Wednesday, May 5, 2010

*Batteries Not Included

Monday before lunch, Henry broke a light-up toy from Disneyland. This would only be significant for that fact that I love that blinking necklace and am sad to see it go, except for that fact that we couldn't account for all of its batteries. The battery cover was still screwed in place, but with the rest of the toy broken all the batteries had managed to scatter across the floor. We picked up the batteries, but then realized there weren't enough of them to fill the battery compartment. There was one missing. We spent several more minutes combing the the carpet and the corners, sure we would find it any second. But we still couldn't find it. We thought about rushing him to the ER, but decided to call Henry's doctor instead. That doctor ordered x-rays at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, which is just a few blocks from our apartment. I knew we were being responsible by having him checked (since the better plan of keeping him away from button cell batteries had fallen through), but I was sure it was just to rule out the possibility that he had actually swallowed a battery. After all, he was his happy little self, we never saw him put anything in his mouth, and he should know better, right?
After stopping by registration, we went to radiology, and were seen in just a few minutes. We had to wake him up to take the x-rays, so he was a little upset. They quickly took two views while Nick and I waited behind lead glass. They have an digital x-ray system, so as soon as the image was taken we could see the results.
We knew instantly that he indeed had swallowed a battery. That bright spot (now circled with a red o) is the battery sitting in his stomach. That was both good and bad news. The bad news is he had swallowed the battery. The good news is that the battery had made it safely to his stomach. The real risk for injury with the button cell batteries is they get lodged in the esophagus, and cause acid burns, even burning through the esophagus and into the trachea. Since it made it to his stomach, we just had to make sure it came out on its own within 48 hours.  The whole thing was handled with very little inconvenience and no ER co-payment.  We had lunch at the hospital to finish off the experience (and give Henry some high-fiber foods.)

32 hours later, we have the missing battery back.  It's blackened, but otherwise in tact.  We will not be using it, and the broken toy has been disposed of.

We will certainly try harder to keep small objects out of his reach.  Sarah Page warned of this exact hazard a couple of weeks ago, as her husband is the one treating the worse-scenario cases.  We're very grateful that Henry's case was so simple.
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Jo Ellen/Toots said...

It's kind of amazingly wonderful to see the insides of Henry's perfect little body. Love, Toots

sarah said...

We are both quite relieved your ER visit was more of an afternoon-out than an oh-I-can't-believe-we-are-sending-our-baby-to-the-OR-but-at-least-that-nice-surgeon-is-cute.

Linette Smith said...

the battery actually looked a lot bigger in the xray than i thought.

Kev and Chels said...

Oh my goodness! I'm glad he's okay and I'll be extra vigilant with my kids too!

Doug said...

Looks like both Henry and Nick passed.