Tea Time with Activated Charcoal

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Earlier this week I had a 2-year-old girl, let’s call her Lily, come into the ER because she had gotten into her grandmothers blood pressure medication. I was able to successfully distract her during her IV, being hooked up to a monitor, etc. After all of this, however, came the hard part… getting her to drink all of the activated charcoal on her own to avoid an NG tube.

Luckily, Lily was thirsty from the moment she arrived to the ER so when she got a bottle with a “black milkshake” in her hands, she quickly latched on and chugged a good amount! After a few gulps, her mouth and chin were covered with black goop and a small drop splattered onto her hand. She stopped drinking and asked me to clean her hand for her (such a girly girl)! However, this was the end of her willingly drinking the “black milkshake” and there was still about a quarter left.

The nurse told mom that Lily needed to drink the entire amount given because this was being given as an exact dosage. At this point mom started to get a little nervous begging Lily to drink it, bribing her with toys, trips to Disney world, ice cream, you name it. But Lily was not budging – she would quickly turn her head the other way and scrunch her forehead.

This is when my “Child Life Lightbulb” turned on! I rushed out of the room and grabbed my tea set (shout out to my Child Life Assistants for always keeping my toys clean for situations like these!) I set up the tea set for Lily, mom, the nurse, and I to have some fun. We pretended to pour tea into our cups, cheers, put “air sugar cubes” in our tea, sing, etc. Lily still wasn’t too happy to be drinking out of her bottle since everyone else had tea cups so, the nurse poured Lily’s drink into a medicine cup which she seemed to be satisfied with. And just like that, Lily drank the last bit of her black milkshake! Thanks to such a pro-child life nurse & a calm & supportive mother, we were all able to work together to help little Lily drink her activated charcoal, avoiding another procedure. This is definitely a Child Life win in my book!

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Image Source: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Laugh-Learn-Say-Please/dp/B0083IXKXK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1412110554&sr=8-3&keywords=tea+set+toy

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