Saturday Night in the ER

It’s not really a holiday season in our house unless we spend some quality time in an ER.

This time, it was Maura, with a fever, complaining about her tummy.

Now, we already had The Plague that has been going around, and though she threw up on Thursday afternoon, it was just once, and she was fine afterwards.  So I didn’t think it was The Plague, Part Two.  Josh and Collin were victims of A Mighty Headcold, so at first, I thought maybe the fever was that turning into an ear infection.  But a trip to the doctor’s on Thursday showed ears and throat were fine.

But Saturday morning, Maura woke up, quite feverish, complaining about her stomach.  To the point that Collin said “I’ll get her a bucket, just in case.”

But she never threw up, just got more feverish and pathetic.

Our doctor’s clinic has Saturday hours. But by the time I called, the doctor was about to leave for the day.  “Call this clinic.” they said, referring us to a sort of urgent care clinic.  I called them (it’s appointment only) – and was first told they were full.  So I pleaded my case, and got an appointment at 5 pm.

Now, this isn’t my first pony ride, so I packed a bag with some knitting, the fully charged iPad, my Kindle.  Just in case.  Because we didn’t know what we were dealing with, and the thought of appendicitis had popped into my head.

We get to the clinic, wait about five minutes and are seen by the doctor – who pushes on Maura’s stomach, which causes her to go “ow” and pushes his hand away.  He said “Okay, I’m sending you to the ER at the children’s hospital, she probably needs a scan.”

Alrighty then.

We go over to the children’s hospital, and get checked in, get seen by triage almost instantly, and they’re nice enough to find us a room and give Maura some 7-Up, as they wanted a urine sample.

A urine sample.


With these words, our night goes a bit south.  Because despite telling people “She’s not toilet trained, she is not good at giving urine samples”, they’re constantly certain that we’re lying to them, that Maura is capable of it.

Well, she is, in the right circumstances.  In a hospital, upset, feverish and exhausted?  Not the right circumstances.

They need a urine sample to rule out a UTI.  Except Maura’s never ever had a UTI.  Ever.  And I really didn’t think this was the problem.  But I decided to play along, and asked if they had one of those urine catchers.

“You mean a baggie? No.”

No. A urine catcher thing that you set inside the toilet.

“I don’t think we have one of those.”

What they do have is the little vial for me to catch the wee in.  It’s not even a wide-mouthed vial, but more of a medium one (I say this because I’ve seen smaller.)

I’ll admit, I was more than a bit pessimistic that this was going to happen.  But, I offered to give it a try.  It gave us something to do during our 3+ hour wait to be seen.

The first trip to the bathroom, the only thing that occurred was Maura screaming at me as we wrestled with her pants.  The second trip, I got her on the toilet, but she decided the little cup was evil and she wanted it no where near her body and clamped her knees together, while intermittently crying and screaming at me.

At about 10 pm (we had arrived at 6 pm) Maura was passed out on the bed, I was bored with knitting and Josh decided to play squeaky wheel.  I gave him the perfect excuse – it was past the time we usually gave Maura her evening dose of seizure meds.  So he asked how much longer would it be, because if it was going to be longer, we had to get the girl some meds.

Ten minutes later, a doctor shows up.

Now, she was lovely, and she worked with Maura as much as Maura would let her.  Checked ears, throat, those were fine still.  Pressed tummy a lot, Maura cried a bit (you know, because she was sick and sleepy and someone was pressing her boo boo tummy.)

And then the doctor says “We really need a urine sample.”


So we steer Maura back to the bathroom, where she cried on the toilet when not trying to fall asleep on me.

At this point, I’m trying not to be cranky about it all, as I kneel on this hospital bathroom floor, touching sink and toilet seat, feet going to sleep, knees aching, child pushing her hot head into me as she slumps over, throwing me off balance.  All I could think of was all the germs I was coming into contact with, and what sort of plague I’d end up with because of said germs.

All the while, I’m trying not to get cranky with the girl, who is sick and tired and does not understand why I want her to pee into a cup, why I won’t just take her home.

Twenty minutes into this, as people keep trying the door handle, Maura keeps crying, and I’m waiting for hospital security to barge in to see why this child is crying, a thought pops into my head…

…I could just pee into the cup.

It made perfect sense for about a minute.  I could just pee into the cup, it would show no UTI, and we could move on.

Or it could turn into a “Why does your daughter have the urine of a 40 year old woman?” and “What are you trying to hide?”

So while the thought of producing the urine sample for Maura was quite appealing as I knelt on the hospital bathroom’s floor while Maura wiped her nose into my hair…I did not go through with the idea.

Instead, I realized we were done.  There would be no urine sample tonight.

Now, after the doctor had pushed around on her stomach, but before we went to the bathroom, Maura passed gas.  As in, she farted.  Loudly and longly.   Keep this in mind, we’ll get back to this.

So when we stated there would be no urine sample tonight, the doctor said that maybe the tummy pain was from constipation, and as Maura did have a history of constipation, we could get her x-rayed, see if there’s any issues there.


We go up to the x-ray department, where we notice that Maura’s walking better (up until this point she was hunching over.)  As we’re walking back, Maura’s perking up.  I said “I swear, if this is all because of some gas…”  well, I don’t know what I was going to do.  Cry?  Laugh?  Stop at a pub on the way home?

Doctor comes in with the x-ray results.  Maura is pretty full.  There’s one bit up higher that really needs to move south.  She writes up a plan of action, which involves a stimulant laxative, followed by a regular laxative, a hazmat suit, and a bottle of whiskey (okay, most of that is my plan.)

I made the doctor laugh by saying “Well Merry Christmas to us!”, which led to the predictable “gift that keeps on giving” line of jokes.  At this point, even Maura’s smiling.

We left at midnight, with our prescription, plan of action, a little wee cup, and the promise that we’d bring in the cup with actual Maura wee in it the next day (because we knew that we could get a sample from her first thing in the morning, when she’s full but still sleepy enough not to fight it.)

As of today, the urine sample has been collected and dropped off, the fever has gone down on its own, the girl has been passing gas like a champ, and Josh and I have been wandering around going “All this because she has to poop.”

Seven hours of my life – gone.

But at least it wasn’t her appendix causing trouble. And we can get her good and cleaned out.  And she’s already feeling better.  And the grand designs we have for this holiday period won’t have to be canceled or altered.  And most of my Christmas stuff is done.

Remind me of all this when I’m elbow deep in poop.

Maura, sleeping peacefully under the giant spider on the wall...yeah, I don't know what's up with that spider...
Maura, sleeping peacefully in the ER, under the giant spider on the wall…yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that spider…