No one likes to go to the Emergency Room (ER), with long wait times and the possibility of catching the flu. Teens may not be any more reluctant than the rest of us, yet they may voice their fears more adamantly. That’s okay; let’s be reasonable.
10 Reasons Why your Teen Needs to Go to the ER
- Because She Doesn’t Need an Ambulance: Think about calling an ambulance before deciding to get in the car. Weigh the options, risks and benefits. Common reasons to Call an Ambulance: trauma, bleeding, coma, distress with breathing, choking, drowning. For emergencies, always call 911 for an ambulance.
- Because I Said So: Not acceptable at face value. But within those words is the real meaning: “Because I love you so much and I’ve known you since the day you were born and no one cares about you in this whole wide world more than me, right now and at this very moment.” Trust your instincts, parents. If you are compelled to take your child to the ER, do it. Just explain and show with your actions that your intention is love.
- Driving to the ER: Remember to drive like an ambulance driver – carefully. Do not be distracted driving with a cell phone or food.
- Any Injury: If the ‘story’ of how the accident/injury happened is significant, a doctor would probably want to examine your teen. Example: your teen bumped her head while skateboarding without a helmet. And she looks fine. But if she fell 10 feet onto cement… Take her to the ER anyway.
- Continuity of Care: It is can be life-saving for an ER doctor to document your teen’s condition today. The exam serves as a comparison should your teen suffer a related complication in the days or weeks ahead.
- Chronic Illness & Education: Many teens have diseases or rare illnesses like muscular dystrophy. For a sudden onset of additional problems, consider an ER visit to ‘save’ a weekend of illness and allow early recovery. Disabled children miss more school than their counterparts, so preventive, “attentive” medicine is optimal.
- Patience and Fortitude: Anticipate long wait times, confusion and stress. Serve as a good role model for your teen. Do not add to the stress. Say to yourself, “Patience and Fortitude.” Be resilient. Smile. Smiles beget additional smiles. “Respond. Don’t react.”
- Take 3 Deep Breaths: This slows the autonomic nervous system, countering the adverse effects of stress. The blood pressure and heart rates are lowered, and more oxygen goes to the brain and other tissues. And, you can teach your teen how to do the same thing: take 3 slow, deep breaths and relax.
- Learning Familiarity: Take the opportunity to teach your teen the 4 parts of any doctor visit: the Patient Presentation, Physical Exam, Laboratories, and the Final Assessment & Plan. Each is self-explanatory but all doctors follow this format, every time.
- To Plan: What will be The Plan when you walk out of the ER? Do you expect to get stitches? To be admitted to the hospital? Talk about it before you leave home, if possible, and determine whether you should pack an overnight bag. This teaches ‘forward’ thinking and is a good skill for life.
Remember that as the adult, you should be on your best behavior and focus on what needs to be done. While the ER is a demanding place with people scooting here and there, learn to welcome this as a challenge and not a problem. Life is full of challenges that can be met with a competitive nature. Teach your teen to be resourceful, introspective and problem-solving. In this way, you instill the gift of knowledge about things to consider in going to the ER.
After all, it could very well be that one day, the roles will be reversed and your teen will be an adult, taking you to the ER and … practicing “Patience and Fortitude.”
“Respond, Don’t React”
~ Enjoy the Holidays & Be Mindful Every Minute of Every Day ~
Enjoy the smiles. They’re all around you.
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Additional Articles by Dr. Margaret Aranda
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