Adventures with poison control! And the ER! And the pediatric ophthalmologist!

We’ve been doing this parenting thing for just over 6 years now, and last Monday I had to call poison control for the very first time. The scene: Will and Kalena had just gone outside to see if our neighbors (two townhouses over) could play, Daniel was napping, I was nursing the baby and had just texted Brian that my headache had morphed into a migraine and if he could come home even a couple minutes early I’d appreciate it. Not 2 minutes later Kalena came back in. I thought I could hear someone crying, and I asked if it was Will. She said it was, so I told her to go tell him to come in. (Often the kids end up crying over minor things and are fine after they come tell me about it.) She left and came back, but Will wasn’t coming. After a minute or so I thought something must actually be wrong if he wasn’t here yet, so I went outside to see. I stepped out just in time to see him walk up, his entire face, hairline to chin, covered in bluish-gray goo. He was wailing and my first thought was, “What in the HELL is that?!” Then Kalena and I had a conversation that went like this:

(All these questions happened rapid fire in a seriously panicked voice.)

Me: What happened??

Kalena: He popped the soap on Jana’s porch.

Me: Soap?

Kalena: Yeah! The soap!

Me: How do you pop soap?

Kalena: He popped it and it got on his face!

Me: How do you pop soap? What kind of soap? Like a bottle of soap?

Kalena: The bubbles. A bubble of soap. Like we wash stuff with.

Me: Bubbles? Like, laundry soap? Like the Tide Pods we use in the washer??

Kalena: YEAH!

Me, in my head: CRAAAAAP.

I knew I needed to flush his eyes out and I knew he was gonna hate it. This is a kid who doesn’t like water on his head or face AT ALL and I was going to try to get water directly in his eyes. FUN.

So I dragged him into the house and wiped his face off with a towel and took him upstairs to the shower. I said, “I know you’re not gonna like this, but we have to wash that stuff off your face.” Then I proceeded to shove him in the shower fully dressed. The next 5 minutes or so involved TONS of screaming, me trying to physically force his face in the water, and also trying not to throw up because HAHA migraines make me really sensitive to noise. Then, in the midst of things, Will starts telling me he can’t see. Face out of the water, opening his eyes looking blankly in front of him and wailing “I can’t see! I can’t see!” That. Was. Terrifying. I continued trying to get his eyes rinsed and I called Brian. Our conversation was about 2 seconds long and went like this: “Will popped a tide pod in his face and I have him in the shower but he’s telling me he can’t see and you have to COME HOME NOW.” And he said, “Call poison control.”

The guy at poison control was very nice, but more concerned about possible ingestion than the eyes. Will assured me that he hadn’t swallowed any, and that he didn’t bite it. Poison control guy tells me I should watch for nausea, vomiting, coughing, and sleepiness and take him to the ER for any of those symptoms. He also tells me I should see if I can find out for sure what kind of pod it was since Tide pods aren’t the only ones in existence. (Apparently there are car wash pods? I had no idea.) Anyway, he says he’ll call back in 30 min to see how Will is and see if I can find out what the pod was. After I get off the phone I go back to Will, who is currently standing in the shower away from the water and has his eyes shut. I knew they still needed rinsed better, so at this point I get in the shower fully dressed as well. It’s a little easier to force his face into the water this way, but he still won’t open his eyes to let any water in and after a few more minutes of thrashing and screaming I figure that’s the best I’m going to be able to do and we’ll try again when Brian gets home. I put Will on his bed with wet washcloth over his eyes and go out to see if I can find out what exactly Will popped on his face. I didn’t even have to knock on the neighbors’ door and ask anything, the half-popped Tide Pod was still sitting on their porch.

I get back in the house, check on Will (still laying quietly in his bed) and take the baby from Kalena (who had been sitting with her) to nurse. (Poor Kalena. Lydia was screaming this entire time too and Kalena was doing her very best to make her happy and get her to stop crying.) Brian gets home while I’m nursing the baby. (This was about 3:30 pm) He asks me what poison control said, I fill him in on everything that’s happened. He asks me to call the pediatrician’s office to see if they recommend taking him there or to the ER. Then he takes Will back in the bathroom to see if he can get his eyes rinsed any better. More screaming and thrashing ensue. Pediatrician’s office says they just recommend doing whatever poison control says, so in this case, ER. Brian comes back in and tells me he thinks Will should go in since he won’t let us actually get any water in his eyes. I agree and off they go.

At the ER he got his eyes held open and flushed out. Brian said he’s never heard one of our kids scream like that. And he was the one who went to the ER with Will when Will got his finger tip chopped off. I guess they did that twice, and they put some dye in there and looked with a black light for corneal abrasions and blistering. (None.) They also talked to a pediatric ophthalmologist since Will wouldn’t open his eyes, but apparently that was not concerning. They did, however, recommend that we follow up with a visit to the pediatric ophthalmologist within 24 hours. All told Brian and Will were at the ER for about 5 hours, and came home with a prescription for tylenol with codine and one for a cream to put in his eyes for “chemical conjunctivitis.” (Of course, since he hates having anything put in his eyes, putting that cream in there 4 times a day was lots of fun.) Brian got the story from Will while they were at the ER. Apparently he saw the pod on the ground, picked it up, and while it was in his hand knocked on the neighbor’s door. It exploded, right at face level and probably only inches from his face. Such a fluke.

Tuesday morning I called and got an appointment with at Children’s to see the ophthalmologist. Unfortunately they could only get me in at their North location. Normally I go to the South location. We are actually SOUTH of the South location. The North location is an hour away. Next I start calling around to see if any of my friends here can take Daniel. Because I can do 2 non-walkers, or I can do 1 non-walker and 1 kid who won’t open his eyes, but I can’t do 2 non-walkers AND a kid who won’t open his eyes. Luckily one of my friends said she could take him, so after lunch we load up in the car, drop off Daniel and Kalena and head up to Children’s. The ophthalmologist seemed unconcerned about the fact that he won’t open his eyes, but did put in more of the dye and check his eyes with a black light again. As they told us in the ER, no serious damage and nothing that would be permanent. The doctor said he’d probably be opening them by the next day, but if he wasn’t to call and they’d see us again. (At this point the last thing I wanted was to do this AGAIN, so I was REALLY hoping he’d open them the next day.)

Eventually on Wednesday he did open them. (After much bribery and promises that nobody else would put anything in there if he’d just OPEN HIS EYES ALREADY.) They were still SUPER bloodshot, and his eyelids were so swollen his eyes were still basically half closed, causing him to look like a tiny 4 year old stoner. But! He could see!


He’s not glaring here. This is just how they looked.

Before he would open them he insisted on keeping his sunglasses on. So he looked like this.


And was made extra pathetic by a hoarse, gravelly voice caused by all the screaming/crying after the incident.

So. Quite the adventure.

12 thoughts on “Adventures with poison control! And the ER! And the pediatric ophthalmologist!

  1. Because the episode has been thoroughly commented on and will go down in the annuls of family history, I’ll focus on random stuff. A) He looks amazing in that yellow shirt. It’s absolutely one of my favorites, and I hope Daniel is wearing the Little Brother one. B) I was very confused by the video after you post. Took me a full minute to figure out it was an ad.

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