Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is that?

This is an embarassing story.
It's so embarassing that it has taken me several weeks
just to consider writing it down.
(big gulp)
It all started on a grey day in early March.  Here in the Mid-Atlantic States, we know spring is coming by a few very specific events, such as the dirt bike gangs start terrorizing city streets, we randomly have 80-degree days only to have a 40-degree day to follow, and the trees start to bud. 
The park we take our dog to has beautiful trees, including a couple of magnolia trees.  I love the fuzzy buds they get and I was enjoying showing them to Miss T. 

Each day at the park, I would point out the buds, let her touch and feel them and then tell her that soon, there will be gorgeous pink and white flowers.
One fateful day began in such a way.  While I was showing T the buds, our dog caught my attention.  We quickly walked away from the tree to address his needs.  I ended up re-leashing him and walking home, Miss T in my arms. 
At one point, I looked at her. 
Hmmm, something seems different. 
Oh well.
Once home, it was dinner time.  Hubby was working late so it was just T and I.  I set her down on her play mat and got her dinner ready.
Placing her in the highchair, I noticed something on her shirt.  It was about an inch long, very light, almost worm like.  Then there was another.  Then another. I was picking dozens of these things off of her shirt and face!  What could this be?  Is it a silk worm?  Is it from the magnolia tree?  I tried to squish one, but it didn't really squish like a worm.  Hmmm.  I inspected her play mat where I found more and more of these - and something else, almost leaf like, and wet. 
I went back to T and fished my finger around in her mouth and pulled more leaf-like pieces out!  What is she eating?  And then, a little light went off in my head.  While our dog had distracted me, Miss Sticky Fingers had grabbed a magnolia bud and shoved it in her mouth!
Frantic, I called my hubs at work. Not because I wanted the advice of my husband, but because I wanted his professional advice as an Emergency Department pharmacist with training in toxicology.
I called his cell phone - no answer. 
I called his office - no answer. 
I called the ED! NO ANSWER! (Ok, the ED answered, he just wasn't there). 
Now, my hubs is always available, whenever I needed him so this was driving me crazy!  I resorted to paging him at work.  Finally I reached him and told him what happened.  Now, here I am, ashamed that I allowed my daughter to eat a bud off of a city magnolia tree while in my arms. I am grateful that I have my own personal poison specialist that I can turn to day or night to answer all my frantic calls. I am very lucky. But you know what? I'm not the only one...

Did you know that your local Poison Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays!) to answer just these and much more serious questions?!  A single hotline will direct you to your local poison center, anywhere in the US!  If your little one eats a magnolia bud (or something worse), you can call 1-800-222-1222, and speak to your own personal poison specialist, nurses and pharmacists that have been specifically trained to answer your questions and determine what actions need to be taken. 

Here are some surprising facts:
-each year, more than 1 million suspected poisoning exposures in children younger than 6 years old are reported to poison centers across the country.
-Experts at the Maryland Poison Center handled over 65,000 calls in 2008, involving household cleaners, medicines, snake and spider bites, industrial accidents, chemicals, animal poisonings, drug information, and more.

This is taken directly from the brochure I received at a health fair from my local poison center:
"The Maryland Poison Center is the first place to call in the event of a suspected poisoning. We receive approximately 60,000 calls per year ranging from poisoning emergencies to poison information requests.  We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with safe, effective emergency treatment advice and we are also here to answer any non-urgent questions you might have about poisons."

In the unfortunate event that you do need to seek emergency medical attention, did you know that your local poison center will help facilitate your interactions with doctors, assisting them in treatment and follow up?  Talk about service!
Did you know that this service is free?!?!
Utilizing a poison center as a first resort saves an estimated 15 to 30 million dollars in healthcare costs!  Seventy to 80% of all cases reported to a poison center can be safely managed at home without a trip to the ER, saving you time and money as well!

Well, I kind of left you hanging.  When I finally got B on the phone, in his calmest voice, he told me it was ok, that magnolia buds aren't poisonous. I didn't care, "this is a city magnolia tree!" I shouted back at him, "look it up!". As if being in a city can make a tree poisonous to 20-lb little girls! He humored me, looked it up and reported the results, she would be fine.

And it's a good thing even city magnolia trees aren't poisonous because just one week later, she grabbed a magnolia flower off the tree and took a big bite out of it, like it was a salad or something!  I need to keep a better eye on those sticky little fingers!

1 comment:

The Way I See It said...

Wow Melissa, these are great tips to know. I had no idea. We all definitely need to utilize these benefits alot more! Thanks for putting this out there....and p.s. Tell Miss T, no more eating those Magnolia trees. I love Magnolia trees. I want one so bad!!