Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the Hazards of Securing Tylenol

Could you check Teya out?
I asked the camp nurse
I think she's just homesick
but want to be sure.

This was the same nurse
who I had gone to
a day before
asking to hold an asthma inhaler
for Angel because she was stressing
that she didn't have it.

Nope Ms. Nurse had clipped
The doctor didn't check this box here.
In an emergency you can call me and
I'll zip right there.

It's a good thing Ms. Nurse doesn't know
about all the inhalers I have in my desk
for a variety of students
which were given via parent
rather than checked box.
I tried to roll my eyes
without Angel noticing.

101 Ms. Nurse pronounces
and begins to call up
the three page medical form
that parents had to fill out
before children could
enter the camp.

I was feeling a little bad
that I'd misdiagnosed
the homesickness and was
about to return to the rest
of my flock when the assistant
said, Just hang on, so we can take
care of a few things here.

So they call her mom who isn't home
and move on to her grandmother.
I'm going to fax you a paper to sign
Ms. Nurse Assistant is saying
so that we can give Teya some Tylenol
do you have a fax? (no)
could you go to the school? (no)
At the grandmother's suggestion
Ms. Nurse Assistant solemnly asks,
Will you sign the sheet? Are you okay with that?

Um yes. It's TYLENOL!
If I had some with me
I'd slip Teya a pill now.

But I don't
so I sign.

Next, Ms. Nurse Assistant
must call the doctor to get permission to administer the tylenol
I wonder why they are paying an RN for this job
when you can't do anything without making a call.

This takes approximately 25 minutes
of calling a clinic, getting disconnected,
being connected to the wrong person,
and waiting for human contact
while I eye the cabinet and calculate my odds
of stealing the tylenol
and giving it to her myself.

But finally, the verbal consent comes through
350 milligrams Ms. Nurse says.
And if her fever doesn't go down,
I can't give her anymore.
I think she's probably going to need more than that

To me,
this is the hazard of living
where we have too much
when there's a little girl
with a simple fever and we can't just walk
across the room, to solve the problem.

We are in the land of plenty
with every resource
sitting on the shelf
waiting
for action.

9 Comments:

Blogger snowsparkle said...

ecm, that seems like an incredibly stressful encounter. if i were to follow the trail, i guess it would lead to attorneys and insurance companies making life so friggin'ly difficult to navigate in these situations. i admire you for your persistance and patience on behalf of your student. welcome home!

12:30 AM  
Anonymous susanna said...

Oh Lord, I'd be rolling my eyes WITH you! I volunteered at a camp a few years ago and I was amazed at all the ridiculous rules the kids had to follow - No Running! No jumping! No barefeet! No scary campfire stories! I mean, this was CAMP! Ah well, we live in a society that loves to sue.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Deezee said...

I don't know how you didn't go completely insane during that whole incident!

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh! Great poem to capture this frustrating dynamic....one that pervades and entangles health care and so many other aspects of our society.
Did you have any fun at camp?
xoxo,
AMPC

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily,
I so related to this. I had the nurse refuse to give a child cough medicine with a note from the doctor and mother. Hello! Just give me the medicine and I'll do it - the kid is coughing!!! So glad you are back. Love you!
iocm

9:12 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

argh...frustration!

it is crazy.

definately, take tylenol with you next year...
hee. next year.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous my backyard said...

oh my, sounds so FRUSTRATING!

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things were much simpler when we were growing up. At least the students have someone like you looking out for them. You care, and it shows.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

And here's the real irony. Had Teya wanted birth control pills or an abortion, they could have provided without her mom even knowing about it!

1:02 PM  

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