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Bring Your Camera When You Take a Child to the Emergency Room

Updated on August 3, 2018

Jason Admitted to Emergency Room

Source

An emergency room visit can be a terrifying event in a child's life.

When my son was about eight, he came home complaining of pain in his groin after a visit to my mother's house. My brother and his family had also been there, and the children had been watching television in another room. I had heard the shout of pain from Jason, and on investigating he said his cousin had kicked him. My nephew said it was an accident. I didn't see any obvious damage at the time, so I just gave him comfort and went back to the adults. I expected that by the next morning all would be well.

The next morning Jason was limping and I began to be concerned that maybe there was something wrong that wasn't obvious. I did know Jason had a low pain threshold, but I did want to make sure there was nothing wrong that should be treated. His doctor said to take him to the emergency room to have him checked out.

Jason was pretty apprehensive, as most children are when brought into official contact with medical personnel -- especially in an emergency room setting. Jason had never been to the ER before. When we got there, I noticed I had a camera in my purse, and I decided to see if using it could help distract Jason from his fears. I told him I would be taking his picture every step of the way and that at the end I would show everyone how brave he had been. And that's what I did.

Have you ever taken a sick or hurt child to the emergency room ?

If so, what was he or she afraid of what might happen? Jason was normally healthy and happy, but not when he was hurt, or thought he was. If he thought a doctor visit might include a shot or other unpleasant procedure, he was definitely apprehensive. How about your children?

Has your child been apprehensive before medical appointments or emergency room visits?

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Jason in wheelchair at emergency room.
Jason in wheelchair at emergency room. | Source

The Wheelchair-- Standard Emergency Room Equipment for Leg Problems

When we got to the emergency room and checked in, one of the first things they did was put Jason in a wheelchair, since the problem involved his leg or groin area. That surprised me, but in spite of the way he's holding his head in this picture, he actually enjoyed wheeling himself around when he got the hang of it.

He was not in a lot of pain, especially since he wasn't walking. He's probably holding his head because he's not sure exactly where they will take him in that wheelchair and what will happen when he gets there. But he knows I will be taking his picture, so he will try to act more bravely than he feels.

Getting an X ray at the emergency room - X ray equipment can be intimidating if you've never seen it.

Getting an  X ray in the emergency room
Getting an X ray in the emergency room

Under the X Ray Machine

Looking up at X ray equipment can be downright frightening. It's huge and it hangs right over you. What it it falls? What does it do to you? I'm sure these thoughts passed through Jason's mind as he lay on that cold hard table and looked up.

I assured Jason that an X ray doesn't hurt -- that it's just a very large and very fancy camera. All it does is take a picture of what's under his skin where his pain is so the doctor can see what might be wrong. My explanation took away his fear of that procedure and it turned to curiosity. .

A Special Thank You to Beth Day

Since I took the pictures for this article over twenty years ago, my memory was pretty fuzzy as to the order these next pictures should be in. I was able to call on my Squidoo friend Beth Day, who is a nurse, for help. I sent her the pictures with what I thought was the right order. She looked at them and explained the ones I didn't understand. I would have asked more questions and taken notes if I'd known then I'd be writing about this in twenty years.


