Tag Archives: nurse

The Medicine Cabinet

As I have aged evolved from a single woman to a wife and mother, my medicine cabinet has also evolved.  And I bet yours has too.  When I was young I was fortunate to have very few, if any, medical problems.  My medicine cabinet looked something like this:

box-162032_1280

Just a few necessities…

  • 1 bottle of acetaminophen
  • 1 bottle of ibuprofen
  • 1 pack of birth control pills
  • Perfume
  • Cute soaps (wow, when was the last time I bought cute soaps for the bathroom??)
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Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The single woman’s medicine cabinet becomes obsolete when you are becoming a mother.  You suddenly realize there is NOTHING in there that can be used on a baby!  So, you add items to your baby shower wish list, and use gift cards to buy the rest BEFORE baby arrives.  Because you are absolutely positive that the moment you need a specific item, it will be 3am during the worst flood of the century.

Your medicine cabinet is replaced by a diaper bag with:

  • Gas drops
  • Saline nasal drops/spray
  • Bulb syringe/aspirator
  • Thermometer (axillary, temporal, and rectal just to be safe)
  • Teething tablets/numbing gel
  • Diaper cream
  • Glycerin suppositories
  • Hand sanitizer for everyone to use before they come in contact with your precious, vulnerable baby

Then your babies grow up and start having big-kid problems, like strep throat and stomach bugs.  Not to mention the everyday bumps and bruises.

For the Kids:

  • Children’s acetaminophen (liquid)
  • Children’s acetaminophen (chewables)
  • Children’s ibuprofen (liquid)
  • Children’s ibuprofen (chewables)
  • Band-aids (rookie mom buys cute, expensive character kind but quickly realizes the ugly brown ones are the way to go).
  • Bandages/gauze/Ace wrap
  • Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin/bacitracin)
  • Cough drops/throat spray
  • Children’s decongestant
  • Heating pad
  • Cold/ice packs

If you have a kid with seasonal allergies/eczema/food allergies/asthma like me, add to that:

  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Prescription eczema cream
  • Unscented lotion
  • Liquid Benadryl
  • Epi-Pen Jr.
  • Controller/maintenance inhaler (i.e. Advair, Flovent)
  • Rescue inhaler (i.e. Xopenex, albuterol)
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Copy of Asthma Action Plan/Allergy Action Plan
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Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last but not least, any adult in the house has his/her own unique needs.  It seems that every day brings a new ache, pain, mole (when did that show up?), environmental allergy, or psychiatric ailment.

I give you permission to snoop into my medicine cabinet, which is actually a whole closet:

  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety meds
  • Birth control pills
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tums/Gas-X/Rolaids etc
  • Witch Hazel pads (because hemorrhoids happen even when you’re not pregnant)
  • Allergy pills
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Nasal spray
  • Migraine medicine
  • Essential oils
  • Ace wrap
  • Knee brace

Am I forgetting anything??

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The Stomach Ache

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Image courtesy of arztsamui
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The vaguest symptom in the history of symptoms.  The classic.  The stomach ache.

Any day of the week, any month of the year, the most popular complaint that lands kids in the nurse’s office is the stomach ache.  This symptom can be caused by a vast assortment of reasons, and the school nurse has to gets to play detective to discover the cause of the tummy trouble on a case-by-case basis.  I’ve found that asking this one question can shed a lot of light on the subject:  “Why do you think your stomach hurts?”

  • “Because I didn’t eat breakfast.” (Break out the Saltines)
  • “Because I ate Taki’s for snack.”  (Heartburn City)
  • “Because I ate too much at lunch.” (Try to use the restroom, and that’s an order!)
  • “Because the soccer ball hit me in the stomach at recess.”  (Oh, ok then let’s see that stomach – injury assessment time)
  • “Because I’m nervous about my test.” (Give TLC – they just need a little “brain break”)
  • “Because I saw Johnny eating ketchup and oranges together at lunch.” (This kid is a “gagger” who is sensitive to unpleasant stimuli – I give him ice chips to crunch on and we talk about other things to distract him from the revolting sight they just witnessed)
  • “Because my sister coughed on me – she’s home sick today.” (Faker Alert! This kid thinks he’s going home to join the party.)
  • “Because…I…you know…I started…” (Allow me to show you my selection of feminine hygiene products – and let’s call mom – my students are elementary age so it’s a BIG deal to have these symptoms.  Moms usually want to hear about it.)
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Equally as important as what my students say, is their body language.  Signs of a legitimate stomach ache include:

  • Holding belly
  • Walking hunched over
  • Pale/yellowish/greenish skin
  • Unbuttoning the pants (these students are usually bloated and genuinely uncomfortable)
  • Pain that is localized (lower right side could be appendix, etc) as opposed to generalized “my whole stomach hurts” type pain
  • Can’t get comfortable on the cot, restless (sometimes this means they’re about to throw up – trust me on this one)
  • Much quieter than usual, teacher says he’s “not himself today”
  • Grimacing with ACTUAL tears – and school nurses can spot the Oscar contenders from a mile away
Image courtesy of Ambro FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Signs of a fake stomach ache include:

  • Smiling
  • Chatting with other kids in the clinic (“OMG Joe what are you doing in here?!” giggle, giggle)
  • Student says “I threw up in the bathroom.” (If they threw up in front of a reliable witness – not their BFF – I’m more apt to believe them.  True vomiting is hard to control.  It doesn’t just happen conveniently in the bathroom – it’s difficult to contain.
  • A “frequent flyer” who doesn’t ask his teacher for permission to come, but waits until he is at lunch, PE, Art, etc to ask that unsuspecting teacher (who doesn’t know his habits as well as his homeroom teacher) to send him to the clinic.  We talk to these students about the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” phenomenon – “One day you’re really going to be sick and no one will believe you!”

It’s funny how kids think they’re the first ones in history to come up with their brilliant tactics.  So in the spirit of the hilarity of children and their bag of tricks, I’ll leave you with the this scene from the biggest faker of them all, Ferris Bueller.

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