The Nyquil Incident

The Nyquil Incident

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.

Friday around noon Audrey and I were talking in the kitchen during my lunch break. Cooper had silently wandered off as he often does presumably to drive cars or shoes on our unmade bed. Except he wasn’t. I heard him coughing in the bathroom and went to check out what was going on to find a pool of bright red liquid all over the bathroom floor and in the tub as well as on the boy’s shirt and face. I started doing rapid crime scene forensics. Too bright to be blood. The medicine cabinet is open. What’s missing? There it is, an empty bottle of Nyquil in the tub. (Actually it was Equate Multi-sympton Cold/Flu Nighttime, but “The Equate Multi-symptom Cold/Flu Nighttime Incident” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way.)

Now what? 911? They’ll send an ambulance. I’ve heard that can be really expensive. Is this the time to be cheap, your child’s life is at stake?! What to do, what to do…



“You’re not going to like this.”

. . .

After a phone call to poison control, the pediatrician (they don’t handle that sort of thing), and my work to let them know I wouldn’t be back that afternoon, we found ourselves on our way to the emergency room. Audrey drove and I tried to keep him awake in the warm car at nap time.

Audrey: “Where do I turn?”

Me: “I would follow the giant red sign that says ‘Emergency.'”

Fortunately, early Friday afternoon isn’t a terribly busy time for them so we were not competing in triage with gunshot wounds and car accidents. (The hospital is actually in a pretty good neighborhood, Mom, so I doubt they see very many gunshot wounds.) They got us in and the doctor saw us pretty quickly.

Doctor: “How are you guys doing today?”

What kind of stupid question is that, doc? We’re in the EMERGENCY ROOM. How good could things be going?

Me: “Good.”

Doctor: “Oh, you have two kids. Are you planning on having any more?”

Audrey, Me (unison): “No.”

Doctor (smiles): “Well, we’ve been talking to poison control and we’re going to need to do some blood tests to make sure the levels of Tylenol aren’t high enough to be dangerous to his liver. We’ll do a test now and then four hours after he took the medicine because that’s when the levels usually peak and if we need to we’ll start him on something to protect his liver.”

Cooper had a great time at the hospital with all the attention he was getting until three big male nurses entered the room and we had to hold him down to put the IV in. Cooper handled the whole thing like a champ, but was considerably less jovial afterwards although he did like the Spiderman sticker they used to keep the bandage on that covered up his IV so he wouldn’t pick at it. He took a solid nap during the afternoon (surprise, surprise). Serendipitously so did Ellen. Audrey and I used the quiet time to talk about where we wanted to go on a vacation without the kids.

Luckily, he didn’t consume enough for it to be dangerous and we were sent home shortly after the second test. We were all starving since lunch was so rudely interrupted. We had well-deserved takeout and reassessed our medicine cabinet.

10 thoughts on “The Nyquil Incident

  1. Little boys in hospital beds make me so sad! I’m sorry that you all had to go through that, but I’m so glad that it all ends well! (I would’ve thought about the cost of an ambulance too. lol)

  2. I laughed out loud at the dr.’s silly questions (is now really the time to discuss how many kids you’ll have??) glad Cooper’s okay!

  3. Scary! Glad everything turned out ok! Ambulances are expensive (especially the ones that fly…or travel long distances) but i’ve found that if you want to save $$ drive yourself but use the ambulance entrance, you’ll be seen much quicker than those waiting in the proper areas.

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