Of all the things a parent is bound to experience with a child, we can check off an important one from Lizzie’s list - our first visit to the Emergency Room. I guess that just leaves our first grounding for staying out all night with a boy, our first visit to her dormitory at university and our first visit to bail her out of jail.
Something to look forward to.
Ok, it is not as tragic as all that. Last Saturday night, Lizzie, who had been complaining of a stomach ache, got an incredibly high temperature and complained more and more that her stomach hurt. When I heard, “Mommy, it really hurts” I knew that she was not kidding. First reaction, call a doctor or emergency services. We did both and they were both in agreement - take Lizzie to the hospital because it could be an appendicitis. We were also asked if we wanted an ambulance. It was at night and we knew that Misiu would be faster, so he drove her to the surgical ER as indicated by Emergency services.
I cannot describe the feelings I had as I packed a little backpack for my baby (my almost 4-year-old baby) to go the ER and possibly stay at the hospital for an operation. Extra underpants, pj’s, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a plastic cup, a washcloth, a towel, one of her favorite books, her health book, and of course Maciek, her doll. Misiu quickly printed out his bank statement proving that we in fact pay our taxes and are insured. Hospitals declare that you have a week to provide them with proof that you are insured, but we know from our past experience that sometimes that is not the truth.
And so they left for the hospital, my brave little Lizzie and braver Daddy, while I stayed at home with Rosie. Talk about ants in the pants (or maybe owsiki w gaciach), I couldn’t sit still. I was pacing around our apartment, talking to myself and checking the clock every 5 minutes. After an hour and 45 minutes, I sent Misiu a text message asking if he had any news. I also congratulated myself that I was able to wait an hour and 45 minutes without calling. Misiu answered that everything was ok and they would be coming home soon.
And so my brave duo came back home, but not until after visiting 2 hospitals and a 24-hour pharmacy. Why 2 hospitals? Well, for suspicion of appendicitis Lizzie was seen at a surgical ER. When the surgical ER figured it wasn’t surgical, they were done with her and sent her to the pediatric ER…on the other side of town. Thank goodness we have a car, but for those families who don’t and cannot afford a taxi, what are they supposed to do? Misiu packed Lizzie in the car and was off to the pediatric ER where they diagnosed her with severe tonsillitis. They gave her something for her fever, waited for it to come down a bit and then sent her home with a prescription for antibiotics, a reassurance that tonsil infections can cause bad stomach pain in little creatures such as Lizzie, and a teddy bear sticker for the very brave patient.
Compared to our last ER visit (Misiu’s unfortunate pickle jar incident), Lizzie’s visit was quite good and for the doctors, I suppose, pretty routine. Lizzie did not have to wait in line, but she did have to go to 2 different hospitals. Lizzie’s stomach examination consisted of “macanie” (poking) and did not include any USG as I had expected. No urine was tested not did they draw any blood.
Emergency services offered an ambulance right away and nobody treated us like over-anxious parents wasting the time and resources of the Polish health care system. We did not have to pay for the ER visit(s) and that consideration never entered our minds. With our child in pain, we didn’t think twice whether we could afford an ER visit or an emergency surgery, and although I was pacing the apartment worried for the safety of my child, I wasn’t worried about the safety of my child and how I was going to pay for it.