Monday, November 10, 2008

Excitement I Could Have Done Without

Apparently Ellie thought the berries on a ground cover near our mailbox looked yummy today and popped one in her mouth and ate it even though Scott told her not to. :(

We didn't think too much of it until we noticed at dinner that her eyes were dilated far more than Scott's or mine. That concerned us, and the only explanation we could think of was the berry.

The shrubs actually belong to our neighbors, so I had to call and ask what they were and whether they were poisonous. They were cotoneaster and although our first reference book, the Sunset Western Garden book, didn't mention being poisonous, I decided to call the pediatrician instead.

As soon as the advice nurse heard the issue, she told me to call the poison center. (Which I would have called first, but I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't remember the number and couldn't find it quickly in the phone book.)

So I did, and was told that that cotoneaster berries were "somewhat toxic." That was concerning, but when she found out that Ellie had only eaten a single berry, she said it was not a problem. Ten to 12 berries or more might have caused a problem, but one didn't.

Then she proceeded to rip me up one side and down the other for not having called immediately after Ellie ate the berry. And apparently, as someone who hasn't had medical training, I am not allowed to comment on and notice someone's pupil dilation. Even when I'm simply comparing it to my own. And, btw, even an overdose of the berries would only have caused nausea, vomitting and/or diarrhea, but they would not cause pupil dilation.

The important thing, of course, is that my kid is just fine. I don't mind that the person I spoke to clearly thought I was a lousy mother for not calling immediately. (If I had, the woman said she would have told me to have Ellie rinse her mouth out and then drink something. If Ellie had eaten 10 or more, she would have sent us to the ER.)

Interestingly, Scott kept looking at our reference books after I hung up with the poison center. And in the 1997 edition of the American Horticultural Society's A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, he found what we'd been looking for: "Seeds may cause mild stomach upset if ingested."

Somehow, that sounds a lot less scary than "somewhat toxic."

Meanwhile, it's going to be a weird week. Ellie's school is closed Tuesday (Veteran's Day) and Thursday (parent-teacher conferences). So she will only go Monday-Wednesday-Friday this week, which I fear means I'm going to get even less done than I normally do since I'll have more to recover from this week.

But at least I'm over the hump for the cold/flu bug that morphed into a killer sinus infection. I'm never really sure whether the antibiotics made a difference or if I would have gotten better in the same amount of time anyway. But I think this time the antibiotics did help.

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