Friday, March 14, 2008

Living in the Country is Not Always Ideal

Most of the time, I can't imagine living anywhere but in the country.

Today was not one of those times.

My littlest girl woke up from her nap with the familiar howl of a child with an ear infection. Having been through this experience a time or twenty, I fetched my own personal otoscope and had a look. Sure enough, the eardrum was bulging and beginning to turn pink around the edges.

I looked at my watch. By the time we drove to town, the doctor would be gone. Why do we live so far away from town? Why is it that children develop ear infections on Friday afternoon? Why not, say, Wednesday at noon? Or Tuesday morning? In my experience, the ears always flare up at the precise time that the doctor leaves her office for the weekend.

Such was the case today, so I called in the nanny (a.k.a. Daddy) to watch the other kids and loaded up the feverish little body into her car seat. It's an hour's drive to town, and she was not happy most of the way.

We arrived at the ER and signed in. The small town hospital is usually quite empty, so I was surprised that we had to wait. We took a seat and waited. And waited. And waited.

After about an hour, they called us in. I was relieved, since my daughter was beginning to be restlessly naughty in the waiting room. We moved into the exam room and told the nurse the happenings of the the past week. She took down the information and relayed it to the doctor in the next room.

We then waited some more. The toddler was now feeling the effects of the last dose of Tylenol, and she perked up enough to explore the room. Thoroughly. She opened and closed metal cabinets, their slamming doors resonating throughout the hospital. She stepped on and off the small bathroom scale, tipping it up and crashing it down again as she stepped off. She opened the metal door to the heater controls and let it fall down. More crashing.

The final straw was broken when she bent over and pushed the brake lever on the examination bed, snapping it on her finger and sending the bed flying across the room. I'm not sure if the noise of the brake was louder than her crying; it was hard to hear.

Surely, I thought, the doctor would hear the commotion and come to my rescue.

Not so much.

We waited some more, and her wailing turned into whining. "I want to go home, Mama."

"Yes, honey. So do I. You have no idea."

Finally, the doctor came in. I repeated all the information I had told the nurse. He asked about her ear infection history. I told him that I bought my own otoscope after I lost count of how many infections she had developed. He looked skeptical, but he looked in her ears nonetheless.

Guess what? She has an ear infection.

We left the hospital armed with a prescription and headed to the only place left open in town that would fill it. We lined up behind all the people who had been in the ER before we were. I began to be optimistic that we would be home sometime before summer.

After navigating some snowy and icy roads on the way home, we arrived at about 9:15. The kids were all tucked in bed, and their sister soon followed. I have high hopes that our weeks of illness will be coming to a close very soon.

P.S. I want to thank you all for your comments. I do read all of them, but I haven't responded to many lately (due to my spring cleaning frenzy, calving, and my sick kids). I'll do another Q&A next week when (hopefully) everyone is well again.


Treasia said...

What a wise investment you made. I hope she feels better soon.

Mum-me said...

I really hope and pray that all the children will be well soon. As I read your blog (and those of other families) I am often amazed at how we may be on opposite sides of the world but so many things are so much the same. My children always put a tooth through their their lip, gash their head, stick a sultana up their nose or develop an ear infection sometime after 5pm on Friday (when the doctors are all off duty for the weekend) and we have to go to casuality at the hospital and wait forever (I waited 6 hours one night to get one stitch in my daughter's forehead.) And we live in the national capital!

Let Them Be Little said...

We live in the city but our kids wait until the middle of the night on Friday to get really sick. It is the strangest thing. That is really cool that you know how to diagnose their ear infections.

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