Modern Medicine, Parenting Gone Awry

The Goose Egg

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.

49 thoughts on “The Goose Egg

  1. My heart paused just a moment reading this– we had a very similar experience. I said to dear husband, there’s no way he can roll off the couch onto the hardwood floor! He can barely even roll.

    Ha Mommy–proving you wrong!!! I turned my back for 2.5 seconds to hear THUD. WAHHHHH!

    After frantic ER and pediatrician calls, we were assured of no problems. And since then, the now-a-toddler is doing much worse.

    But the memory of that sound will not ever leave me.

    Great post!

  2. When I was pregnant, a young mom told me that the Lamaze breathing isn’t REALLY for labor, but the many trips to the ER. I agree. Keep breathing. So glad his punkin’ head is okay!

  3. We’ve had sooo many goose eggs! I took my first child to the ER for every single one of them! He would get tiny pin-prick size bruises behind his ears every time.
    By my 3rd child my husband was over it and wouldn’t even take my child in when I thought he had broken his nose. While I was yelling at my husband for being a heartless cad of a father, my son had gotten up and gone off to play….. then, when my 4th child actually did break his nose, well I just called the pediatrician who laughed and said not to bother coming in unless the child had trouble breathing through it. Now that I have 7 kids, when my 14 yo skateboarded of the roof of the church, yes, he did that, and broke his tail bone, I didn’t bring him in and wouldn’t write him a note to get out of gym class. I don’t write notes for stupidity.
    thats the evolution of parenting. Its a rite of passage to go through the ER trips. For the bad parent of the year (well, of 1996) I caused my son to break his collar bone by not only letting him stand on a chair, but tickled him so he squirmed and fell right over.

  4. Oh you poor thing!! I’ve had a couple of those moments, and they are truly awful. It’s amazing though, how tough they really are. Despite all the mishaps, neither of my boys has ever even broken a bone, or required stitches.

    Hope Sean is feeling better. Did he get ice cream?

  5. A few weeks ago, my two year old fell off her brother’s top bunk and hit her head on the corner of the bottom bunk. This resulted in a HUGE goose egg on the back of her head. Because ours did happen at about 7AM, we just monitored her throughout the day and got to skip all the fun you just mentioned. However, three weeks later, she is still telling everyone she meets that her head is hurt because she fell off the top bunk. I feel like she could just wear a sign that says “I have a negligent mother.” That would serve the same purpose! Glad everything is okay!

  6. Well, first I think you’re going to have to send your 4th grader to school with a broken arm before you win the bad parent award! Just sayin.

  7. Oh – that’s horrifying. And I know the exact feeling. When he was NINE MONTHS old, my son threw himself out of a shopping cart because we had both neglected to strap him in (each thought the other had done the deed). And when he was 17 months, Harry fell down the stairs from his room because I forgot to lock the baby gate. Both times I felt like the worst mother in human history.

    I will be shocked if my son makes it to two at this rate.

  8. I think most every mommy has had incidents spawning those heart-stopping moments with the follow-up feelings of ‘bad mommy!’ We’re only human, after all.

    I’m so glad to hear he’s ok!

  9. You’re right…that thud is a thud that does not go away in a parent’s head. I loved the way you wrote about this and normally how you don’t prevail upon your neighbors for hex, CPA advice, etc. You’re clever…very clever.

  10. I believe each of my three children traveled from the couch to the floor as an infant–what an awful mommy I am!!!

    And I know the noise you are speaking of…I was chaperoning some little ones at a sledding activity once. While waiting for some boys outside their restroom (with a wet floor–to be expected when sledding), I heard that “thud” and just knew it was a head contacting the floor. Even thinking about it now is enough to make me sick to my stomach. Here’s to never hearing that noise again.

    And thank God for nurses, doctors, medical technicians, and etc. Glad I’m not one.

  11. I really think that if our children don’t cause us to need sedation and/or therapy at some point, we probably aren’t doing our job properly.

  12. Omigosh! Horrible. That you can make that story entertaining and humorous is really a talent, I tell you! I’m so glad everyone is okay.

  13. Glad to hear all is well! I have been in this same situation with my son and daughter. They look at me like I am crazy when I ask them things like their name, age, etc. FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. It’s amazing how hard their heads really can be!

