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Ipecac, Like Pluto

We’re a house known for summoning the effective emetic, syrup of ipecac, from time to time.  I’m sure that surprises none of my regular readers.

What’s fascinating is that of all the times I have had to call Poison Control, none of them has been for Edward.  Sure there was the time when Joseph sucked the alcohol-gel out of a cold pack from his lunchbox.  He simply clamped a vampirish bite down on the white, melting squisher, found the insides, in his words “like a plainish jello,” and went to town.

Poison Control does not have that happen too often, they said, but still they could read the code on the cold pack and tell me how much alcohol the child had ingested.  A gallon of water later, he was copacetic.

(On a side-note, let me tell you how fun it is to get a three-year-old to drink a gallon of water!)

Then of course there was last year, (while I was at a Beth Moore conference two states away), and Sue decided to have a tea party with “the pink,” otherwise known as ibuprofen.

I was sitting at the hotel breakfast bar thrilling to a fruit plate and coffee with friends when the call came in:  “How much ibuprofen was in the pink ibuprofen bottle?  Not the one with no dyes or colors, but the pink one.  ‘Cause Sue had her pink teacups arranged in the kitchen floor feeding it to herself and several unsuspecting babies.”

You can imagine the conversation, prayers and panic that ensued as what was once a relaxing care-free morning with friends turned into steely fear.  (At least I was in good prayer warrior company!)

The fine motor skills on tiny girls still surprise me, as did her ability to open the child-proof bottle which may or may not have been screwed all the way on.  Poor H rushed to the drug store, hastily purchased the standard brown bottle of ipecac, and Sue proceeded to throw up violently in the bathtub while the Poison Control fellows on the other line cheered; in a few hours’ time, she was fine.

I vowed to never leave town again, of course, which was a mistake because the next time Poison Control was summoned it was on my watch.  Sweet Sue downed an entire bottle of Bright Spark, the homeopathic attention aide Edward has taken for three years.  Poison Control was able to reassure me that one two-year-old ate two full bottles with no ill effect.  Sue was focused but fine for the rest of that day.

So last night, H and I had planned a rare date night with friends.  We scheduled the babysitter over two weeks ago, discussed possible restaurants and couldn’t believe our good fortune–a fortune that melted, however, with repeated deluges last week resulting in so many baseball game cancellations that a Friday night game was scheduled.


Yet the good part was that I could actually watch the 7:15 game, unfettered, since it was too late to cancel the sitter.  I planned to take a few pictures, actually try to meet some of the parents, and hoped for a late dinner with my two “older men.”

(Normally I stand at this one spot on the top of a hill where I can swirl back and forth pitching juice boxes and watching the playground and the game until I become dazed and dizzy.)

I was sitting on the bleachers enjoying the game warm-up, (something I’d never seen), when the call came in from my sitter: “Oh me, oh my, do you know how many melatonin pills there were in that bottle because I think Sue ate all of them. Oh my should I call 911 what do I do oh oh!”

Now this is an awesome sitter–a sitter who once heimliched a penny out of Edward’s throat, saving his life.

And that’s when it hit me: I was the one who left the melatonin on the admittedly very high but still accessible breakfast bar in the kitchen.  I did not panic, though, because I knew melatonin was a relatively safe supplement.

I raced to the drug store and began pacing the aisles in search of that faithful brown ipecac bottle.  I saw none.

I rushed to the pharmacy tech who began running up and down the aisles, muttering under his breath, “I knew we used to have it, I know we have it!”

The pharmacist finally returned from the back and said with certain authority.  “We do not have ipecac!”

I jumped in the car and gunned it while simultaneously calling my neighbor and bloggy friend.  She knows me well enough to sense my tone:

“Hi. Do you have ipecac?” I questioned.  Without a beat she, a perfume stalker and mother of five, replied, “Yes, a whole bottle.”

“Then go to my house and give it to Sue right now.”

“Will do.”  (And I knew she would have no troubles getting Sue to ingest the entire bottle of brownish gruel because that’s the kind of mother and friend she is.)

Then I dialed Poison Control and discussed the matter with them.  I could hear the guy’s fingers flying over the computer in the background as he took down all the pertinent information: weight, age, what she took.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  “Oh, you have no problems.  She’ll probably get very tired and may throw up…just stay with her all night and periodically wake her up to make sure she is coherent.”

Yipee!  I’ve done that so many times.  I’m good at checking for coherent children in the middle of the night!

I breathed a sigh of relief, and that’s when I told him we had already given her the ipecac.  I thought he would praise our proactive efforts but instead he kind of growled, “Oh no!  That stuff is terrible!  Throw that stuff away.  Never ever give it to anyone again!”

Then he went on to list a litany of problems with ipecac causing fatal aspirations and rarely helping the poisoned victim.  I could not believe it!  Only a year or so ago, ipecac was King, included in every new mother’s take-home baby basket, and now it has fallen, like Pluto, off the radar.

Poor, poor ipecac.

Read more about ipecac’s dangers here.

Sue wretched and heaved into the night, peppering my bed with broccoli-cheese soup laden with tiny melatonin chunks.  She’s fine today.  Tired, but fine.

Some busy, busy guardian angels have been assigned to my children.

My, my, my how I am thankful for them!

On a concerned note, now I have to replace Ashley’s bottle of ipecac.  Perhaps I’ll have to check the black market?

Another adventure awaits!

Posted on 9 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany.

