This weekend found me out of town with my two boys on our annual trip to an indoor soccer tournament in Milwaukee. After a 11:30 PM game on Friday night we retired to our hotel. The next morning at breakfast, our twelve-year-old soccer player developed a deep cough, could not eat breakfast; and he proceeded to cough, throw up, shiver, and turn pale and lethargic. After cleaning him up, we drove back home; and on the way home dropped off at our local Physicians Immediate Care where they were experiencing an early afternoon rush. While Eric was getting a chest x-ray, I evaluated an ankle sprain and completed a DOT physical for a forty-two year old trucker, whose urinalysis demonstrated a new diagnosis of diabetes. The clinic was quickly caught up with patient flow.
Eric's chest x-ray is pictured left. The haziness on the lower half of the left lung (right side of image) demonstrated a clear left lower lobe infiltrate--pneumonia. One gram of Rocephin im (didn't hurt "too much"), and we were on our way home with a cracked-lipped, pale, lethargic boy, whose breath reeked of ketosis. For the rest of the day, I followed the advice that I have given to hundreds of parents--fluids, fluids, and more fluids. By the evening Eric was mostly rehydrated, and the next morning felt fine and went to church.
What this family episode drove home was the importance of local urgent care access. What if there was no readily accessible urgent care center in our community? If there was no easy access to urgent care for sick kids, would many parents shun the emergency room and wait till Monday to see their pediatricians; or would many parents spend hours in the emergency department and suffer along with their sick child? Either way, an urgent care is a much better option.
The good news is that our community has ready access to urgent care for sick children. Treating Eric's pneumonia within hours of onset, led to an extremely rapid recovery. His answer the next morning to, "How do you feel," was quite refreshing.
"You know Dad," he said, "when your really sick, it seems like it will never end. But when you get better, it doesn't seem like you were sick for very long."
To those of you who operate local urgent care centers, may I speak personally as a Dad? "Thanks. You really do make a difference in the lives of your friends and neighbors."