Friday, April 4, 2014

Sick without your mother

A phone call or a text, "Mom, I'm not feeling well. My throat is killing me, my stomach aches like crazy...I got hit in the head and I feel nauseous..." Does this resonate? It's flu season and even if it wasn't, it doesn't matter. Unfortunately, this is life! But, here in lies the challenge as a parent: They're at college or living on their own somewhere and you aren't there to evaluate the situation yourself.
So you drill them with questions: Do you have a fever? What hurts? Do you have a rash? Could it be something you ate? What are your symptoms? ...
If need be, you've convinced them to go to their school's clinic, their doctor, or the Emergency Room. Well, once there, things can get "interesting":
They've told you that's where they are, but guess what? There's no cell service in a hospital, you know that they headed there or were actually there, but after that, it's the great abyss. You might not hear anything for hours! As one girlfriend said to me, "I of course, was going to every dark corner in my mind, imagining the worst." All you want is to know how your kid is? What's the prognosis? Diagnosis? And the next steps?
They're also considered adults, 18 and over, so it's difficult to get any information. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that I've learned along the way. Of course nothing is fool proof and I'm sure you have some thoughts and ideas too.
* Get the name and phone number of their roommate, so if you need information about your kid, they are a good place to start.
* Suggest to your sick child that they A) tell someone they're going to the ER B) Ideally have someone take them and stay with them, at least until they're all squared away.
* Be sure to get the name of the hospital, clinic or doctor they're going to. (When you're in a different city, you have no idea where or who). Just in case you need to start sleuthing.
* If you're not getting any information, no communication with your kid, try calling the roommate or good friend that you HOPE went with them. Text them if all else fails.
* You don't have a phone number or email for a friend or roommate, but you have a first and last name: go to Facebook, go to "friends", go to "find friends," you can refine your search and add the college or state they're from and see if you can deduce which one of the names that matches is your child's friend. If you think you've got a match, then send them a message. Kids read their FB page, so they'll see it. Of course, all of this is if you don't have any contact info.
* Try calling the hospital, get connected to the ER, with luck you'll get a person on the phone that's a Mom. Pull the Mom-card. Tell them you're the Mom of someone who's there, you've heard nothing for 4 hours! You're concerned and would like to know that they're still alive. OK a tad dramatic, but you get the gist. You just may be pulling the Mom-card with a! She just may tell you something, gather information and call you back! It's worth a try.
If you want to be proactive: When your kid is filling out forms for college, there will be a place where they can give parents permission to receive grades, be informed about emergency-like situations... encourage your child to check the box "yes." That helps. Also, when visiting your kid and you're introduced to friends and roommates, write down names, phone numbers and/or emails. You never know when you might need them. (That contact information can come in handy for birthdays too, if you want to surprise your child with a cake or something and you need the help of their roomie.) Arm your kid with information. If they're allergic to any medications, be sure they have that information, otherwise they rely on you and in an emergency that's not the best. Besides, if you're like me, who can keep track of who and what allergies, especially if they're not written down???
Being sick without your Mom can be lousy and as a Mom, having your kid sick away from you arguably can be lousier!

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