Within one 5 hour shift, I had the entire spectrum of Manbaby stages: infantile, toddler, school age, adolescent and grown-ass adult. It is interesting to observe the progression.
1. The infant was 11 months old. A third child with a "really high temp, and going up and up" in spite of basically a topical spritz of Tylenol at 99.5 degrees. No other symptoms, yet the parent was beside herself, screaming on her phone about the catastrophic medical emergency for which she nearly called 911. I had to tell her to put the phone away and tend to the already walking
child, who looked like a rose, as he attempted to climb up an IV pole.
2. The toddler with a head bump, no loss of consciousness, no visible injury. He screamed and screamed as the mother loudly explained every second of the terrifying vital signs I was doing. She helpfully conveyed fear with every word instead of distracting with the phone, a song, or book. She demanded a pediatric neurologist to be called immediately as she rocked the shrieking child, smoothed his hair and kissed him repeatedly. Feed the frenzy.
3. Young school age kid (on the cusp between toddler and school age) with a simple forehead laceration. Parents demanded plastics in triage (they don't take call here, and don't answer our calls) and asked when they would see a pediatric neurologist (never. What is with the pedi neurologist demands? Some Dateline episode I missed?). Insisted on over-explaining everything to the kid, offering information he didn't need to have, talking incessantly about needles. I put topical numbing medicine on, much wailing and gnashing of teeth from both parents, hand holding, repeating over and over "it's not going to hurt", (it probably will. I don't lie to the kids. It stings). The kid was too absorbed in an iPad game to notice. 5 minutes later, I heard blood curdling screams, a harbinger of good times to come. Dad had used hand sanitizer on the kid and he had a paper cut.
We had to wrap the kid in a, "Bat Man cape" (arms in pillow case then burritoed in a sheet) and 2 people to hold him down for sutures. More blood curdling screams. Dad repeatedly saying "I know it hurts, daddy's here", drowning out our usual successful diversionary banter, while mom sobbed and rocked in the corner, wailing "it's almost over". No attempts at diversion.
3. School age kid, (age 11) hopping on two feet, with a knee injury sustained about 3 minutes prior to arrival. Hopping. Two feet. Mom immediately commandeered a wheelchair, of course, and harangued the registrar until I finished with the tiresome chest pain patient. Within 5 minutes asked for blankets, pillows, juice, "some kind of splint", ice, pain medication, and for the orthopedic to be standing by to care for her precious little guy because "nothing is too good for my son". She, too, smoothed his hair and told him how it was all going to be ok, don't be afraid, mommy's here.
4. Adolescent male. Age 16. He's been here before as evidenced by mom's chummy "we know our way around" banter and checklist of what makes her special lil' guy better with his cyclic vomiting. A liter of fluid and some zofran, and could we please get started on that because I have another kid at home whose plans were cancelled because of the patient's visit to the ER, and younger bro is NOT happy. Mommy made sure to let me know that baby boy doesn't like needles, and could we please use the smallest size, and this arm, and not to try unless I'm sure, and he has persnickety veins, and could we draw the blood at the same time so he doesn't get too anxious. Although I found a vein immediately I spent a good 10 minutes pretending to find one while Mommy cooed and cuddled. Gag. The kid didn't vomit once in the ER. Demanded juice and crackers after about 20 minutes and wanted to go home soon after that so they could get on with their evening plans. I didn't hurry as I had other things to attend to. This was a textbook example of novice Manbaby. I suspect many, many issues at home.
5. The 55 year old came in with his mother for....oh, never mind. It makes me want to vomit. I've covered Manbaby, both the gloriously single and the married kind complete with Mommywife in the past.
This is really a recipe for creating steel reinforced apron strings. I don't care if it's not politically correct