Monday the 9th of September was one of the most terrifying days of my adult/mom life. It all started like any other Monday, woke up and got ready for work while Mr. Lifes Good gets our 19month old daughter ready for daycare. However, we soon noticed that baby girl is very sleepy and not really responsive. He puts her in the bathtub, still nothing. Now normally she puts up a major fight when we dress her, but this time around she lay there. At first, I thought she’s just tired following the busy Sunday we had, but after she failed to react when I pinched her, I realized something was seriously wrong and we rushed her off to the hospital.
At this point, a lot went through my mind as I tried not to freak out. We spent the Sunday over at friends as they celebrated their mother’s birthday. The little ones wandered into a room after it was left open by one of the older children present. Soon after going into the room unnoticed, they came out and my friends’ little one had something in his hand which he came and through on the ground in front of us. As we got up to see what it was, we discovered to our horror that it was a blue pallet of rat poison. Knowing our daughter, my husband jumped up to check her mouth and said it looked like she had something in it. He started to freak out; while I gestured to him to just take it out. He placed his finger in her mouth and nothing came out. At this point, the tension in the room raised and some of the other parents started shouting for her to be given a glass of milk. I assessed the situation and reconned it best to make her vomit instead. Reasoning that the rat poison is not an abrasive chemical and that it would not do harm if she vomits it out. Giving her something to drink may speed up the digestion.
So there I was in the bathroom with my finger down my daughter’s throat. I tell you, I may have seemed calm to my husband and friends as they later explained, but inside I was freaking out. At first, I couldn’t put my finger down deep enough for her to vomit and this made me freak out even more. After a second try, she started to vomit all the while I’m trying to see if I can see any traces of blue in her vomit. When I was satisfied with the amount of vomit and me not seeing anything blue; I cleaned her up and figured she probably did not ingest any rat poison. So we continued our day and she carried on being her very active self. Later that evening she developed a fever, but we weren’t phased because she also had a fever the previous day.
Now here I was Monday morning thinking could this be the rat poison. I did what I always tell my patients, friends, and family never to do, I googled signs of rat poisoning in humans. I was pleasantly relieved when I read through the list and realized that she didn’t have any of the symptoms described. My relief was shortlived when I eventually came to the last 2 signs which read: “extreme fatigue and fast breathing”(which she displayed). I tell you my heart sank into my chest. I also read that some signs take up to days to manifest. Then and there I started to cry. What kind of a mother was I to let things get to this point? What if she died in her sleep chocking on her own blood and I’m giving her fever meds meanwhile she is busy bleeding on the inside? We rushed her to the hospital where we were told that she will have to spend the night to be monitored since this is such a dangerous poison. They did some blood test, put up a drip and my child did not even cry, further proof that something was seriously wrong.
While we were waiting on the test results, the doctor on duty called the Pediatrician who informed them that she could go home if her blood results were fine. My mommy instincts were telling me that something was wrong. She began to cough while waiting in casualty, and was still very lethargic. The doctor decided to do a chest x-ray as well, and it turned out that she had Pneumonia and was admitted for that. Dr said that if she had taken any of the poison based on the blood results it was not much at all. So, we spent 3 days and 2 nights in the hospital.
Now, before you go mom-shaming me and judging my parenting skills, which I feel a lot of people have already done, I wish to just remind you that I don’t think it is possible to watch your child for 24 hours a day. I have replayed everything over in my head and I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I have blamed myself for what happened and I’ve been so hard on myself, especially when people ask us how it happened, with judgment in their tone. Normally once they learn it didn’t happen at my home, then comes the, why not take her to casualty same day? I don’t know if its the nursing side of me, but I always try to sort out what I can at home. Besides, there was no real way of being certain if she had taken anything in. Once the vomit had no signs of blue pellets I was secure in my choice not to rush to casualty.
This may have been a blessing in disguise, because if we didn’t suspect her of taking poison, the extreme sleepiness on Monday morning may have been seen as just being overtired. Who knows we may have picked it up to late and things may have been worse. One thing I know for sure, my baby girl is up to her usual antics and I could not be any happier. She has taken to trying to eat the puppy food, so we let the puppy eat outside and once he’s done we bring the bowl in and put it out of reach of her inquisitive mind and hands.
As always, these are my Naked Bullets. If you have any, shoot right ahead in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
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