Thursday, April 10, 2008

Children Hurt? Which Hospital?

I read an article today at CNN that spoke of the problem some ERs have in treating children. Whether the child's emergency is an asthma attack or a broken leg, some hospitals only have adult-sized equipment. This is a problem if a baby needs an IV or a small child needs a breathing mask.

The CNN article recommends that you decide which hospital to visit in advance of life-threatening emergencies for your children; it may make all the difference in the world (although the article does point out that you just need to get your child to ANY hospital if they only have minutes to live).

Here is a handy link to determine in advance which hospitals near you (if any) specialize in pediatrics. I know that using a peds specialty hospital has made the difference in saving my son's life when he was dying from the RSV virus.

1. Click on this link.

2. Select the "By Zip Code" search by typing in your zip code and select the "Distance from Zip Code" mileage you desire (you may need to expand your search if your first effort does not pull up a hospital--I'd recommend initially starting with a broad radius of, say, 50 miles). Click on the Search button.

3. At the next screen, select "Type of Provider" and click on "Pediatric Specialty Hospital". Then click on the Search button (if that choice is not available, you'll need to back up and enter in a broader radius of miles).

When I selected 25 miles as my Search radius, I found two children's hospitals 19 miles or less from my home. I do know that there is another hospital with a specialty wing for pediatrics in my area. I'm not sure why it didn't show up. But this website at least will help you get started reviewing your options.

Again, if your child is dying or really struggling, you just need to get him or her to the closest hospital. Period. But if you have a choice, for example, a scheduled procedure, why not do some research and find a hospital that specializes in serving the smallest amongst us!

P.S. Here is a link to a consent form to have at home for babysitters, should your children need medical attention. Nothing like preparedness to help reduce fear during difficult times. And make sure to read the CNN article, "How to Find the Best ER for Your Child," for all the terrific ideas they offer for emergencies with children.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Water Emergency x 4

OK, what is it that I'm not getting? I've now had four water emergencies in less than three weeks.

Water Shortage #1: City Boil Alert

A short time ago, my city announced an emergency "boil water" alert that lasted for (what felt like) days. Do you know what a pain this is? You can't wash dishes easily, you can't shower easily, and you have no running water that you can trust. Talk about an eye-opener.

Water Shortage #2: Broken Water Pipe

Not two hours after the city lifted the water alert, my husband accidentally cut into our main water pipe outside the house while edging the lawn. Yep, this is right. My neighbors now have clean water again, but we've had to turn ours off. Oh, showering is starting to look like bathing in liquid gold.

Water Shortage #3: Broken Kitchen Faucet

True, a broken kitchen faucet is not a water emergency per se, but when the handle snaps off and your husband is working two jobs and not home, this means you are without water in the kitchen ... for what feels like a very long time (although it ended up being only 3 days). Ever tried washing dishes in the bathroom?

Water Shortage #4: Replacing Water Dial-Thinga-Ma-Jiggy

OK, so not a very official title, but I can't remember the true name for the main water measurer-thingy the city uses to see how much water you guzzle. But just yesterday, the city employee showed up out of the blue to tell me my water would be shut off once again, so he could change to a new dial-thinga-ma-jiggy. Once again, I'm without water ... in less than three weeks time or so.

I think I'm getting the message that emergency preparedness MUST include having a water storage system of some kind! (Otherwise, a family gets awfully thirsty!)