Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Realities of the Emergency Department

A hospital gurney with thick, white sheets and no pillow. A pig flys an aeroplane across the ceiling.

Mums being wheeled by on beds, cradling babies with wires and tubes coming out of their tiny bodies; dads trailing behind, carrying bags and feeling helpless.

The girl screaming to be let go, her Dad smothering her in a bear hug as the doctor looks at the cuts she made up and down her legs.

The coughing, wheezing, rattling, gasping croupy toddlers, and the hum of nebulisers.

The teenaged boys with crooked thumbs and arms twisting away from their bodies at strange angles.

The mum pacing her open cubicle with a red-cheeked baby, half-asleep and whimpering on her shoulder. 

The grandmother pushing open the children's ward door with her bum, balancing cups of coffee in her hands and a brown paper bag between her teeth, late breakfast shiny at the edges from pastry grease.

The doctor with a dog-patterned shirt; nurses in blue scrubs, weighed down with jangling lanyards and hip bags of tape and gear.

The sign near the triage desk, letting us know that there have been cases of measles in the area.

My spotty, fully-vaccinated boy crawling into my lap, quiet and sad and still, ABC4Kids on the television above out heads. Crying with the babies, when the girl cries and yells. Laughing after hours of waiting and the meds sinking in, rolling cars across the sheets, reading Thomas books and Grug.

Thumbs up.



  1. Oh no what's happened :( I hope everything gets better and your son is healthy quickly!

    1. Thanks, Tina! He woke up covered in a lacy rash and tiny red spots after a day of fever and vomiting. Usually we're/he's okay with 1 or 2 of those things, but all 3 freaked me out a bit and he was very much not himself. Seemed to freak out the child health nurse on the phone too, cause she told us to get to a doctor straight away to rule out anything nasty. He's all good now - spots and fever have mostly gone.


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