How can you get the feeling of urgency when you’re made to wait for over an hour and a half to be seen?
Declan fell off our bed this morning. To put this in perspective, our bed has a 19 inch mattress which is about a foot off the floor. So Declan fell about 3 ft to land on his back and bump his head on the floor.
He immediately started crying, Libs picked him up and held him on the bed for about 10 minutes before she told she was concerned that he seemed sluggish. He’d slowed down considerably. Something I attributed to shock but that Libs thought meant he could be concussed.
I called my retired nurse of a mom who basically said “Better safe than sorry, bring him in.” So we packed up, went to Toronto East General Hospital nearby.
I think the second you say your child has suffered head trauma, regardless of the degree of it, a healthcare professional might consider at least briefly checking on him. Even if it’s only to make sure it isn’t a sign of parental abuse, for god’s sake. I’d happily be put in cuffs if someone could just allay my fear that little D wasn’t hurt. However, not at TEGH. Nope, they put us into the system, told us to wait in the pediatric waiting room where he could watch tv. The tv that didn’t work. And he could play with the toys. The incredibly dirty toys.
So there we were. Worrying about concussion. Declan recovered quickly and was playing with the toys within minutes. If you ever need to balance between holding Declan and letting him play with filthy toys knowing you’ll wash his hands afterwards, let him play, man. Let him play.
After an hour and a half, we all became impatient. Declan had missed breakfast and was getting incredibly cranky. He wanted out of the confines of the room, so Libs started to walk around a little with him. I decided to call mom again and see what she thought.
“What’s he like? Still sluggish?”
“Nope, he’s running around like a maniac, pointing at every drawing and painting and naming all the stuff he sees.”
“Are his pupils dilating? Or locked and fixed?”
“Well, if I cover his eyes I get about a second before my hand is forcibly removed by him and I can see they change a little. I don’t really get enough time to make his eyes react, but they do a little.”
“Go ask how long you can expect to wait and if they it’s a lot longer, check yourselves out.”
So that’s what I did. The chart hadn’t even been moved to the ward. When I asked one of the three nurses standing around the station if they just wanted to pop their heads in to take a quick look, I got a resounding “No”. And I was reminded that all the beds were full and it would be a while. An indeterminate length of time, of course.
So we checked him out. I am so angry right now with TEGH. Is this what happens when you’re considered an essential service? You become simply “essential” without “service”?
Note, I did check his pupils with a flashlight while he was eating breakfast at home and they definitely reacted. His mood improved even more when we finally were able to give him the cheerios he wanted so badly.
Screw you, Toronto East General Hospital. Thanks for taking what was a great week at FiTC and ending it with such crap.