Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Quiet Night That Wasn't

I interrupt the chronological order of this blog to present to you a recent post lest the memories begin to go stale and the horror begins to be forever blocked out of my memory. Here we go.

Go to Canada! I said. It will be fun! I said. After much persuasion, Jeff agreed to embark on a week-long trip with his sister to Canada. Before long, the trip was right under our noses. Jeff began dreaming of fall leaves and evenings of watching baseball with his dad while I dreamed of macaroni and cheese for dinner and quiet evenings with the kids tucked peacefully in bed as I guiltlessly vegged in bed. all. night. long. every night for a solid week.

The first night went just as planned. It was a dream. The second night, I was even more motivated to stick to a strict, early bedtime because I had to plan my Sunday lesson AND still have time to veg, so I created a flawless schedule to ensure an evening of vegging success:

Movie: 5:15 - 7:00
Ice cream: 7:00 - 7:15
Get ready for bed: 7:15 - 7:25
Bedtime stories: 7:25 - 7:45
15 minute buffer: 7:45 - 8:00
*Kids successfully in bed and asleep by 8:00.*

Unfortunately, we didn't make it past 7:05 before my dream evening was tragically and slightly horrifically derailed.

You see, Eli had a fever on Saturday. When Eli gets tired, he gets REALLY tired. The boy needs his sleep. We had just finished up the movie and Eli slid up the stairs and into his bed to sleep off his fever and exhaustion.

Unfortunately (and you'll see just how unfortunately in a minute), we had an early dinner and Eli hadn't eaten anything since. I was convinced he would need a snack before bed or he'd be up at 6:00 the next morning starving. I wasn't having THAT happen on my shift alone, so I opted for putting myself in a position of optimal sleep success by filling the kids up with ice cream before bed so they'd have full bellies to go to bed early and then sleep in like a dream.

Carson and Lincoln were already digging in as I called up to Eli, "Ice cream for a bedtime snack!" Eli's my sweets man. He can usually sniff ice cream out before I even utter its name, so I was surprised he didn't come running immediately. I tried again, "Eli! Come get some ice cream!"

Wondering if he already fell asleep, I called one last time a little closer to the stairs, "Eli, do you want ice cream?" I heard the boom of him jumping out of his bed I had been expecting since the first call, but it was followed by a noise I was not expecting.

It was the I'm-seriously-injured scream.

It should be noted this scream has become increasingly used for any instance where blood is involved, including a paper cut, so I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get once he got to me. Then I heard him yell, "I'M BLEEEEEEEEDING!!!!"

Again, he's scraped his toe with the same results, so I was not expecting the gaping wound that finally greeted me as we met halfway on the stairs. Blood. Everywhere.

Just from the amount of blood, I knew we were in the big leagues. It was already smeared all over his hand, onto his cheek, and had dripped all over his pajamas, and the injury had just happened 10 seconds earlier. With a deep breath, a snuck a look at the source of bleeding and was reminded why I never wanted to be a medical professional.

Between whispers of, "Oh my gosh." on repeat, an unknown inner woman of strength, calmness, and clearheadedness overcame me. I surprised myself with how quickly and calmly I gave orders, loaded kids in the car, and swiftly had us on our way to get Eli looked at.

On our way out the door, I decided to take one last look at Eli's chin to decide if this was really going to be worth a trip to the ER. As I caught another peek, I definitely saw a gaping wound, and I was pretty sure I even saw some bone, so to the ER I frantically drove. Between emotional breaths, Eli tried to explain to me he had jumped off his bed and hit his chin on his desk on the way down, resulting in catastrophe.

Let's now take this moment to praise the heavens that everyone stayed alarmingly calm. Lincoln was stoked because he could sense bedtime was coming, but he was suddenly thrown in the car for a joy ride so he was happily shouting, "Go! Go!" The whole ride.

Carson was thrilled someone else was the injured one for a change and was happy to be a part of the excitement but not the reason for the excitement. He is also old enough to sense the severity of the issue, so he obediently listened to my requests and pleadings.

And Eli. I have GOT to hand it to Eli. He was such a champ. I was dying to scoop him up and carry him into the car, but I had my hands full of Lincoln, and bags, and shoes, so he calmly walked himself to the car, not even crying, and cooly held a paper towel up to his chin the whole time when I was wishing so bad I could be back there to offer him more help.

Let's take this moment to remember how Jeff is out of town.

Let's note my sister also happened to be out of town.

Let's remember how my parents are on a mission.

Let's remember how Jeff's parents are on a mission.

Let's consider I've never taken my kids to the ER AND Jeff never goes on trips by himself. Of course these two anomalies must occur at the same time and under such circumstances.

So there we were. I'm driving in a daze to the hospital while Eli's in the back tending to his own wound, Lincoln's on a joy ride and Carson's just scored the best bedtime delay of his life.

The whole way to the hospital I was having this great debate, "Is it really that bad? Do I take him to the hospital? Am I overreacting?" Here's the thing. I don't really take my kids to the doctor unless it's a well child exam. I feel like all the times I've gone to the doctor other than for a well child exam, I basically get told I'm overreacting.

