Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dr. Mom On The Road

I'm packing up the big girls for a weekend visit to Grandma's house. Okay, I'm not. I have very little packed and will be rushing through it tomorrow morning. But one thing I do have packed is the traveling medicine chest.

My kids aren't real sickly, but when they DO get sick, they tend to do it in a fabulous, over the top fashion. 105 fevers? Pshaw, no biggie, we've been there multiple times. I have learned through experience that it's best to just bring a little medical kit with you when you are traveling with kids. Sometimes a hotel clerk can point you to the nearest 24 hour pharmacy, but who wants to drive the streets of a strange town in the middle of the night when you could just stumble to your suitcase instead? I have also learned from experience that when you carry an extremely sick baby into an ER, it doesn't hurt to ask, "hey, is there a children's hospital half a mile away?" turns out they don't just offer that information up and it's a bit annoying to find it out the next morning after a night of making do with tongue depressors as arm splints and other fun things.

But back to the meds. We have used our little medical kit (okay, it's a box at this point) many times and I'm always glad we have it. Providing a kit for a trip to Grandma's is just a nice thing to do. What I decide to pack depends a little bit on the current situation. If my ear infection child is just getting over a cold, I'm going to send the ear numbing drops so they can get through the night. If my asthma child has been coughing, I'm going to send the nebulizer and some albuterol so they can do a breathing treatment if needed. If it's summer, I'll send the sunscreen and some hydrocortisone to help out with bug bites.

For this trip, everyone's healthy and we've just got the basics
There's a fever reducer/pain relief medicine, a cold and allergy medicine (sometimes things in Grandma's town give them grief even though they were fine at home), a thermometer, some antibiotic ointment, and kid friendly bandaids. Now, Grandma hasn't had to be up to date on the latest dosages for kid's medicine in quite a while and even I can't remember how much each kid weighs half the time, so to make things easy, I also include a little paper with how much of each medicine each kid could get if needed.
Also included (but not shown, too much personal information), is a paper with a copy of our health insurance card at the top and a signed statement that I authorize either of my parents to give consent for care in the event either child needs medical attention. That paper includes each girl's name, birth date, current medications, allergies, and the name and phone number of their pediatrician. Thankfully, this piece of paper has never been needed, so I'm not sure how necessary it even is. Nonetheless, it makes me feel like the hospital would be a little more likely to go ahead and treat something like a broken arm even if I couldn't get there for a few hours.

When we travel as a family, I pack all the medicine in a shoebox size plastic storage bin. It usually ends up being full by the time I throw in the infant and child version of each medicine and the various things Josh or I use on a somewhat regular basis. Half the time we never open the box. But we have been struck down with stomach bugs, colds, terrible ear infections and minor injuries on trips and it's really nice to just have everything right there with us. Saves a lot of added hassle during what is already a somewhat stressful event.

Being a mom has definitely changed my packing habits. Before I was married, I once went on a rock climbing trip with nothing but a box of power bars, a water bottle, a change of clothes and a borrowed sleeping bag. My how the times have changed!

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