Every challenge in our lives gives us ample opportunities for learning. During a recent ER visit, I got a chance to add a few more notes to my "lessons learned" list. Our first night in the ER, we had been up all night, NPO, no sleep, noisy ER, constant questions, and Erin with the abdominal pain At 5 a.m., she finally fell asleep. Not two minutes after this, five nurses came in the room armed w/an NG tube, turned on the lights and proceeded to prep her for the insertion. Now, we've had an NG tube put in before and she did beautifully. This time was different. She was exhausted and in sensory overload, then she was rushed into this unpleasant procedure. Needless to say, it didn't go well. They tried to put it in but she really struggled and at some point, she pulled it out. Things got pretty intense and I ended up telling them to leave and let us calm down. Fortunately, a few minutes later, one of the calmest doctors I have ever met walked in and just sat in the room with us. She talked to Erin respectfully, listened to her, and helped us work out a better treatment option. From then on, we did not have a cross word.
A couple of reminders came from this for me. The key to solving this was involving Erin in the decision and giving her time to think. It was a reminder to me that she is almost 11 years old and although I have spent the last 11 years of my life hovering over her and guiding every step, she is now at the age where she deserves to have more input. Trying to force her to do this was a disaster. Letting her participate in the decision worked. This is so important.
The other thing that came from this is that almost anything is possible for us when calm prevails, but little positive is going to come when anxiety is high. Not much lends itself to calm in the ER, but it's more important than ever for me to do whatever I can to add a little peace to the more challenging environments like that.
I guess that by the time she is grown, I will have figured out how best to deal with her childhood! By that time, she'll be the one taking care of me. From what I can see, if that is the case, I'll be in good hands. 🙂