The Blood Work Took More Bravery Than the X Ray

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Reassuring Jason about the blood work was doubly hard for me. He is scared to death anytime he sees his own blood. He also hates pain of any kind -- including that he can anticipate when he sees a nurse's needle.Here the nurse is preparing the needles and explaining what will happen. You can see the apprehension in Jason's eyes.This is where the rubber meets the road, or, in this case, where the needle pricks the arm and the blood drawing starts. You can see he doesn't like this much, but he is being brave about it.Here the nurse is filling the tubes with blood as Jason watches, now free of fear because the worst is over.The nurse is now mixing the preservatives into the tubes of blood where needed so they can be sent to the lab.
Reassuring Jason about the blood work was doubly hard for me. He is scared to death anytime he sees his own blood. He also hates pain of any kind -- including that he can anticipate when he sees a nurse's needle.
Reassuring Jason about the blood work was doubly hard for me. He is scared to death anytime he sees his own blood. He also hates pain of any kind -- including that he can anticipate when he sees a nurse's needle.
Here the nurse is preparing the needles and explaining what will happen. You can see the apprehension in Jason's eyes.
Here the nurse is preparing the needles and explaining what will happen. You can see the apprehension in Jason's eyes.
This is where the rubber meets the road, or, in this case, where the needle pricks the arm and the blood drawing starts. You can see he doesn't like this much, but he is being brave about it.
This is where the rubber meets the road, or, in this case, where the needle pricks the arm and the blood drawing starts. You can see he doesn't like this much, but he is being brave about it.
Here the nurse is filling the tubes with blood as Jason watches, now free of fear because the worst is over.
Here the nurse is filling the tubes with blood as Jason watches, now free of fear because the worst is over.
The nurse is now mixing the preservatives into the tubes of blood where needed so they can be sent to the lab.
The nurse is now mixing the preservatives into the tubes of blood where needed so they can be sent to the lab.

A Note in Reply to Comments About Taking the Pictures in the ER

A few people have expressed surprise that I was able to take a camera into the ER. I don't remember asking anyone if it was okay, since I was only photographing my son. The nurse who drew the blood gave permission to be included when I explained why I wanted the pictures. If someone had tried to stop me, I would have put the camera away.

That day I happened to have a small camera in my purse quite by accident and decided to use it. Most medical personnel are probably too busy to care what you are doing with your child as long as it helps, not hurts. I was not walking the hall trying to take pictures of nurses treating patients I didn't know. Nor was I just walking into rooms to try to photograph such patients. I'm sure such a privacy violation would have been against the rules.

I'm sure if you unknowingly violate a hospital rule, someone will let you know. I didn't see any signs about not using a camera in the building, such as the signs I saw about no smoking and other such rules. So I didn't feel I was doing something wrong in taking my own child's picture. If someone else is involved, such as someone performing a procedure, I let them know what I want to do and why and get permission before including them in the picture. Most don't mind.


The Results of our Trip to the Emergency Room

I placed Jason's wreath, made by our dear friend Sally Losey, on his grave in 2003 after it had hung on our kitchen wall for twelve years. It was time to let it join him.
I placed Jason's wreath, made by our dear friend Sally Losey, on his grave in 2003 after it had hung on our kitchen wall for twelve years. It was time to let it join him.

The End of the Story

No major problems were found and for another six years Jason led a normal, happy, active life, swimming, biking, and spending time with family and friends. We enjoyed homeschooling, camping trips, and traveling to many places in the United States. My camera went everywhere with us, just in case something unusual might happen, and also to chronicle everything we enjoyed seeing and doing.

But neither I nor my camera were present in 1991 when Jason had a fatal accident on his first jet ski ride. This time there was no ER visit. He collided with a motorboat on his way to the shore. By the time help arrived, he was almost gone. His leg had been cut by the boat's propeller, and he bled to death before the paramedics even arrived. He was conscious only long enough to call for help. You can read the full story of that fatal jet ski ride here.

I often wonder if a premonition of how he would die might have been behind his fear at the sight of his own blood -- even when there was no pain. I'm told Jason's death was quick and that he probably did not feel the pain because he was in shock. He died in the arms of our pastor, who had invited him to attend the outing at the lake that day. We are thankful for the years Jason was with us and brightened our lives, and we will always miss him. His one great unfulfilled desire was to ride a jet ski. I wonder if he would have gotten on had he known it would take him to Heaven.

The picture here was taken on the day of my aunt's funeral. I had taken my mom to Long Beach, and before the service, I had my mom take this picture. A dear family friend had made this wreath to adorn Jason's casket. It had hung on our kitchen wall since after the memorial service. It was beginning to look pretty grungy after twelve years, and it wasn't washable, so I decided to retire it where Jason was buried. It seemed fitting.

Please leave any comments here. Feel free to share ways you have dealt with your children's fears of medical procedures

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    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      2 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Peg, having the camera was a happy accident. Great idea about documenting food served and conditions in the patient's room.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is a really great idea, that of documenting the progress through the ER and during the treatment in a hospital. I do this also, with my mother and auntie when they have any occasion to be admitted. The condition of the room and the food they are served are often the subject matter.

