First let me say that we are home and everyone is OK, but today was very stressful, very scary, and could have ended very differently. Before nap time, I usually let the boys watch one TV show and today was no exception. Joshua wen to use the potty, which he can do quite aptly by himself. Justin was cuddled on my lap. A few minutes later I glanced over on the floor near the couch where I was sitting and saw Joshua finishing off a bottle of children’s tylenol. He was so proud of himself and even said, “I drinked the whole thing, Mommy! All the medicine so I can feel better!” He has had an ear infection and had fevers, and has had trouble sleeping due to the ear pain. I had given him a dose of it before bedtime the last couple nights, it was on the counter, though pushed way back out of reach. He had managed to climb up and get it, and open the “child proof” cap before drinking an unknown amount.
Way back when I was pregnant and we met our pediatrician for the first time, she suggested we put her number and the poison control number into our phones so if we ever needed it, we wouldn’t have to fumble and search for it. Very good advice. I wish I could say this was the only time I have called. It isn’t. But this time has been the only time it has been a real danger. They told me that I should take him to the ER immediately. It was a terrifying thing to hear. I was trying to stay calm but internally panicking. Within a few minutes I had shoes on both kids, called Jeff at work and we were in the car on the way to the hospital. They said we didn’t need an ambulance be we needed to get there as soon as possible.
Initially we were told by the doctor that they treat it as a “worst-case scenario” and treat as though he had consumed the entire contents of the bottle without spilling a drop. He was monitored, and they had to do a blood test to determine how much was in his system. We were told that we should prepare for him to be transferred to the nearest Pediatric ICU if the blood test showed too much toxicity. Our local hospital is great but is not set up for Pediatric ICU. The nearest one is at least an hour away.
Jeff arrived within an hour and took Justin home. Justin was very sad to leave his brother and mother behind, but told Daddy that he would feel better if he had chicken nuggets and a milkshake. Up until he left though, I have to say Justin was the best behaved I have ever seen either kid ever. He was quiet, stayed right by me and listened to everything I told him. Later when I got home and thanked him for being so good he said, “Yeah but Daddy made me leave!” I think he was freaked out by the whole thing. I know I was.
Joshua fought the oxygen monitor and ripped it off his toe more than once. He was crabby and not enjoying any aspect of being confined to a bed. The nurses indulged his demands for snacks and juice. Finally after more than two hours of fighting and tantrums, he fell asleep laying on my chest. Within about 30 minutes, however, they came in to take blood at the 4-hour mark. It was terrible. He was terrified and fought so hard. He screamed so hard his voice was hoarse. They strapped him to a board to immobilize them and it took three nurses to get the blood. (And only after trying one arm and failing then doing it again with the other.)
About an hour later the doctor came in to tell us that based on his bloodwork his level of toxicity was “high but not fatal” which was a relief. They had pumped IV fluids into him for about an hour and his IV was removed and he was given a lollipop so he was finally happy. After nearly six hours at the ER we were free to go home.
It was a relief to be home with our whole family and know we can rest. I can assure you all the medications, especially the ones that taste like candy, will be stored on the highest shelves. He hasn’t been feeling well with the ear infections, in his 3-year-old brain he apparently thought taking more medicine would help. I hope to never repeat this experience, but I am proof this can happen to anyone. He was able to get the bottle open on his own, despite the so-called “child proof” top, and had the whole thing gone in seconds. He didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. Even on the ride to the hospital when I was attempting to explain where we were going and why, he said, “I not feeling good, I need medicine!”
I am hoping he sleeps well tonight, though I doubt I will, I think I will be checking on him and worrying until I know that the bulk of it is out of his system.
So go make sure your medicine is out of reach of your little ones.