Important Numbers to Save in Event of a Poisoning Emergency

January 7, 2019Allison Murray

If you’ve gotten here by an internet search trying to figure out if the Desert Rose is poisonous, it is. Or if you are currently trying to find information because of a poisoning situation, please call poison control (800) 222-1222 or seek immediate medical help.

We very recently had a poisoning emergency at Christmas and found ourselves in a panic. My sister and I discussed it and thought it would be a good idea to quickly share some information so that if you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll have some numbers at the ready to get help. Our story is at the end of the important information, if you’re interested, but first:

Important phone numbers in a poisoning situation…

The number for Poison Control is currently (800) 222-1222. I don’t know why this number would change, but you can check their site poison.org occasionally for any updates.

You can currently text POISON to 797979 for help via text message to save the Poison Control info to your phone. If this does not work, please visit https://aapcc.org/ for more up to date information.

The animal poison control number by the ASPCA is (888) 426-4435.

Use this website to find the number for your regional Poison Control (this might be good for plants that are only in a certain area, things like that). If this link becomes broken, you can visit the American Association for Poison Control Centers here: https://aapcc.org/ Go ahead and do this well in advance of any potential emergencies as some states have several options for you to read through.

Be sure you occasionally check that the numbers you have in your phone for family doctors, pediatricians and veterinarians are up to date. If available, also add each of your physician’s emergency contact numbers.

If calling 911, it is better to call from a landline than a cell phone, if possible. Your landline has a location attached to it that can be helpful in sending assistance to you. If you can only call from a cell phone, be sure to give the person that answers your cell phone number as a call back number so they can call you back if your call gets disconnected. Even if a phone is disconnected (for, like non-payment or something), you should be connected to emergency services if you attempt to call from that mobile phone. But you have to be near a cell tower because no phone works without a signal.

And remember, I’m not a doctor or a nurse or any kind of medical professional. I’m just a professional glitter lover that had a really bad scare with somebody I love so, so much. Always, always, always seek medical help during an emergency.

Do some research and see if any of the plants in or around your home are poisonous with these resources:

ASPCA Toxic and Non-toxic Plants

Poison.org Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Plants

With all of the important stuff out of the way, if you’re interested in why I’ve shared this post at all, you can read our story here:

I know this post isn’t normal… Usually, I’m showing you how to make something, and I’ve got some fab projects I’m working on to share soon, but my sister and I realized I have a bit of a voice because of my site here. Since during a recent emergency, we had such a hard time finding anything online about whether or not the Desert Rose was poisonous, spoiler alert, IT IS, we wanted to do our part and put some information out there. And I wanted to remind everybody of some very important telephone numbers we should all have programmed in our phones for a poisoning incident so if you sort of skimmed past all of that information above, please be sure to revisit it.

This past Christmas was both great and terrible all at the same time. I know that must sound confusing but it was great because we had a big old fashioned Christmas at my parents’ house… something we hadn’t done in over a decade. It was great because I love my family and I miss seeing them and I’m happiest when I am with them. And it was great because we all have so much fun together. If you’re looking for fun party games, FYI, we all love FIBBAGE!!! And we also found we were partial to a game of Fakin’ It!!! though I am a terrible liar (how was I supposed to know you were to raise your hand if you’ve been mugged when I didn’t know the question and therefore was the only one supposed to, but did not raise my hand?)

It was great because my oldest nephew turns out to be a badass at the Rubik’s Cube and it’s awesome to watch people openly stare after I mix up the cube and he puts it back to rights in under a minute. He insists that isn’t a good time, but he’s only started with this and he was shaving seconds off of his time left and right. It was great because we tried to make a movie, and though we were unable to complete it, it’s still one of our most favorite things to do as a family.

 

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On a side note don’t you just love my deep voice? In my head, I sound like James Earl Jones but when I hear myself in videos I think, my dear word, it’s more like Alvin the chipmunk :)

It was great because there were some pretty thoughtful and funny gifts under our tree (and I have the photos to prove it :). And it was great because I remembered my youngest nephew is very sympathetic and the best at hugs :) Oh and he’s a newly avid indoor skydiver which is THE MOST FUN.

A few days after Christmas, I was suffering a massive cold sore, the toll of so. much. stress. popping up on my lip. Knowing if I don’t take care of it quickly, that more and more will pop up around it, my mom, sister, and nephew went with me to the store to get something to treat it. As we pulled into the parking lot to get my medication, we passed by a man walking the most beautiful blue American bully. And as this car full of dog lovers admired the pup, we realized that his companion was homeless.

After running in to get my medicine I came back to the car to find that my sister and nephew were gone. After a quick round of text messages, I found their location in the parking lot where they were speaking with the gentleman we had seen named Eddie about his gorgeous dog, funnily enough, named Crackers. As I walked up and shook hands with Eddie and introduced myself, I noticed the store shopping bags hanging from Eddie’s wrists, something that hadn’t been there before. It turns out my sister and nephew had purchased dinner for Eddie and a bag of food and a few treats for his pup. Now, dog sugars, like the big wet sloppy kiss and nibble on the neck Crackers gave me, will always make me happy :), but being with my family and remembering how good and caring they can be was just another tick in the Great Christmas column.

 

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On the flipside, it was terrible because I felt the most fear I ever have, watching my nephew unconscious and limp. It was terrible when we realized that it was possible my for my nephew to die of poisoning. And if you ask him, it was terrible that he’s always wanted to ride in an ambulance and he wasn’t even conscious when he finally got to do it. It was terrible because we spent more time in a children’s hospital at Christmas than anyone would care to. And it was terrible because we got to see how many kids also spent Christmas in the hospital instead of in their own beds. And hearing one girl say she couldn’t even remember a Christmas at home was something that truly broke my heart.

