Because it’s been a while (like at least a few weeks) since I’ve told a good ER story, here’s the latest.
I rarely go out. It’s kinda pathetic. My girlfriend Laura was having a little birthday celebration at Da Club and Hubby earned extra bonus points for canceling his Friday evening plans so that I could go. So when I came downstairs in my beer-drinkin’ outfit, (also known as not sweatpants,) Medium said, “Mommy! Where are you going? Goin’ to get your toes done?” . . . because that’s the only place I ever go without them. (Note to middle son: I usually wear flip-flops, not stockings and knee-high boots.)
So I was at the bar when the staff starts calling for me. Naturally I assumed my reputation had preceded me and that they wanted me to start singing Miss Dolly Parton’s 1980 country hit "9 to 5." But alas, I had a phone call. A phone call at the bar is never a good thing. When Hubby started with “guess where we are?” my immediate response was “the Emergency Room.”
I’ll take “Places Where I Should Have My Own Parking Space” for $400 please, Alex.
I told him I’d be right there and set off for the ER. The nurses in Admissions greeted me with “theeeere’s Mommy” and said they’d wondered where I was when Hubby rolled in with all three kids. I explained that I HAD been enjoying a Mom’s Night Out, to which they replied that they’d figured as much and didn’t I know mommies aren’t allowed out of the house?
Apparently, Medium and Large had been downstairs watching a movie and eating popcorn . . . except in a fit of cleanliness, nervous energy, and what Doug lovingly calls "a bug up my a$$," I organized the pantry and I had consolidated two bags of popcorn, one of which had tree nuts in it. Hubby had no way of knowing this, because I, in all of my mothering wisdom, had failed to mark the bag. Large came upstairs, swollen and having a hard time breathing, so Hubby gave him the Epi-pen, loaded all the kids in the car, and took off for the hospital.
Poor Hubby was offended when the nurses in Admissions gave him the once-over and asked, “are you ALONE?” Apparently a haggard daddy with puke-stained clothing, an infant in the carrier, a pajama-clad 5-year-old, and a swollen and panicky 7-year-old is cause for alarm. Add to that the fact that Large had vomited in the car, and Hubby had changed him into the spare gym clothes he had in the back of the car. The nurses proceeded to tell him that A) he couldn’t leave his car out front with the flashers on, and B) he couldn’t bring all the children back into the ER with him. Since he is always rational and calm in the face of an emergency, he turned to Medium and said “here son, you stay out here and be responsible for your 10-month-old baby brother.” And they let him bring everyone with him . . .
Later, when I was looking over the discharge sheet, I told him how impressed I was that he remembered the name and office location of our pediatrician and the names of all Large’s allergy medications. But it turns out, all that info was already in the hospital’s computer system because we’re frequent flyers.
We first realized that Large had an allergy about three years ago when we were at a Yankee game. Nothing says I’m a Great Mother like having to drag your swelling four-year-old to the first aid station at Yankee Stadium. You wanna talk about seeing a good cross-section of society! I had to explain to Large that the woman who was sitting on the gurney, but who was still clutching her beverage for dear life and taking huge chugs of said beverage, was apparently having a "panic attack." Luckily her tattooed, wife-beater wearing boyfriend, also still imbibing, was there to offer her the kind of comfort that is really inappropriate for a curious four-year-old to be seeing. And, for what it’s worth, I’m not really sure what the issue was with the large, sweaty, disoriented gentleman in the corner. We got some Benadryl, a referral to our pediatrician, and the hell outta Dodge.
Anyway, Large is fine, but I am copping to yet another epic mothering FAIL. I feel like that mom who was facebooking while her daughter was drowning. (Not now kids! Mommy's got a Friend Request!) My son has a severe tree nut allergy and experiences anaphylaxis if he ingests a nut. This is a life-threatening condition. So naturally I put the offending snack in a clear Ziploc bag at Large’s eye level.
The truth is, we got complacent about his allergies. We had never had to use the Epi-Pen before, (although I carry one with me at all times,) we see an allergist on a regular basis, and he wears a medical alert bracelet. In fact, I can’t think of ANYthing else we have in our pantry that contains tree nuts. But man, am I beating myself up about this one. As I told Hubby, what kind of mother isn’t vigilant about her child’s allergies? And top it off with the fact that I was at a bar.
So let this be a cautionary tale.
It is SO not worth it to clean out your pantry.