    Rachel Langston

  14. We have somehow managed to avoid the ER even though my kids ride dirtbikes, and my youngest has been know to crash into a house, or find the only large rock, tree, or obstruction for miles around to fixate on and crash. However for the first three years of his life my son was known as “Dent” because he always had dents in his forhead from running into tables and doors. Poor kid needed glasses and we made fun of him.
    Glad to hear Sean is ok, soon mom and dad will be also.

  15. The only thing that keeps me from lining my kitchen floor with mattreses instead of tile is that they would be hard to clean. Seriously. The only thing. So glad that Sean is okay.

  16. Yeowza. By the time my middle child was two, I was seriously thinking of investing in a helmet for him – but now he’s five and MUCH less accident-prone. His head is like a big ol’ rock, too, luckily for him.

  17. We had a very similar experience 3 years ago with Drew. Only ours didn’t end as nicely. He did have a brain injury, fractured his skull in 2 places, endured several days in the hospital, and still deal with seizures and memory loss. 🙁

    I’m glad Sean was okay … and you’ll always have a story to tell.

    And the sound … yes, perfectly understand. I always say it sounds like a watermelon being dropped from a third story window onto concrete. AWFUL!

    Again, I’m soooo glad Sean is okay! 🙂

  18. You know, that same goose egg on the front of their head makes them look like a star trek alien.

  19. I’m so glad that everyone is OK, especially the parents! Yikes. I haven’t been in this situation. Yet. The girls never climbed, but the boy? He thinks he’s a monkey. I shudder to think what’s in store for us.

    I hope the wine cellar was stocked.

  20. Oh, just bless your heart is all I can say. . .except bwah-ha-ha about the neighbor who rides a broom and hangs upside down from her rafters needing to be paid for her services. . .way too funny.

  21. My brother’s son fell so often that he had a goose egg that just kept migrating around his head for about a year. They actually put the boy in a helmet for awhile.

    When they needed a new coffee table, they went furniture shopping and told the saleslady, “We want something in dark wood with rounded corners.”

    Of course, he’s fine now.

  22. Thank God he’s ok!

    This brought back memories of the time my infant firstborn had to get a chest X-ray for pneumonia. They used this medieval contraption in which they balanced him sitting on a thin plank, horseback-style, forced his arms over his head and closed a plexiglass tube around him to hold him and his arms in that position. They messed up and had to do it all 3 times while he screamed and screamed in the tube. I very helpfully cried inconsoleably and nearly hyperventilated while pacing the room.

    And then there was the time, on THE Sept. 11, when one of my toddlers cracked his head and, due to the distraction of that infamous day, didn’t realize that he had lost most of his speech (due to a mild concussion, of course) until a whole 2 days later!!

    See? We all have such stellar parenting moments…

  23. Bless your heart and bless Sean’s sweet little head. I can’t even imagine how terrified y’all were, though the time I flipped A. out of his infant carrier onto the hot pavement does provide a frame of reference.

    So, so glad he’s okay.

  24. I’m so sorry. I understand completely – no really – completely. When my oldest son was five months old he rolled off his changing table (I just turned around to get a diaper or something). He hit the hardwood floor with that same awful sound you so eloquently described. They decided to keep him in the hospital overnight. Talk about feeling awful. In those days there was no way they were letting mom or dad spend the night. We had to walk out of that room and leave him there. Awful!!
    However, he is now the father of five – so I think he’ll be all right.
    I’m so glad Sean is all right too.

  25. Would it console to you say that you’ll always worry like that? My son was a senior in college when we got a visit from the DPS trooper, at church no less. Looking for us to tell us our son was being airlifted to a Ft Worth hospital from Abilene and a serious car accident. I had a 5 hour drive to get to him all the way muttering and stammering for hubster to drive faster than the 150 mph he was already driving. All is well though. And you are right ….. THANK GOD. For angels for Sean, son and all the little souls everywhere that fall and go boom.

  26. I know that sound and my heart dropped AGAIN when you described it so perfectly. I’m glad Sean is fine. I hereby prescribe you and AD an entire bottle of red wine to be taken immediately. After Sean is in bed and asleep. Because, well, you know. Not great for when CPS comes by and the bottle rolls out the front door when you open it at 11am.

  27. Okay, so I could add my multiple kid-trauma stories to the collection, but I’ll spare you. I’m just happy you survived (oh, and Sean too of course).

    I do have to say that I loved the part about your neighbor with the broom. You sure do know how to tell a story.

