Not too long ago, we returned from a quick weekend trip to Tuna. In the previous day and a half, there had been a dust storm, a sewage back up and we lost Sean’s beloved Mr.Monkey. Admittedly, when we got home Sunday night, we were tired and not at the top of our parenting game.
We hadn’t been home but 30 minutes when Sean did a back drop off our 36-inch kitchen counter onto the porcelain tile floor. He had been sitting on the kitchen counter on his knees drawing a picture while Antique Daddy and I milled around the kitchen eating leftovers, unpacking, going through the mail and just generally being lazy, inattentive, irresponsible and negligent parents. At one point, I noticed that Sean had scooted close to the edge of the counter, so I warned him that he was precariously close to the edge and that he should move forward.
A split second later I heard the most horrible sound I have ever heard. It sounded like someone had dropped a pumpkin from the ceiling. It was a sound that is beyond description, a sound that human ears are unable to fully absorb. Even when I think of it more than a week later, it makes me cringe and shudder. I don’t ever want to hear that sound again.
It happened within twelve inches of where I was standing. I did not see it. When I heard that awful noise, I turned to see my child squarely on his back on the floor, his hands up around his ears, quivering in pain, his face twisted in anguish, tears the size of lemon drops. Antique Daddy saw it happen, but could not act quickly enough to prevent it — the perfect recipe for a recurring nightmare. “My head, my head,” he wailed. And in that moment, our greatest fear came to pass, the fear of parents everywhere of every generation since Adam and Eve – that we would allow harm to come to our child.
He immediately screamed and cried. From Shannon’s recent post, I knew that was a good sign, but that if he passed out or vomited, then that was bad. Instinctively, I picked him up and held him tight and tried to comfort him. Then I realized that I had probably made my second mistake of the evening (or was it my third or fourth?) If he had a spinal injury, I shouldn’t have moved him. Thankfully, he seemed to be able to move okay, so that left the issue of a head injury. And had it been 7am and not 7pm, I would have probably just waited and watched him. But I couldn’t think of putting him to bed not knowing if maybe his brain were swelling.
We scooped him up and rushed over to see a neighbor who is an orthopedic surgeon. Luckily he was at home and he checked him over. He said that he seemed to be okay, but he suggested that we go ahead and take him into the ER for a CAT scan and then he graciously called ahead to make those arrangements.
Now I should say here that normally I don’t prevail upon my neighbors for free professional advice, a practice I find deplorable. For example one of our neighbors is a CPA and we don’t knock on his door for tax advice and we have another neighbor who drives a broom and hangs upside down in her house by the rafters and we don’t ask her to put a hex on our other neighbor who has only mowed his lawn three times in five years. Because that just isn’t right. These people deserve to be paid for their services.
Yet, when you perceive that the well being of your child is in danger, all bets are off.
On the way to the hospital, he was able to recite his ABC’s, sing a few familiar songs, and work some simple quadratic equations, which made me feel better about the situation. Although I was 99% sure he was fine, Antique Daddy and I agreed that no one would sleep until someone smarter that us said he was fine.
The second trauma of the evening came when we were taken to radiology for the CAT scan. The CAT scan is a very quick, very simple, painless, non-threatening procedure. Unless you are a three-year-old. Then it is terrifying.
Basically, the patient lies on a little bed and they move the bed forward a few inches so that your head rests inside a large metal doughnut. It is open, and airy and breezy. And why do I sound like I’m trying to sell you a house? I don’t know. In spite of the great sales job the tech did, Sean was going to have no part of it. After 30 minutes or so of soothing, cajoling, bribing and threatening,
we they, meaning the technician, a nurse and Antique Daddy (I was cowering and watching in the other room through the window) had to straight jacket him and strap him down. It took three adults to restrain one 28-pound toddler. It just had to be done. There was no other way short of sedation. And if anyone was getting sedated, it was going to be me. And so. For the second time in one day, we felt like the crappiest parents on the face of the earth in the history of the universe.
The scan confirmed what I suspected and prayed for – that indeed he had inherited my super hard head and that he had ridden the fall to the floor on the wings of angels. There was no swelling or injury to the head and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God. No really – Thank You God! And then we all celebrated as we always do when we don’t have a head injury — with a popsicle, just as the nurse promised.
So other than a giant goose egg on the back of his head, he is fine. Antique Daddy and I need therapy. But Sean? He is just fine.