Visiting the ER to Learn if I Could Take Pepto Bismol

So while my post was originally going to be about how hard it was to take care of a baby while feeling under the weather, my little “adventure” in the medical world today seems more worth writing about.

I’ve had some sort of stomach bug going on since late Thursday night. Had trouble sleeping Thursday night, Friday I felt awful and was in and out of the bathroom WAY too much and ended up leaving work not even halfway through my shift. Slept all Friday afternoon, still felt pretty crummy. Saturday, I felt a lot better, but still nowhere near 100%. No constant trips to the bathroom, but still run down. Sunday, I felt like a truck had run me over and spit me out and the bathroom woes were back. Yesterday? I felt just a little tired but overall, pretty decent. Worked, came home, napped, hung out with P, ate some supper, went to bed. About 1 am, I started feeling awful again. I knew before I even left for work that I wouldn’t make it through the day and ended up leaving at about 10 am.

Well, when I got home, P suggested I call the nurse line to see if I could take some Pepto or Imodium to see if that would make me feel better. Since I’m breastfeeding and all the packages say is “Consult your doctor” it seemed logical to make a 3 minute phone call to make sure everything would be okay. If it had been entirely up to me, I would have just searched the internet, but P pushes for the “better safe than sorry” sources for stuff like this and I figured it would be quick and painless to just call and put him at ease.

So I call the nurse line. Talk to the secretary and she passes me along to a nurse. And right away, we get off to a bad start. She has in her notes that I am pregnant and have a headache. Not sure how “I have diarrhea and am wondering if I can take Imodium while nursing” got translated into pregnant lady with headache, but I corrected her and away we went. 18 minutes later, she’s still questioning me. No, I don’t have a headache, yes I’ve been getting lots of fluids, no dizziness, no nausea, I have a stomach ache. Well, the nurse decides that since it’s been going on for five days (although not really since I had decent days Saturday and Monday) that I must have a bacterial infection and that I should go see my doctor. She won’t give me any other advice than that and transfers me to make a doctor’s appointment.

Well, of course, my doctor is not available today. Or until tomorrow afternoon. So I ask to see a different doctor. And the appointment coordinator acted like I’d asked to be covered in tar and bumble bees. I insist that I’m fine seeing ANY doctor who can see me today and after taking less than 45 seconds to check, she tells me that there are NO doctors available at all today. In the 60+ doctor practice where I’ve never had a problem seeing someone within 3 hours. No one. Not a one.  She informs me that if I want to be seen today, I must go to Urgent Care and hangs up.

Fuming, I decide  to just sleep and forget about taking something all together. Only, I’m too angry to get anything remotely like a nap in, so I head up to Urgent Care. The nurse there runs me through a bunch of questions and informs me that anything related to “abdominal pain” requires an ER visit. I tell her that that seems a little ridiculous when all I want is to know if I can take Pepto or Imodium while breastfeeding. She tells me that abdominal pain could mean that I have Crohns Disease or many other BAD things. And she assures me that even though I’m not dehydrated, they could hook me up to an IV to make sure I don’t get dehydrated because that’s how they do things in the ER. WHAT?!!?

By this point in time, I’m just in stunned disbelief. Can this really be happening??

They have me sign a form, pee in a cup, and then a paramedic walks me to an appointment room. (I seriously would not have been surprised to have been wheeled there in a wheelchair at this point) They have me gown up and then bring me a hot blanket and urge me to lay down while I wait for the doctor, which I refuse to do.

About ten minutes later, the doctor walks in. And he looks quite familiar.

Dr: “Hello, how are you?”

Me: “Hostile. Very hostile.” (I say this in a good natured, not pissy voice)

Dr: “Oh, wow. Why?

Me: I explain my scenario and when I’m done go “Say, are you SoAndSo’s husband??”

He paused for a beat and then looks at my paper and says my name. And then again with much excitement in his voice. He shakes my hand, tells me he’s very happy to meet me, and we chatted for a few minutes about how we know each other and what’s going on with that group and how happy we are to finally meet.

He then totally agreed with me that it was beyond ridiculous that I was in the ER for a stomach ache and diarrhea when I hadn’t even had a chance to try the over the counter products. He went and looked up drugs and then he went to the front desk, had them change all of my paperwork so I was charged for an urgent care visit (regular co-pay) instead of an ER ($150) visit. Wrote me a prescription for something that should solve my issues within 48 hours that’s safe to take while breastfeeding and sent me on my way.

I only thanked him for turning my ridiculously craptastic day around about two dozen times.

And three hours later, I’m home with my pills, know that Pepto is a yes and Imodium is a no-go, and am off to take a nap.

And next time, I’ll be calling the pharmacy to ask about drug safety.

9 thoughts on “Visiting the ER to Learn if I Could Take Pepto Bismol

  1. Megan M. Post author

    Holy cow. What an adventure! Thank goodness you got someone with a clue in the end. I know they’re kind of working on a better safe than sorry attitude, but really!?

  2. Wendy Post author

    Or you could have just had a cup of chamomile tea.

    When I was breastfeeding and pregnant, chamomile tea was my best friend. It is very calming and always settled my stomach.

    Since I went herbal and natural, I haven’t had the issues that the chemical, over the counter products tend to cause…. (upset stomach and a merry-go-round of on and off symptoms).

    Hope you are feeling better!

  3. Sharon Cohen Post author

    I have to admit that I was screaming and laughing (alternately) at the screen throughout this entire post. I was a pharmacy tech for a long time and I always advise people to start with a pharmacist when it comes to questions about medications.

    Pharmacists still give FREE advice!

    Greetings! I’m visiting from the Blog Frog Mom Loop Community Comment Follow and am very glad that I came. I sure hope you’re feeling better!

  4. Donna Perugini Post author

    Okay, I have to say it…Holy Crap! Now that that is out of the way, (excuse me if I’ve offended anyone)…sorry to hear about your (now that you look back) hilarious woes.

    Being a new mom is definitely a learning curve. It’s really nice that you have an ‘in’ with a doctor that you know now.

    Found you through Blog Frog looking for people to visit your site. Stop by and say ‘hey’ at mine. I’d love to hear from you too! 🙂

    Your babies pix is adorable in his cow-boy outfit. :0

  5. Jennifer M Post author

    I’m glad there was a happy ending there, but that was crazy everything you went through to get a simple answer. Too bad they have no idea how much time they would have all saved themselves if they took a minute to just listen to you.

  6. Katharine Post author

    I wouldn’t have even bothered with the Drs but check up online. I didn’t have the internet till my daughter was 2. She’s 12 now. It’s probably a good thing cause I would have been paranoid as a new mom. Even though I was 36 when I had her, I knew nothing about babies. I was greatful that I found a mom’s group nearby but some of the women were so rightious about everything. Well you should have more kids even though u were bed ridden with your daughter or you should only breastfeed even though my daughter was starving and her dr told me to supliment..yikes it was awful.

    I’m sure you’re doing a great job and Mason is adorable. It’s funny I started to read the blog and though you were a man till you said u were breastfeeding. Obviously I didn’t read your profile first. lol

    Did you see the article that says that Lesbian Moms have more well adjusted kids than st8 parents. I thought that was interesting.

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