13 Comments to “Ipecac, Like Pluto”

#1 Posted by goodfountain (09.05.09 at 20:03 )

Oh me oh my. What adventures you have had. Thank goodness for guardian angels. The worst we’ve had is Charlotte eating a few prenatal vitamins once.

OK – I have been considering “Focus Formula” (rather than Bright Spark) for Charlotte. How did you decide it was okay to give to Edward? The concerning thing to me is the Gingko in Focus Formula.

I have been weighing and weighing this in my mind, but just can’t decide.

Email me and let’s chat. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

goodfountains last blog post..The big deal that wasn’t

#2 Posted by laurele (10.05.09 at 01:35 )

I don’t know much about Ipecac, but I can assure you that Pluto has most certainly not dropped off the radar. Only four percent of the International Astronomical Union voted on the controversial demotion, and their decision was immediately rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Both scientists and lay people are working to overturn the demotion while others are simply ignoring it altogether. I am proud to be one of these people. Don’t count Pluto out yet by any means.

#3 Posted by Crysm @ Memoirs of a Mommy (10.05.09 at 15:28 )

Holy cow! Cruddy date night for you, but I am so glad she is ok.

All I’ve had to deal with so far is Lilly eating 1/2 a Pepcid AC when she was about 15 months. And while Noah has yet to do this, I have a feeling he is going to be giving me a run for my money.

It does make me uncomfortable, though, how poison control wants all this personal info. Like they are keeping track. Freaks me out.

#4 Posted by ashperkins5 (10.05.09 at 18:36 )

I am so glad she is okay and thrilled I could help. I am shocked about ipecac! Sooo sorry I really had no idea. Please do not replace it! Angels!! Yes, they are watching over here as well!

I do worry about your poor sitter – did she ever recover?


#5 Posted by mrsbear (10.05.09 at 21:36 )

Oh no. What a scare. Thank goodness she was okay. Poor Sue, sounds like a rough night for all involved. Ipecac sounds like a nightmare but I always thought it was a medical staple for homes with small children. Apparently my thoughts are somewhat outdated. Luckily I’ve never had to use it myself, although I have had to call poison control a couple of times, once for toothpaste (she sucked almost half of it out of the tube in a matter of seconds), luckily nobody suffered any permanent damage. Hope you managed to have a lovely Mother’s Day. 🙂

mrsbears last blog post..Happy Mother’s Day

#6 Posted by Carla (10.05.09 at 21:55 )

I’ve called poison control…ummm….at least 6 times since I’ve had children. Or has it been more? Some quite embarrassing (did you know drinking KY Liquid won’t harm you but the climb to the top of the cabinet might have…), that the rocks used in gas fireplaces are “safe” but watch for them to come out to make sure they didn’t get stuck….to “OH those gummy vitamins for immunity boosting only have Vitamin C that we are worried about and she didn’t come close to toxicity level we are worried about” *sigh*

Thanks for letting me know about Ipecac…I’ve been needing to replace the bottle in our house for some time.

Carlas last blog post..Disney 2009 – Chapter 6 – Magic Kingdom

#7 Posted by Carla (10.05.09 at 21:56 )

OH, Katie can open child proof bottle as we found out last weekend due to the gummy vitamins.

Carlas last blog post..Disney 2009 – Chapter 6 – Magic Kingdom

#8 Posted by Tari (10.05.09 at 23:12 )

I dunno – I’m keeping the ipecac, just in case. maybe one of the dogs will need it…

Taris last blog post..Meet Knight!

#9 Posted by kim (11.05.09 at 09:37 )

oh my goodness
What a drama!
I am so glad that Sue is ok!!!
Maybe one day you and H will get that
much needed date night 🙂
See you soon

kims last blog post..I had a GREAT mother’s day weekend

#10 Posted by JoyMama (11.05.09 at 10:19 )

Oh my goodness, you have been through the wringer on the poison-control front!

The closest I have come to personal experience with ipecac was watching a bunch of political protesters ingest the stuff, together with red or blue or no food coloring, and then upchuck in (not-so-very) patriotic colors on the street…

I’m very glad to hear that all is well with Sue and the melatonin!

JoyMamas last blog post..Monday Numbers

#11 Posted by rhemashope (12.05.09 at 13:52 )

Wow. You just shattered my Poison Control call record.

Thank God for guardian angels!

rhemashopes last blog post..Dresspectations

#12 Posted by Patty (15.05.09 at 08:45 )

Wow! Do you have Poison Control on speed dial? I can’t believe what you have been through. Scary! Though the Bright Spark story made me laugh out loud, when you said Sue was extra focused that day.

I am soooo glad everyone’s ok. And thanks for the heads-up about ipecac. I had no idea.

Pattys last blog post..why I will probably never win the mother of the year award

#13 Posted by April ~ EnchantedDandelions (06.06.09 at 18:18 )

Oh poor baby! Sounds like a horrible night. I hope she’s feeling better by now, and you (and your sitter) have recovered from the panic. Also hope you and your DH can have a date night soon.

I’ve called poison control a couple times. Did you know that a small toddler can drink a bit a tea tree oil and be just fine, although your living room will smell very strongly for weeks! Also, when Isaiah got into, oh can’t think of the name now, but meds that was given to me to help postpartum bleeding. He spend his 2nd birthday in the ICU under observation for that one. 🙁

April ~ EnchantedDandelionss last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Flashback Edition