So to go to the ER?!? I debated going to an instacare, but I wasn't sure where one was since we had just moved here, and I wasn't sure where the line is between instacare and ER. And there was NO way I was going to frantically hunt down an instacare, unload all the kids, only to be told they don't do stitches, or the wait is forever long, so we'd end up at the hospital anyway. I just went straight for the big guns because I KNEW they'd be able to deal with whatever we were dealing with. And then I was questioning it all the while because I didn't have the guts to get a really good look at Eli's chin, so I really had no idea the severity of the injury we were dealing with other than I was fairly certain it would need stitches.

As I'm debating where the heck to take Eli, while heading to the hospital by default, I go through the list of who I can call for some quick tips or reassurance:

My parents: I just got off the phone with them right before the incident and knew they were headed to a meeting.
Jeff: Called and he was out of service.
Sister: In California on vacation.
Jacob: In the middle of a move.
Abe: Out of the country.
Ben: Didn't think you'd have many tips for us, Ben.

I was STRANDED! Jeff got a hold of me right before I got to the hospital and him and his family agreed, just take him to the ER. So to the ER we went as I cringed, waiting for every doctor to tell me I was overreacting.

As soon as we went in, the front desk lady's eyes got wide and I got an immediate sense of urgency from her. That reassured me a little bit. Like, this lady sees everyone and we freaked her out, so I was starting to feel like we were at the right place after all.

They got us back pretty quickly, and a doctor was in right away to gauge the gash. Eli lifted his chin, I threw my head in the opposite direction and confessed, "I really haven't even been able to look at it too closely. Was it worth coming in for?"

He gave me a resounding yes as we settled into the room to get Eli taken care of.

Carson and Lincoln were so awesome for the first little bit, but it was getting later and later and they were getting a little more adventurous in the environment, so I scrambled to text some friends in the neighborhood to see if anyone could come grab them for me. All three people I texted responded right away, all of them announcing they were already on their way. They saw the text and sprung right into action. It was so nice to know I have people willing to help me out when I was feeling a little stranded by my usual support system.

Lincoln and Carson left with a neighbor just before it was time to start on Eli's stitches. I was so grateful I was able to spend the time with just Eli while he got his stitches because he was really nervous and I wouldn't have been able to help Eli very much with the other boys there.

The doctors were telling Eli a little bit about what they were going to do and trying to make friends with him. They asked him how high he could count. Eli thought for a minute and then said, "9 billion and 9." They all got a good laugh out of that.

They kept asking him questions, trying to distract him. I saw myself in him as he refused to fall for the distractions and instead insisted on focusing on the pain. At one point they asked him what he was going to be for Halloween. He wasn't answering so they said, "You don't know yet?" To which he said, "I do know. I just don't want to tell you right now." Everything I wished I had the guts to say to every nurse who's ever attempted distracting me with irrelevant personal questions.

They got him stitched up in a flash. Eli didn't cry. He didn't scream. He did a little whimper when they numbed him but other than that he was braver than I ever knew he could be. The doctors counted up his stitches as Eli's badge of honor and announced it took 9 stitches to fix him up. We all got another laugh about his 9 billion and 9 comment as it seemed like he had an eerie premonition of his fate.

As we were waiting to be discharged, Eli said, "I think I'm going to sleep in tomorrow." I said that's probably a good idea. At least the sleeping in part of my earlier schedule seemed to still be on track.

When Eli got home, he finally got that bowl of ice cream he had gotten 9 stitches for. The neighbor who watched my boys came to our house, put them to bed, and then began cleaning up the blood stains on the carpet. I hadn't even been upstairs, so I didn't know the extent of what it looked like up there after the incident. As she was leaving she said, "I started cleaning up the big blood stain in Eli's room."

"There was a big blood stain in his room?" I asked, because I didn't think he had even been up there long enough to gather that much blood since he came down pretty quickly after I heard him jump out of his bed.

"Yeah. And I cleaned it off the wall too."

"The WALL?!?" I questioned again.

"Yeah. There was quite a bit on the wall." She replied.

I felt so bad I sent her into a blood stained house, but so grateful she willingly and nonchalantly took care of it for me! She also cleaned up our hours-old ice cream that was left neglected on the table. My mom and sister decided she was of better assistance than they would have been because neither of them would have scrubbed the blood out of the carpet for me. Thank heavens for good neighbors to save the day!
We got home at 11:00. I laid in bed and suddenly felt all the emotions survival mode didn't let me feel through the previous 3 hours. I started shaking, I was in shock, Eli's split chin kept flashing through my mind, I was exhausted, I was starving, I had so many feelings I didn't realize my super human emergency mom powers were suppressing for me. I curled up in a ball on my bed and waited for the adrenalin to die down so I could finally get some of that rest I had spent the entire day anticipating. 

Rest finally came for all of us, and Eli's still handling his wound like a champ!