Monday, April 12, 2010

Scariest Day of my Life

Like the onset of a scary movie, this particular day began in the normal, except for the fact that Neil was on his annual kayaking trip of course.  We spent most of the morning at a neighbor's house for a More than Moms' book club brunch.  Though I didn't actually read the book, I certainly enjoyed the company and distraction.  As we ventured home, my plan was to put Madison down for a nap, let the boys play for a few minutes and then head up with Blake.  The rest of the afternoon was supposed to be about laundry and Windex.  However, I'm guessing that just didn't sound exciting enough now did it?

It was a little after 1:00, and I was folding the last few remnants of three loads of laundry.  The electrician was working in what used to be the bar area at the base of the stairs.  Owen and Blake were playing an intense game of build the fort, which required nearly every pillow and blanket in the house.  During one of their missions, Blake lost his balance on the stairs, fell off the side from about five steps up, and landed on the side of his forehead.  From the sound of it, I half expected to find a bloody, cracked skull.  Instead, there wasn't even a goose egg.  This is when the panic set in and I knew we were going somewhere. 

Of course I can't leave the other kids with the electrician, even though he seemed nice enough.  So I called Mandy, my host from the morning.  I didn't know who else could get there that quickly.  I'm so indebted to her graciousness.  She came right over.  I put Blake in the van and took off towards the Kaiser urgent care.  In route, I called the advice nurse who began asking me a series of questions.  "Did he lose consciousness?" "No."  "How long did he cry?" "About 5 minutes."  "Is he alert and responsive to his name?" "Um, Let me check."  This is where it got scary.  I began calling out to Blake who was sitting in his seat, staring out the window.  His jaw was loose; his stare a little too eerie for my taste.  He didn't acknowledge me in any way, almost like he was catatonic.  I pulled over so that I could get back there with him and try again.  Still, no response.  He just stared out the window.  It was then that the advice nurse told me to call 911, so I did.

As I'm waiting there in a random parking lot, every situation imaginable flows in and out of my consciousness.  Suddenly, I'm thinking about Natasha Richardson, who died from a head injury that didn't seem that bad at first.  I'm wondering how I'm going to get a hold of Neil, who's on a river somewhere without a cell phone, should things go awry . I think we'll remedy that phone thing this week.  I can only imagine how he felt when I recounted the events of the day at half past 10 that night. 

Meanwhile, Blake is starting to fall asleep and I am trying anything to keep him awake.  The sirens did the trick.  From this point, it all becomes a blur.  The firemen and medics poured into my van like a reverse circus act.  They stabilized his head, transporting him in his car seat, which was extremely smart because I'm not sure I would have thought to bring it with me.   They sat me down in the ambulance and began "working" on Blake.  Because of the position of the seat, he couldn't see me for several minutes.  He didn't cry, whimper, or flinch.  He just wouldn't respond.  It was during this time that I was able to send out a quick tweet updating my friends and family to the situation.  Finally, I was able to come to his side and hold his limp hand.  He still didn't look at me.  And when the medics inserted the IV needle, he didn't even acknowledge it.  The EMT's gave each other a rather concerned look, and I lost it inside.  Panic overtook me and tears began to flow.  Of course I kept my outward appearance as strong as I could, but inside I was more frightened than I have ever been. 

Arriving at the hospital was like a scene out of Grey's Anatomy.  I half expected McDreamy himself to greet us.  There were people everywhere, and every single one of them asked me the same exact questions.  And I'm pretty sure one of them was from Child Protective Services.  I'm pretty sure that's routine.  By this point, he had begun to "wake up" a little.  His eyes would dart around, his hand would at least grasp my hand though not with any sort of strength.  By the time we got into the CT scan room, he was even starting to look a little frightened himself.  I never thought I'd actually be relieved to see my child show fear.  During the scan, he suddenly blurts out, "It stopped," speaking about the machine he was lying inside. 

Scans were clear, vital signs normal.  Now it became a waiting game.  The doctor's would not release him until he passed a couple tests, one was telling the docs that he didn't feel any pain in his neck.  This was no simple task.  Whatever progress we had made while in the room by ourselves, was eradicated as soon as any person wearing scrubs entered the room.  I could tell the boy was traumatized on top of everything else.  Eventually we bribed him with Oreos and he was able to say that he wasn't in pain.  A+ Blake.  Now all he has to do is keep the Oreos and juice down for 30 minutes.  All the while, he's improving, speaking more, moving more.  The panic had subsided and now all I wanted to do was take my son home, which was not an easy task in a hospital like Hopkins. But we arrived on Hubner just before 8:00 pm, in time to put the boys to bed.  And have a glass of wine with my friend and lifesaver.

Of course, I have to give a shout out to all of you who helped.   Mandy, who watched my kids for hours on end.  Katy and Wes, who came and picked us up even though it delayed their evening plans.  Joyce and Tim who selflessly retrieved my van from that random parking lot on Rolling Rd.  My mom and sister who continually called to check up.  And all my friends and family who made sure to keep us in their thoughts and prayer.  The support overwhelmed me.  I don't know how I would have made it through with out you. 

No comments: