Three things no parent ever wants to hear in the same sentence. But that’s what I heard when a police officer called me yesterday afternoon shortly before I expected my kids to come bounding in the door. Continue reading Freak Accident→
Early in the evening we got a call from our local Kids Night Out program that Reed had crashed into metal bleachers while playing indoor tag. He had a gash on his leg that should be looked at.
Roger and I cut our Date Night short to pick up the kids and their friends, return the friends to their homes, and head to a children’s emergency room.
Reed entered — and later exited — in a wheelchair.
Though in pain, Reed mostly remained his jovial self from the time we retrieved him until the time the doctor said he would need stitches. That declaration broke Reed’s resolve and a full-on panic attack ensued.
First came the numbing gel. Thirty minutes later he was administered nasal versed, which made Reed amusingly loopy (This bed? It’s my best friend!). Finally, he was ready for irrigation and repair.
Roger, allowing his wimpy wife an out, took front-and-center position to hold Reed’s hands and gaze during the procedure. Our curious Tessa was eager to watch. That left me in the background, avoiding eye contact with all things crimson.
#2: The Girl
The next step in anesthesia involved a long needle, presumably to be administered directly into the wound (I wouldn’t know). Tessa, who likes to observe as people get shots and IVs, fixed her eyes.
And then got light-headed. I was standing next to her and was able to stop her from falling by pressing her toward a wall, guiding her gently to the floor. A nurse helped me get Tessa into what had been, an hour before, Reed’s wheelchair.
The nurse got the two of us situated in the next room. Tessa was given crackers and juice and a wet cloth for her sweaty forehead. We began to breathe together to calm her body down.
And then…from the next room, we heard, “I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE!!”
In a flash and of my own making, I became part of an ER episode, certain that Reed had gone into cardiac arrest just a wall away. I was convinced the doc was calling for a crash cart.
Tessa leapt out of bed and we both bolted into the hallway where several nurses were hustling. I peeked into Reed’s room with a vise around my throat.
I didn’t expect to see what I saw.
#3: The Surprise
In a heap on the floor at the head of my son’s bed were my husband’s legs. He had crumbled to the floor, hitting his head on the same wall that my daughter had slid down 5 minutes previously.
Roger had been holding the hands of Loopy Reed, who kept wanting to “help” the doc with the stitches. Why are my legs allllll the way down theeeeere? — he’d ask and point with his whole arm. Roger was charged with keeping Reed’s hands out of the doctor’s way. Having never been squeamish, Roger watched as the doctor probed her finger deep into the wound — into his son’s muscle — to fish out any debris.
That scene, along with the fact that Roger had come down with a cold the day before, was enough to vasovagal him. Moments later — you guessed it — Roger was occupying the family wheelchair.
With ice on his head and an oxygen mask on his face.
I started to laugh at how comical our calm date night had become. I didn’t know where to focus, how to be present for each of my downed comrades. I checked in first with Reed (still loopy, almost all stitched and bandaged), then with Tessa (over her own spell and now concerned about her dad), then with Roger (my dear sweet man, coming back to us and a bit mystified that this had happened).
I remained upright and eventually was able to drive us all home, starting with Reed’s wheelchair ride to the elevator.
Teen Girl had had a rough day, as often happens for teen girls in middle school.
At dinner, each of us — Dad, Mom, and Tween Brother — did our best to help her feel better from the trials of her day, but the meal ended with Teen Girl in tears, dramatically fleeing from the table in favor of a flounce on her bed.
After awhile I went up to simply abide with her. I laid facing her with my hand on her shoulder, saying nothing but breathing oh-so-slightly visibly, audibly — a human prompt. Dad soon joined us, positioning himself as an appropriate metaphor about family always having each other’s back. Dexter, never one to be left out of a group hug, hopped up on the bed, too, tail wagging and adding in his special kind of soothing influence.
A few moments later, Tween Brother came in, shattering our efforts to calm Teen Girl with his obnoxious iPod, which we all heard coming up the stairs. I started to shush and shoo him. Couldn’t he see we were in the Middle of Something and weren’t in the mood for blaring Bruno Mars?
Luckily I’m not super slow (only slightly slow), and in a flash it clicked that his iPod selection wasn’t random, and his presence with his iPod was anything but careless. Rather, it was full of care. Tween Brother joined our family pile and began singing to his sister in his endearing, off-key voice.