Topics covered in this article:
- The decision whether to call 911 or bring your child to the hospital or not.
- What to expect when the paramedics arrive at your home.
- What to expect during the Ambulance ride.
- Transferring from one hospital to another
- Your child’s final hospital
- What to expect during a hospital stay
- Pros and Cons of a hospital stay
- Returning home
Your child wakes up during the night. She appears to be unlike herself. You get her out of bed. Something is wrong. After checking her oxygen saturation, you realize she is not breathing properly. As a parent, you try to make her better by patting her back, talking to her, giving her nebulizer treatment to help her breath. However, she is still not breathing up to par. Therefore, you have to make the decision to call 911.
The paramedics arrive at your home. They ask you questions about your child including an explanation of your child’s current condition, her medications and medical history. Then the paramedics will carry your child to a stretcher. They will check your child’s vitals and hook her up to Pulse Ox machine. Before you leave, you grab a few personal items for yourself, in case your child stays overnight in the hospital. The paramedics team put your child in the ambulance and then you enter.
The ambulance ride will be one you will remember. In the back of the ambulance, you will be in tight quarters. You may feel claustrophobic and car sick. You may feel exhausted and take a little nap. Your child will either fall asleep or become afraid and cry all or part of the way or both. If your child is upset or hurting, you feel heartbroken for your child. Lastly, the ambulance ride may be bumpy and rough. It may not be as smooth as a regular car ride depending on if the paramedics are driving through a construction area.
Transfer to Another Hospital
Most of the time, a child needs to transferred to a children’s hospital, which can occur any hour even during the night. Usually, the hospital that your child is originally sent to is not equipped for children or complicated cases. It may take up to several hours before another team of paramedics to arrive at the initial hospital.
When you arrive at your child’s final hospital, he or she will be moved from the stretcher to a hospital bed. Then, a doctor and nurses will look your child over and ask you more questions about her condition. Several professionals such as a social worker, dietician, rehabilitation doctor, neurologist will discuss your child’s condition with you depending on what that is. A nurse will enter your information in a computer such as their medications, medical history, and your contact and insurance information. Blood will also be withdrawn and other medical tests such X-rays will be administered to determine a diagnosis. More than likely, your child will have to stay overnight.
What to Expect During a Hospital Stay
You hear the news that your child needs to be admitted to the hospital. Several thoughts will be running through your mind. The main question in your mind might be when can my child and I return home. What’s going to happen to my daughter or son? How will we get through this difficult time? This is a stressful time for you and your family. You may or may not know what is wrong with your child, let alone when they will be well enough to go home.
Each day your child is in the hospital, the doctors and nurses make their rounds and have a discussion about your loved one. The staff will discuss your child’s current state or condition, test results, a possible diagnosis and a treatment plan. When discharge is near, a potential time to go home will also be mentioned.
Depending on the severity of your child’s condition, your child may have a short or long hospital stay. Usually, if your child is having difficulty breathing and requiring oxygen, their hospital stay will be extended. If medical tests need to be scheduled, their discharge may be delayed. There also is that unfortunate possibility that there is something more serious and complicated occurring.
When Savannah was preemie, she was in the hospital for 6 months because of many misdiagnoses and difficulty breathing. Since outgrowing her preemie years, the longest hospital stay that she has had lasted a week. She has been hospitalized for Viruses, RSV (Respiratory Synctial Virus, Bronchitis, chest colds, Flu and respiratory distress.
The Pros of a Hospital Stay
- You get a break from your normal routine.
- Nurses are taking care of your child.
- Training and additional resources are provided to you.
- Most hospitals have a pull out bed, blankets, pillows, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels and a bathroom including a bathtub/ shower for you to use.
- If the hospital is located in a nice area or city such as Chicago, you can enjoy yourself a little and take breaks by going for a walk, sightseeing or go shopping.
- Your child gets the help and treatment they need to get better.
Cons of a Hospital Stay
- You miss being home.
- You don’t have everything you need.
- If you have a spouse and other kids, you miss them.
- Hospital stays are usually expensive.
- Every day your child is in the hospital, you lose sleep due to your child having difficulty sleeping and nurses often entering the hospital room.
Time to Go Home
After a day, several days or longer of being in the hospital, the doctors and nurses will discuss their plan for discharge. This news will be a relief of an emotional roller coaster and stressful time for you and your family. Usually when you are about to leave the hospital, there’s a new treatment to learn or different medication (s) to give. You will be thrilled to be able to pack up your and your child’s belongings. Lastly, the hospital transport department will arrive and help you to your car.
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