      I'm so very sorry to learn of the tragic loss of your son, Jason. That is an unbelievably difficult burden for a mother to bear. May God bless you.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @Paula7928: Thank you for your kind words. I hope your son lives a long and happy life.

    • profile image

      Paula7928 

      5 years ago

      Barb, I am so sorry for your loss. I will always ask if there will be a jetski around if my son is invited to an outing at a lake. Thanks so much for your great writing.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @TheLittleCardShop: Thank you. I have recovered pretty well from it, since it's been 25 years now. He's been gone longer than he was with us.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @Deadicated LM: I think they are mostly concerned about security. That was also back in the late 1980s before 9/11, and security is tighter today. I did take some pictures of my husband in the ER during his heart attack a couple of years ago, and the nurse said it was OK.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 

      5 years ago

      Clever idea to take your camera with you. I'm sorry for Jason's accident

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      5 years ago

      This is actually illegal in New York State ( worked for a hospital in Bronxville); although perhaps it shouldn't be, California has some good laws that protect people who work in the OR (not sure about the ER). Sorry for your loss, no one should have to bury a child.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 

      6 years ago

      I had to go to the Emergency room just a week ago, to have my appendix out. I am only 12 years old, so it was scary. I didn't know what was happening, and it was scary being in the hospital. It's a fun idea to keep a camera handy, and my mom took lots of pictures of me while I was in the hospital for 6 whole days. I am so sorry about Jason's accident. *Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 

      7 years ago from England

      Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Thanks for featuring my Give Blood products. It really does fit in.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      You have very touching stories. Thank you for sharing them.

    • MsSnow4 profile image

      Carol Goss 

      8 years ago

      Nice that you were able to take pictures and congrats on the purple star

    • vanidiana24 profile image

      vanidiana24 

      8 years ago

      Congratulation for the purple star! He was a brave young man, you must be very proud to have him in your life.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      8 years ago from Vermont

      Excellent advice, whether to soothe the child or document treatment for insurance or otherwise. I have a friend whose mother documented his hospital treatment in 1988 - it helped him to win a sizable damages award from the insurance company to help pay for ongoing care of physical and head injuries he received in a 40-foot fall through a circus tent roof.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 

      8 years ago

      Very well done - the perfect way to ease a child's nerves in all sorts situations. 5*

    • Brookelorren LM profile image

      Brookelorren LM 

      8 years ago

      I'm sorry for the end of your story. I have ER pictures too... I usually keep my camera with me.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Very nicely done - I love the shot shots!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 

      8 years ago

      A great idea Barb! What a lovely boy Jason was. I wasn't expecting the end of your lens and it brought a lump to my throat. My heartfelt blessings to you x

    • The-Java-Gal profile image

      The-Java-Gal 

      8 years ago

      I share the same feelings expressed in all the other comments. From your other lenses, I am somewhat familiar with Jason's tragedy. The note I wanted to add - it amazing how you went back to old pictures, even got help in organizing them, and put a complete story together. For all of us, that should be an inspiration in lens-writing. For you, I hope it helped in the healing process. 5*s

    • profile image

      tssfacts 

      8 years ago

      What a touching lens. I must admit I was surprise that you were allowed a camera in the ER. Your explanation of the x-ray machine would put any child at ease. It's hard to go through a death in a family. It's especially harder if God isn't there to bring comfort.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thank you for sharing this story. A beautiful tribute to your son. My heart goes out to you.Aren't you so glad that you had your camera that day in the ER.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 

      8 years ago

      Wow, Barb! You never cease to amaze me. What an honor for you to feature my card and post the little blurb as you did; what a surprise!This lens has been added to your feature, by the way. Congratulations!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      How wonderful to be able to remember your son in this way, a way to help other parents. I'm sure he would approve. Amazingly, with two sons we only had one ER visit, for a couple of stitches. I cried more than my little son did. Glad nobody snapped a picture of me. :-)

