Part of our decision to move into the city had to do with access to medical care. As Danny's medical stuff became more complicated, I didn't feel comfortable with a 25 minute race to the nearest hospital-a small, country one at that. Don't get me wrong, they do a good job with farm accidents, severed limbs, and hunting accidents-but even then after you're stabalised they send for a helicopter to take you into town.
Earlier this week, it was a sprained ankle (he's fine). It took under three minutes to drive to the urgent care down the street. Last night, it was an asthma attack. That took five minutes, but only because we hit a stop light at the end of our street. We live one street over from Children's hospital.
You hope you'll never need these things, but being spared the panicked drive up a rural highway in the dark of night gave us the ability to focus on our child-not avoiding hitting dear on the rural road. We had the choice of two large hospitals across from us, an urgent care during normal hours, and a clinic in the Hy-Vee that can handle most easy things like colds and earaches. There's another urgent care about 5 blocks to our north. After 13 years of living in the middle of nowhere, having this many medical options is a wonderful thing.
As we were leaving the ER last night (technically this morning as it was 2AM) the nurse handed me a form for him to be excused from school today. Danny shot me a triumphant smile (he's homeschooled) because he's rarely excused for illness (you can read a book in bed). I expect he'll be pretty exhausted today (he's still sound asleep) after an evening full of medications to facilitate breathing.
I know there are many, many problems with the American system of delivering health care* (that's another post) but for the moment we're just relieved to have any available nearby in an emergency. A trip to the emergency room with a child is always frightening, but knowing you can make it there makes it less terrifying.
We suspect much of this is allergy induced as it goes from warm, to rain, to last evening snow-with the mould spores going absolutely nuts in the air. The counts are pretty high at the moment, coupled with the typical spring pollens. Sooner or later, the sun will burn off the damp, the trees will be done pollinating, and the kiddo can get on with his life-but until then, we're going to be in for some difficult days, and late nights.
* I should mention that the staff at both the Urgent Care on Dodge Street, and Children's Hospital were fantastic with Danny, who tends to ask a lot of questions because he's studying anatomy. The doctor at the urgent care who spent time explaining the x-ray, and the nurses who didn't mind explaining why they had to look in his ears for an asthma attack were patient, thoughtful, and generally terrific.