Emergency Room Visit, CHKD

We had to take Martina to the ER last night. She’s going to be fine.
Yesterday morning she woke up with a cough and a bad headache. When she didn’t want to eat, I knew something bad was up so I asked her to sit down and try some bagel and juice. She did and then threw it all up. Same thing with everything she tried to drink for the next 6+ hours. She was achy, sleepy, whiny, feverish and kept telling me she felt like she was dying. I’m way too superstitious to take that statement lightly, especially coming from a kid who bites the dog back.
I called the nurse line provided by our insurance company and she was phone-triaged. When the nurse heard about the headache and that her neck also hurt she told us to take her to the doctor immediately. Same thing with the nurse on call from our pediatrician’s office. They were concerned about meningitis, obviously, and I didn’t think that was it but we took her in anyway.
We decided that Suffolk VA’s Obici hospital ER on a Saturday night was probably a bad idea. It always has been in the past. We took her to CHKD in Norfolk, VA. The rate of service is usually pretty good there–they get you in and seen fairly quickly–as opposed to the other ERs I’ve visited in my 22 years of being a mom. The triage nurse, intake personnel and doctors were all fantastic. Dr. Tomlin, the Resident who saw Martina was absolutely wonderful. His bedside manner was calm and confident and he really took the time to discuss the illness, answer questions and discuss treatment with Mark and I. He looked SO young! He was very sweet with Martina. We had a nurse who brought meds, whose name I cannot remember and who was wonderful and there was Tracy, the -insert proper title here- who came to answer questions or calm fears as need be. She was awesome.
Then there was Nurse Hope, who started out okay for the first minute or two, but after that all hope was lost and she was mean and awful. She scared Martina so badly that the poor kid was shaking and in tears and Nurse Hope didn’t even notice…or she didn’t react at all if she did notice. I have to say that it is very difficult to watch someone treat my child like the nurse treated Martina. The child was laying very still, tears streaming quietly down her cheeks, her entire body quivering from fear, tubes and cords and electrodes everywhere and the ‘trained professional’ didn’t take one second to explain what she was doing or why. Martina thought she was going to electrocuted (she caught about 45 seconds of the Francis Farmer Story the other night and it was the electric shock therapy portion). The nurse had the attitude that she was doing her job on an object that just needed to lay there and take it. Nothing like the young lady who came in and did the nasal swab to test for influenza. That young lady, whose name has also evaporated from my brain, was fabulous–she went about her job slowly and calmly, explained what she was doing and why, did the swab, told Martina what great patient she had been and went off to the lab.
It’s funny how one rotten apple can spoil the barrel. I attempted to explain to her later why a 6 year old child might be frightened of something that looks like an electrical connection being glued onto her chest but the nurse cut me off and told me that she’s been working with kids for years then stomped out the door. Poor children. Her bedside manner was non-existent, her attitude of address toward my child, me and my husband was abrupt and bordered on nasty. When I tried to counter her meanness by asking if she were having a rough night she became defensive.
At times like these it’s really validating to be married to a shipyard worker who rarely takes offense at anything. He was appalled by the behavior of Nurse Hope(less). I considered requesting a new nurse because there’s not much worse than being in an ER room with your very ill child and having the nurse, the person who you are depending on the most, show up in a nasty temper.
Overall the experience was okay but all day long Martina has talked off and on about how much that nurse scared her.
CHKD and all staff that were so wonderful to us: Thank You!
Nurse Hope: I think the Docking Shop is hiring. You’d fit right in.

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