I am a worrier. It’s just a part of who I am. And so in the days since I’ve been back home, packing up my entire life to make a big move, I’ve been worrying about pretty much anything and everything and replaying the events that led to my nephew falling ill over and over and over again. And it doesn’t help that I gave my mom the plant that started this whole mess in the first place because I had no clue that it was dangerous at all…

The whole thing happened totally out of the blue. We were playing one of those fun games I mentioned before as a family and having such a blast. We stayed up really late playing until the night-time medications kicked in for the adults and we all went to our beds to sleep. I woke up early the next morning and came out to the den when the super pungent smell of vomit burned my eyes. I walked through to the den proper to find my nephew laying on pillows on the floor, a bucket beside him and my sister worriedly rubbing his back. She warned me that it seemed as though he had a stomach bug and that I should stay away. We’ve all heard about how dangerous the flu can be these days, and so I kept my distance, watching them from the kitchen.

Soon my brother-in-law picked my nephew up, floppy like a rag doll and completely unconscious. And as I stood in the kitchen, still a safe distance away and watching him lay where he was placed, his little chest rose and fell so rapidly that it reminded me of my dog, Aggie. She did the same thing, in so much pain, just before she died. This insane panic struck me and I knew something was really, very wrong. My sister had already come to that conclusion and when I went to say as much, she was already getting together the things you need to visit the Emergency Room.

As I continued to stand there watching my nephew, I worried that eventually, those rapid breaths would turn to nothing and I remembered something from the night before… As we had been playing games and the smack talk was going around the room I pointed at my nephew and said: “don’t chew on leaves from plants!” He smiled and tossed the leaf on the floor and that was about it. Just like his Auntie, both chewers of random things, so nobody took any notice of it. After remembering, I asked my mom what the plant was called and if it was dangerous. It was a Desert Rose or an Adenium and we didn’t know if it was bad. I told my sister about the new development and she looked startled. I searched online on my phone, too impatient for my laptop to boot up, frantically trying to find any kind of information and coming up short. Now that I’ve been home, I’ve looked again and found some good information about the toxicity of the Desert Rose plant, but when I was in an utter panic my Googling skills turned to crap.

I believe my sister had the number for Poison Control, (800) 222-1222, already in her phone which saved valuable time. And as I continued to look online, my sister called to get advice. And as it turned out, they didn’t really know much about this plant as it wasn’t a normal thing for a person to get poisoned by. Dogs and cats? Yes. People? Not so much. And so the online search I was doing on their site wasn’t leading to much information although it is a super handy tool in the event of a poisoning that I’ve bookmarked for the future. Basically, Poison Control stated that he needed to go to the emergency room because the situation was very, very bad. The older nephew and I started to look around on the floor and realized that an entire arm of the plant was bald of leaves. In a panic, we gathered up a pile of chewed up green pieces that littered the floor.

My older nephew was upset, “why would somebody eat a random plant?” I didn’t know specifically, but I also didn’t know why I shoved a tiny piece of small, hard plastic up my nose that after one good sniff had to be excavated out of my sinus cavity when I was a kid. Wait, I do know. I didn’t want my sister to have it. Why? Wasn’t it just a piece of trash? Well, yes. and I have no clue why anymore, but shoving that thing up my nose seemed like a good enough idea at the time that I went for it. Kids do the darndest things and I said as much to him, trying to encourage him to smile and not be so frightened.

Here really quickly, I want to share some facts that I have since found online in my post-emergency worry regarding Adenium toxicity… Every single part of the Desert Rose is poisonous and symptoms typically develop within 12-36 hours. Gloves are recommended when handling the plant because the sap can cause poisoning just by it penetrating through the skin, though from what I saw on some gardening forums some gardeners seem to think that’s silly and just wash their hands well (I’m not so sure, honestly). I saw that it was recommended the Adenium be isolated by FENCING and kept out of homes with children or pets. This includes homes of grandparents where the children may be visiting infrequently. The ill effects caused by the plant include dizziness, vomiting, upset stomach and heart problems including cardiac arrest. I swear never in my life did I think I’d live long enough to watch my nephew’s heart monitor in a panic as I did in the hospital. This plant is so toxic that, according to the Bayer Advanced website, it is used in Africa to poison arrows. And according to tipsplants.com “This poison is so toxic that it can even kill elephants before they are able to pass several kilometers.”

Phew. Scary stuff, right? And this poor little guy had chewed a little pile of leaves from this plant and he isn’t even a fraction of the size of an elephant!

But luckily, our story has a happy ending because my nephew is A-OK and just fine these days. He has definitely learned to not chew on random plants, though. He was given the utmost in care and my sister and brother-in-law got him to the Emergency Room super fast. Transferred from a regular hospital to a children’s hospital where he could be watched over more closely, my sister said that the doctors and nurses did an amazing job there, coming running every time his heart monitor would start screaming, which included 14 times in just one night.

And I’ve got to tell you, my little guy is truly one awesome kid! The Saturday evening before we were all scheduled to head home, our holiday visit complete, he went indoor skydiving for the first time and LOVED IT. Being sick had really done a number for it and he really, really wanted to try but he was so worried he’d be too tired for it, but when that adrenaline kicked in, he sat on a bench with a gigantic smile on his face :) And that smile right there is worth making sure I have every single possible emergency number in my phone in case there is we ever have a poisoning emergency in the future.

If you haven’t done it, yet, please scroll back to the top of this post and find information to save those important phone numbers in your phone so you’re prepared if you happen to have an emergency as awful as we did. And if you’re concerned that this information might be out of date, please leave a comment on this post and I can verify everything.

Comments (1)

  • Allison

    January 18, 2019 at 9:37 AM

    That’s terrifying! I’m so glad that he is pulled through with no issues. Love that you are using your platform to spread awareness.

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