  28. That really struck a chord! I add my tale of the night both my two month old and my seventeen month old fell within two minutes. I screamed for help from a nurse neighbour who pronounced both kids fine and looked after me. Wonderful description. Universal bad parent moment. For most of us it is only a moment. For a few, disaster and despair. My more laissez-faire generation tends to be bemused by to-day’s stringent safety measures, but at least they reduce the risks!

  29. I think it’s a miracle that any of our kids make it to adulthood at all, especially mine. Hang in there, AM! You’re a GREAT Mom! And thank God that little kids have thick skulls!

    Now if the ER just had tranquilizers for the poor moms!

  30. No life of parenthood is complete until you have at least one rush to the ER… Sorry to say this AM, but you’re parenting is completely normal.

    And a popsicle? That might be fine for Sean, but I need a whole pint of Baskin & Robbins Chocolate Fudge for such trips, not to mention the a nice red wine that follows shortly.

    And isn’t it wonderful when that “someone smarter than you” agrees that all is well? Ahhh, sanity restored – just a smidgen.

  31. I am not a mom, but had the same thing happen with the 7-year-old in my care (except subsituting a horse for the kitchen counter). I am so relieved to hear you also scooped him up without regard to neck or back injury. Afterward, I couldn’t believe I did that! Of course, there was the danger of a hoof coming down in her direction and I will use that as my excuse. So incredibly scary!! Thank goodness kids bounce!

  32. Oh, you poor thing! I’m glad to hear that everything turned out alright =) I guess sometimes things just happen – it doesn’t make you any less of a parent, though.

  33. Only you could write so hilariously about something so harrowing. Just when some of my hairs were starting to turn gray while reading this post, you made me laugh, and the hairs started to retreat to their normal color. Well, some of them.

    I’m so glad Sean is OK!!!

  34. AM, thank you for sharing your story. And the stories and support and encouragement from your readers are great!

  35. Been there…there is nothing worse than the ER. After two trips in a week with the kids and one with the dog.. it’s enough to make you crazy. The blessed thing is like you said, they are better on the drive home while it takes parents a little longer (o.k. a couple days) You can crawl around childproofing everything including the toilet and all it takes is 2 seconds to take your breath away. Glad your little guy is o.k.

  36. Does any child make it to adulthood without inflicting this kind of terror on its parents? My first suffered being dropped in a parking garage and then spilling hot coffee on himself – let me tell you about winning “mother of the year” on that one! He spent three days in the hospital with second degree burns! My second child falls all.the.time. Fortunately, she is of the hard-headed variety and her only ER visit so far is when we thought she might have appendicitis. It was gas. We thought it was funny, too, especially since that night was the worst snowstorm of the year.

    I’m glad everyone’s alright! Eventually the sick feeling in your stomach will go away, although you’ll probably always cringe a little.

  37. WOW! Definitely one of those “turn-in-your-mommy-license” moments.
    I am so glad everything is fine.
    Find out how much that neighbor who hangs from the rafters will charge to hex my North neighbor who turned me in to the city commissioners for not trimming my pine tree.

  38. My heart goes out to each of you! I have a budding climber and swing between the extremes of constantly telling him “no” and lightening up while living in fear. Guess parenthood is always some version of this. Thank God your little sunbeam’s ok. You’re a wonderful mommy.

  39. I’m there right now and your blog came up first in the search engine. Hardest thing is my hubby is in the ER with our 20 month old. I am on pins and needles waiting to hear from him. She landed on ceramic and has a huge goose egg on her head. She was standing up (on her own) after she fell so I assume she’s okay but I feel horrible that I’m not even with her (don’t drive, hubby does and we had to have someone watch our oldest). Sigh. I hope our results are as good as yours were but I may need therapy soon too. LOL! Ah, blogging about it may help but I feel to vulnerable right now. Why worry everyone when I don’t know the end result.

  40. I’ve been awarded “Mommy of the Month” this evening. My 5 year old daughter and I were playing in the spa. She wanted to do a flip, so I had her tuck her head and I rolled her under the water…she came out of the water in shock, then started crying and holding her forehead! I peeled her hands away to see a HUGE goose egg on her forehead. My husband grabbed her out of the spa to ice it… If I didn’t have my 1 year old with me also I would of flipped out!!! To Sean’s mommy, I too know the Sound that you are talking about!! It is resonating! To all the wonderful mommies, keep up the hard work.

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