Stay At Home Nerd: In Case of Emergency…
Whether I call my doctor, my son’s doctor, or my therapist the message is always the same: “If this is an emergency, please hang up the phone and dial 911 immediately.” I’d like to think I know the difference between a real emergency and say confirming an appointment. There is a gray area, however, between calling 911 and doing nothing, and it’s called poison control. For those of you who don’t know, the number to poison control is 1-800-222-1222. Do you have it memorized? Good.
The first time I called poison control was the scariest. I’d just taken my infant son on a monster walk during a hot Southern Californian day. I was sweating, had drank a lot of water and really had to go to the bathroom. We were greeted inside by the luxury of central air and that cool breeze only served to make going number one the number one thing to do. Ordinarily I would leave my son safely strapped in his stroller while I took care of business, but he was hot too and cranky. I unfastened the belts and sat him on the floor. He picked up a toy block and looked at it like it was the most important thing in the world. I figured that kind of rapt attention would buy me at least the minute and a half of healing I needed. It didn’t.
There is a certain kind of baby silence that warns parents of danger. The more time you spend with a kid, the more you come to depend on the everyday noises they make. At nine months old my son coos, da-da-das, smacks his lips, slaps his pancake-sized paws on the ground when he crawls, and provides a variety of other noises that let me know he’s okay. When I finished going to the bathroom I was greeted with stone-deaf silence, which can only mean one thing – my son was doing something he wasn’t supposed to. Sometimes that something is dangerous, sometimes it isn’t.
My first thought was that he’s trying to pull over the floor lamp. We have a floor lamp that my son loves to try and knock over. The couch braces it, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. We should probably move it, but it’s still there. In hindsight, I should’ve known that messing with the lamp creates more noise than what I was hearing. However, I looked at the lamp standing in the corner expecting to see my son there. When he wasn’t, my heart rate increased. It’s a weird moment of panic when your baby isn’t where you put them. Now, I don’t have a huge place. I don’t even have a big place. The front door was locked. The door to the bedroom was shut. The baby gate to the hallway was closed. The patio door was closed and locked. I’m not sure if I considered any of these options anyway because what I did see was that the baby gate to the kitchen was ajar.
This isn’t necessarily a problem on it’s own. Unfortunately we’ve been experiencing unwelcome guests in the form of ants and the kitchen has two such traps on the floor. The five steps it took to cross the living room to the kitchen were the longest of my life. I half-expected to see my son passed out on the kitchen floor, an ant trap or two at his side and a guilty smile on his face. Fortunately, I got there in time to see him lift one of the ant traps toward his wide mouth with nothing but delight in his eyes. With a precision I didn’t know I had, I struck the ant trap out of his hands and lifted him into my arms. I rushed to the storage closet, grabbed the packaging and read the poison warning. I was sweating worse now, and this may be the most nervous I ever was. The packaging had the warning, but it didn’t have the number for poison control. My son wasn’t coughing, or turning blue. He didn’t throw up, so I didn’t call 911. I called 411 got the number for poison control and dialed it.
When you call poison control they are calm and nice. They ask you some questions. What did he ingest? How much? How long ago? They give you some answers. In my case I told them the ingredients in the ant trap and they told me it was boric acid. I told them how much and they told me it wasn’t enough to be life threatening. They recommended I give him something to drink and warned that he might have an upset stomach. He didn’t. I thanked them and thought to myself, I will never forget that number. Do you still have it memorized? Good.
The second time I called poison control was the funniest. Now, that my son is working on his pincher grasp, that’s little index finger and thumb, he likes to comb the carpet for lint and shove it in his mouth. It’s never quite enough to choke on although I have pulled a fur ball or two from the back of his throat. This time he was playing with some toys on the floor and I was two feet away from him. Sometimes when he plays he reminds me of an overzealous college professor with a one-track mind. I watched him do it. He didn’t look up or at me. He just spotted a small ball of lint on the rug grabbed it, shoved it in his mouth and it was gone. There were no precision moves on my part just shock and awe. He was smiling. I called his doctor to make sure it was okay to eat carpet. The receptionist told me to call poison control and that a nurse would call me back. Easy I thought. I have the number memorized. It’s 1-800-222-1212. I picked up the phone and dialed 1-800-222-1212. I was met with a friendly and helpful phone sex recording. I stayed on the phone long enough to make sure I was hearing what I was hearing and then laughing to myself, I hung up the phone. I called 411 again and got the correct number.
My son was fine. Carpet lint should just come out the other end they said. They told me to call 911 if he has trouble breathing, or starts salivating a lot. He didn’t. I’m still waiting for the lint. In the meantime I keep repeating to myself that the number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222, 1-800-222-1222, 1-800-222-1222, 1-800… and so should you.
Today’s weight: 300 lbs. ugh.