DON’T PANIC* » Teeny Manolo


By Glinda


On Monday night, the Munchkin was sick.

He was being given acetominophen, but at about 9:30pm, his temperature clocked in at 103.6.

Now, I’m normally not one to panic but he was looking pretty peaked and I thought to myself, hmmm, 103.6 is pretty freaking high.  And that’s even taking into account that his system already had fever reducer in it.

We have a health plan that has a 24 hour nurse hotline, and I figured since we pay for it, I might as well use it.  I was considering taking him in to urgent care, but usually I like to stay home as much as possible and just sort of ride the illness out.   I’ve found that just as much harm can be done hauling kids out of bed in the cold of night and sitting in a waiting room just to discover there’s not a whole lot that can be done. 

Been there, done that.

So I’m on hold waiting for the nurse and she finally comes on the line.  She has to ask me some prescribed questions about the Munchkin’s condition, and I answer them in a very calm and serene manner.  I tell her his temperature, I inform her that he is not fainting, nor is he having problems moving his extremities.

But then she asks me, “What color is his tongue?”

Good question.

I make him stick it out, and I answer, “Well, to be honest, it looks sort of gray.”

She replies, “Gray? Did you say his tongue was gray?”

Still looking at it, I answer in the affirmative, as there is sort of a grayish coating on it.  Sorry if that’s gross-sounding, but if you’re a parent you’ve heard and seen much, much worse, I’m sure.

I hear the nurse say, “A gray tongue is a possible sign that he isn’t getting enough oxygen.  I want you to hang up right now and call 911.”

Me, “Huh?”

Her, “Yes, I want you call 911 right now.”

Me, “Uh, yeah, OK, whatever.”

Because dude, I know that he is getting plenty of oxygen and it is the NURSE who is now panicking, not me.

I’m sure she hung up the phone thinking my son was surely headed to his doom because his mother was so nonchalant about his oxygen-starved brain.

But I’m pretty sure I made the right decision.

Although the Munchkin sure was disappointed he didn’t get to ride in an ambulance.

Tough luck, kid.

*Ten points for the title of the book this is from.

9 Responses to “DON’T PANIC*”

  1. marvel Says:

    …and carry a towel.
    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Douglas Adams

  2. Glinda Says:

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a winnah!

  3. class factotum Says:

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

  4. Glinda Says:

    Damn dolphins.

  5. Awesome Mom Says:

    Darn not quick enough. That nurse was silly for not asking if there were other signs of not getting enough oxygen such as blue lips. You may want to report her for over reacting because you would not want her to be freaking out other parents who don’t have as much common sense as you do.

  6. marvel Says:

    No, the RNs who staff the hotlines have a set protocol they must follow. It’s a flowchart. If any parent answers “yes” to any of several critical questions, the default is to send the kid into a doctor immediately. This will lead to some overcalling of severity, but hopefully won’t miss any truly sick kids. It’s an imperfect system and better safe than sorry.

    Perhaps there could have been a more detailed discussion about what constituted a “gray” tongue (the RN clearly thought the whole tongue was gray, while it seems that Glinda simply meant the tongue had a gray coating, which is obviously different). Lips are hard because, for instance, if a kid has been eating blue popsicles the lips can appear “blue” even though they are not hypoxic. One might could mention it to one’s pediatrician at the next visit, and perhaps they might consider a clarification of their protocol.

    I am glad the Munchkin is okay! And hope he is feeling better.

  7. class factotum Says:

    If they have a flowchart, then why does it need to be an RN answering the call?

  8. marvel Says:

    Medicolegal reasons. Plus one does want someone with some baseline knowledge of clinical medicine.

  9. gemdiva Says:

    …..and then the Munchkin’s temperature leveled out at 42 and they lived happily and improbably, ever after.

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