BPuhl’s Blog

A little bit of everything without actually being much of anything

When Good Glow-Sticks Go Bad

Posted by BPuhl on July 18, 2008

On the 4th of July, we all went out to Gasworks Park to sit with 10,000 or so of our closest friends.  This was the 2nd year that I’ve been out there, and that’s about the right interval for the deep-fried, sugar sprinkled, strawberry smothered yummy goodness. 

Heading home around midnight, just as we started across the 520 floating bridge back to “the Eastside” (I live in the city of Redmond), Anika, my 4-year old daughter let’s out this blood-curdling scream, starts holding her left eye, and alternating between screaming “it hurts!!” and “ouchey!!!”

Trying to figure out what the hell just happened – 5 minutes prior I had looked back and she was asleep in her booster seat – when we notice that one of those light-up light stick type glow necklaces had broken, and was all over her hands, shirt, etc…  she had rubbed her eyes in her sleep.

Divert to Overlake hospital ER. 

Into the emergency room – quick explanation and the ER doctor walks out to call poison control to find out what to do.  Record time, back into the room, holding a syringe, and a single-serve half&half capsule.  This is when we find out, that according to poison control:

  • The contents of glow-sticks, and that when you that stuff in your eyes, it feels very close to pepper spray (Yup, that was consistent with the reaction)
  • To neutralize and flush it – spray some half & half or whole milk, in the eye (WOW!  Was she serious?  Yeah)

At this point, the tears from crying had actually cleared much of it away, and we were down to a medium whimper.  So as she’s peeling back to the cover on the half & half capsule – she’s describing how this is the first time in 12 years that she had to go down to the cafeteria to get “the medicine” for an ER patient.  In fact, then 2 nurses came by, one holding a half-gallon jug, and the other with a pint-size whole milk container.  She had also sent them off “on a mission” to find something to spray in this kids eye!

Hurray! A little milk in the eye.  A few more tears.  Lots of snuggles.  And we’re loading back up into the truck to head home and try to get some sleep.

Fast forward…ummm…what, about 14 days or so? To this afternoon.  I’m checking the mail, and Overlake hospital has sent a copy of the charges which they are billing to my insurance company for our visit (thank goodness for medical insurance):

  • Emergency Room Visit – 491.73
  • Pharmacy (Other) – 9.66

WHOA! Wait a minute!  They are charging 9.66 in the ER for the half & half?  Ok sure, I bet the cost of the syringe to do said squirting was in there as well…but seriously!  This is the stuff that they were giving away for free down in the cafeteria!  WTF Mate!?!

Well – just further validation that this countries medical system is in complete disarray, and is likely beyond salvation. 

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3 Responses to “When Good Glow-Sticks Go Bad”

  1. Wow, thats a lot of money to charge, in the uk that would have been free on our nhs, mind you the nhs here isn’t that good, no i shouldn’t say that, they do try..You are just lucky it wasn’t more serious..Mick

  2. Tomek said

    Being from Europe by myself I have to say that saying that anything from social side like Your NHS (we have something similiar in Poland) is free is one of biggest mistake You can ever make. We are paying for it much more than more people are thinking, it is just hidden from us in various form or at best they are ripping our salary for 20-30% to pay for this “free” service. And quality You are getting from this “free” service is somehow related to the price you are officialy paying 😦

  3. Dan Ott said

    Thank you so much for the info- our 5 year old was in the tub playing with a glowstick when I think the hot water pressurized it and it began to squirt out. It unfortunately got into both eyes and he began to scream. We flushed his eyes immediately and it didn’t help the pain much. We then tried the milk (althoughit’s VERY hard to convince a 5 year old that he needs to allow it)drops in the eyes and within a few seconds he was feeling good, and a few minutes later he was back to himself, and about 30 minutes later the redness and swelling was gone. Again, thanks for sharing your story. Dan

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