Worcester ER’s in 2017: How I Became an Accidental Expert

2017 has been rough on the normally buoyant constitution of our fun-loving toddler. Here’s the long version- for the short workup of ER’s scroll to the bottom.

In January, Jasper had a bad round of croup that landed us in the ER at 9pm on a Friday night. We had used the nebulizer and albuterol that evening in an effort to keep the symptoms at bay. The weather was unseasonably warm, and the normal trick of humid, warm air/cold air contrast that opens up his lungs when he is struggling to breathe wasn’t an option.

He woke up at 8:07, unable to cough, and unable to breathe. His chokes turned into hysteria, and we took to the road. En route, I called the pediatrician who said that Jasper probably just needed an oral steroid.

We parked at the St Vincent’s parking lot, and were quickly admitted. They put us in a room shared with 5 other people. As we were wheeled down the hall, we passed homeless men and women suffering agonizing pain. Jasper was scared. I was, too.

After an hour, they moved us to a room shared with only one other person. Thankfully, their wifi was great, and YouTube served as a great distraction. We were out of there in five long hours, and Jasper was on the mend.

A month later, Jasper was writhing on the floor in pain. He would be sobbing uncontrollably on the floor for 5-10 minutes at a time, and then he would be fine for a bit. We made it to the doctor; I was sure that it was appendicitis. The doctor said that it might be, but that his symptoms aligned more with intusseption.  She ordered some labs done, and I dropped off Sawyer before we headed to UMass- there was no way I was going back to St. V’s, and I didn’t want to have to deal with an extra kid at the hospital.

We waited an hour at reception, and then his blood work was done. An hour later, we made our way to radiology. After 15 minutes there, the woman who checked us in at radiology called me over.

“We don’t do pediatric ultrasound. You need to go to the University Campus for this,” she said, looking worried.

“Okay. I delivered my baby here at Memorial last year. I thought this is where pediatric work was done,” I said, frustrated after waiting hours already.

“They’re closed, now. If you want this done, you’ll have to go to the ER at University.”

I glanced at my toddler, who had been writhing on the floor at 3:00, two hours before. I took a deep breath, packed him into the car AGAIN and headed to our third campus of the day. I paid our parking at Memorial, and then made our way across Worcester during rush hour. I was so frustrated that I parked in the wrong lot at University campus. And then I lost my parking ticket.

In tears, I pulled up to the Valet parking guy. It was 5:30.

An hour later, we were admitted into a private room.

We had two ultrasounds, two x-rays and no sleep. We were out of there by 1:00am, six hours later, with a diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes in Jasper’s intestine.


Here’s the short version:

St V’s– Free parking. Easy check-in. Shared rooms, and it can get tricky. The wifi works great, but there aren’t any TV’s.

UMass Memorial– Pay for the parking. The lady at check-in doesn’t read the full doctors orders… Ugh.

UMass University– Knowledgeable pediatric staff. Worth the up charge for valet parking. Private rooms with TV, but no wifi. They’re trying to help a huge population of people. There’s a 20% discount at checkout if you pay your full balance on the way out the door.




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