    • profile image

      seegreen 

      8 years ago

      I was surprised that the hospital allowed you to take photos. I've always assumed they wouldn't but what a clever idea. The end of your story was not expected and put a lump in my throat. I can't imagine dealing with the pain you have gone through.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @athomemomblog: Remember, it took some passing time to start thinking like that. The first thought was that this was impossible, just a nightmare, had not really happened. Then there was the unspeakable grief followed by the usual grief work and gradual emotional healing. As time passes, the perspective widens. Perhaps it was the war in Iraq that helped widen it, and what I read in the news each day about things that happen to other children. God knew what I couldn't handle, and He didn't give me those things.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      Barb, I am so sorry that your son was in that tragic accident. There are no words to adequately express my sympathy and sorrow for you and your family. I also think your idea to take the camera to the hospital was inspired and brilliant.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      A wonderful and bittersweet tribute to your son. Never thought of taking a camera along. That was a great idea. 5 Stars.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 

      8 years ago

      @BarbRad: Barb, once again you remind me of how I think I would feel. Though I would give anything in this world for my three children to remain alive and well, I could not imagine deplorable things occurring which bring about their death. If something must happen, I would rather for it to be quick and painless - but I still hope they outlive me.God does bring us through more things than we can imagine sometimes; it's the great thing about having faith. Without it, tomorrow would look so hopeless and not worth waking up to.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      8 years ago from Guatemala

      @BarbRad: I think that's a really healthy way to look at things, Barb. At the same time, I really doubt I'd be able to think like that if one of my sons were to die. It's too horrible to imagine. I'm glad you did get to spend time with Jason, he sounds like a wonderful blessing.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @thepartyanimal2: Actually, when I began writing, I wasn't expecting that ending either. When I got to the last module and was looking for a picture, I saw the wreath, and then the ending wrote itself. The writing, the prayers of friends, and my belief that God is in control and knew what was best for all of us got me through. As time passed, I began to see more of God's wisdom, even as I missed Jason. Jason was never mine -- just loaned to us for a time. He has gone home, and I never have to worry again about anything bad happening to him. It would have been very difficult for him to go to war and kill someone, and had he lived, he might have done that. It was his nature to be kind and compassionate. What I went through in losing Jason was hard, but many parents have it much harder. Jason died doing what he loved. It was quick and almost painless. He was not a victim of a torturing killer as some children are. He did not lie wounded on a battlefield. I knew he wanted to live, because on the way to the lake that day someone asked him if he were to be badly hurt, would he rather live or die. He said he'd rather live. That meant he enjoyed life and thought it was good to be alive. I'm glad he felt that way. I happen to believe he's more alive now than ever. Someday I will publish what I said at his memorial service.

    • NaturalMommys profile image

      NaturalMommys 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing such a touching lens. I am sorry you had to lose your son on this physical level, I am sure he is smiling from above. Love the idea for a lens too what a great way to help parents. 5*'s Rocket Mom!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      Barb, I am honored to be featured on this lens. Thank you kindly, my friend! Great job.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 

      8 years ago

      Beth, I'm no stranger to fainting during a blood test. Furthermore, when Kelsey (oldest daughter) was about 5, she broke her arm while I was at work. She had been playing hide and seek in the bathroom sink and fell when trying to extract herself. Advance the story 6 weeks to when I had to go with her to get the pins removed from her arm; I was feeling weak and laid my head on her lap, briefly, after asking for a cup of water. She put her good arm around me and said, "I'm OK, Mom. It's all right." The next day, we flew home with a little Shitzu.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Barb your idea is a good one; I can see taking a camera to the ER keeping many children occupied and distracted during a nervous time period. The end of your lens, however, was tragic. I cannot imagine how you dealt with that.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm so sorry Jason didn't get to read this story about his trip to the ER. I was so glad to read that his groin injury on that trip to the emergency room turned out not to be serious, then saddened to hear he was fatally injured in his teens. Thank you for sharing his story with me and glad you have these pictures to remember by.

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 

      8 years ago

      Tears in my eyes not expecting that ending at all. I am so sorry for your loss and I hope you find some therapy in writing and keeping your memories alive. I am glad you have all the pictures - I too bring my camera everywhere.

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