindergarten photos. At the end of the day, we are grateful it was only a tooth that was damaged (as opposed to, say, his brain) and that it was a baby tooth at that. That does not change the way it all played out, though. No. That clock cannot be turned back.

 

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{Fabulous Finds Friday}

Can you believe it is already Easter weekend? I am off work today and shopping for those remaining items we need for Sunday. Tomorrow I am baking and dying eggs with Chipmunk. Husband is home both Saturday and Sunday (practically unheard of these days), so we are really looking forward to some quality family time.


To start off the weekend, I have a few links for you:

Never Settle_domesticbella

Block by Bubblewrappd

This table in my office (or a cheaper version). Pretty please! This one is pretty sweet, too.

What makes you happy?

Chocolate prices are soaring, so just to be safe, everybody should probably panic.

Loving the Gallery Tote. Right now it is 40% off with code SPRING4IT.

How do you organize your digital photos?

 

Happiest of weekends to you, lovelies!

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{In Loving Memory} Precious Katie

Each new life, no matter how brief, forever changes the world.

On Friday, April 11, 2014, our sweet cousin Katherine passed from this life and on to the next. She was born 10 months ago with a congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s anomaly. Katie put up a strong fight at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and had several quality months with her family. Her father, Jack, was fantastic at providing detailed updates on her surgeries and progress (you can see the update history here). It is fair to say that even though it was an uphill battle, we all maintained our faith that she would endure. For 10 months she did so with a valiancy we all admired. Yet with a cruel twist of fate, an infection swept in and wreaked havoc on her tiny body. The last few updates were heartbreaking and difficult for us to read. As the one who received the briefings, I often read them aloud to Husband. A few weeks ago, as the tide drastically turned, I broke down and could not update Husband any further. His eyes were suspiciously bright and he did not ask me to continue. In silent companionship, I finished the email and forwarded it to Husband so he could do the same.

With her journey having such a strong effect on us, we cannot begin to fathom the suffering of Katie’s parents. Words of intended comfort from our lips seem inadequate.  Flowers seem trite.  We want to help, but we also acknowledge that there is little we can do. There is no way to make this situation “better” or easier. So we pray and we send our words of intended comfort. Then we pray some more.

Out of respect for Katie and her parents, I kept this off DB for the duration. Some things are not meant as blog fodder; certainly not someone else’s private and very difficult battle. In most circumstances, this very post would not be here. This exception has been made, however, in an attempt to help the family in the one way we can.

Jack and Krista (Mom) are asking for assistance in dedicating a room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in honor of their precious daughter (see Fundraiser Details). Katie touched so many lives, both within the hospital and without, in such a short time. She received excellent and compassionate treatment from the staff during her stay. During the months of surgeries and recovery, Katie, Jack, and Krista formed strong bonds with those who assisted in the fight. They also bonded with other patients and patient families. A room dedicated in her honor allows beautiful Katie to live on and continue touching the lives of other sick children. So, in lieu of flowers, Jack and Krista are asking that contributions be made to this endeavor.

Please consider helping Jack and Krista honor their daughter’s all too brief life and assist in their desire to help others. Asking people for money is not something I do comfortably, easily, or often. Soliciting for donations on this blog is something that will probably never happen again. We wholeheartedly support this mission, though, and cannot not ask for your help in making a dream reality. Any amount helps, whether it be $1, $5, or $100. Supporters can contribute anonymously or with recognition.

Whether or not you choose to contribute, thank you for taking the time to read about Katie. She lives on through her incredible story and the very lives she touched.

 

Please send positive, supportive thoughts to her family during this difficult time.

All my love,

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{Fabulous Finds Friday}

Another Friday is in the books. Hello, weekend! I am going to spend part of mine painting this end table white:

end table before_domesticbella db

A jar of fresh French air could have been yours for a measly $860.

This asparagus egg and bacon salad from Skinnytaste looks so delicious I am drooling.

A great article regarding how to effectively start a meeting. Any meeting.

Young House Love gave us a tour of their showhouse this week. Their blog, which I have followed for several years now, is one my favorite daily must-reads.

Well, what do you know? Women set the pace.
Let’s have a wonderful weekend, lovelies. Come ooooon, 5:00!

 

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