My First Encounter with Poison Control

“Poison control, this is Marsha.” 

“Marsha, my 18 month daughter came in with a bottle of hand sanitizer.  It’s a one ounce bottle- the smelly stuff, Sweet Pea.  The bottle is half empty.  And her mouth smells like sweet peas, so she definitely drank some.  It’s 68% alcohol.  She grabbed it off the desk.”

 “Is she showing any symptoms?  How much is gone?”

“No symptoms, about one tablespoon to half an ounce is gone.  I don’t know how much was in there before.”

 “OK,” says Marsha, “for a child that age she would have to take 6 swallows to drink one tablespoon.  It would take three tablespoons for her to become ill.”  Quick math, that is 18 swallows.  No way ReeRee could have drank that much across the room.  Where’s my blood test?  I’m feeling low.  Oh thank you, ReeRee- hand Mommy the poker, no- leave the strip in, get your finger out of the phone cord, great- 60, nono-these are Mommy’s candies.

 “Alcohol can lower bloodsugars,” Marsha continues.  “I know, I’m diabetic,” I mumble into the receiver with a mouthful of fruit chews.  “Give your daughter some sweet juice.”  Too late, she just downed a can of juice before the hand sanitizer.  Geewhiz, looky here, fruit chews.  Here ReeRee, have your own pack.  Dude, I don’t know if the other offices are open, they should be down there, it’s 2:30 pm.  (I am really low and really snappy and not the main switchboard.)

 Marsha continues to ask for my name and number to call me back if we are disconnected.  How did she know ReeRee’s finger was pulling the phone cord, waiting for the end to snap out?  “This was alcohol, so she may become sleepy or goofy.”  ReeRee is a goofy kid who takes long naps.

 I teach about the hazards of chemicals to farmers and how they should keep the Poision Control Center’s phone number with them at all times.  In fact, I point out to them, the number is easily found in the cover of your blue manual.  I never thought I would be digging out the blue manual when my bloodsugars are in the toilet, trying to detox my one-and-half year old.

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