Posts tagged fears

My scare of the week

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We had a scare with baby John the other day. I had him strapped into his bouncy and needed to tell Paul something. I walked from the living room, through the kitchen, and out onto the back deck. I wasn’t away from the baby for more than a minute when Nathan came running to the back door. Nathan didn’t even need to say anything; he opened the sliding glass door and the look of panic on his face said it all. We could hear the baby screaming through the open door, so I ran inside and Nathan kept crying that he was so sorry.

I darted into the living room and could hear the screaming. I saw the bouncy was unbuckled but John wasn’t in it! In my panic, I yelled to Paul that I couldn’t find him. And then I saw him on the other side of the cofee table, laying on his back, screaming while he flailed his little arms and legs in the air. I quickly scooped him up and brought him to my chest. He didn’t have a mark on him. No red marks, no bruises, nothing. Thankfully!

So here’s basically what happened: Since the baby was a little fussy, Nathan wanted to help him feel better. He’s seen me and Paul move John from the bouncy to the Bumbo seat, so Nathan thought he would do the same thing. Only before Nathan could get the baby to the Bumbo seat, John slowly slipped out of his arms and landed on his bottom. Then he fell backwards and his head hit the floor. Not hard enough to cause damage (thank God) but enough to piss him off and make him cry.

Nathan didn’t get into any trouble for this. Not only because did he not do this out of maliciousness, but he did the BEST thing by IMMEDIATELY coming to tell us. He didn’t shut down. He didn’t ingore the baby or try to cover up what he did. He didn’t try to quiet the baby to keep from gettting into trouble. He immediately ran to get me and Paul. The panic he felt at possibly hurting his brother completely overrode any fear of getting into trouble himself.

That’s HUGE.

Nathan’s only four, and that’s HUGE. This shows me that Nathan has empathy and places other’s needs above his own.

So Paul took Nathan into his room, sat him down, and explained why he can never, ever pick up the baby unless Mommy and Daddy are there to help. Nathan bawled his little eyes out and then came into the living room to hug his brother and tell him how sorry he was. It took me a while for my legs to quit shaking and for the blood to travel back to my head. That scared me half to death. Hearing my baby cry, not seeing him, and imagining something awful like a broken bone or blood everywhere.

This all happened a few days ago, and Nathan still talks about how he’s sorry he dropped his baby brother. He’s trying to make up for it by giving John lots of love. He’s even been carrying John to bed- with my help, of course. I walk behind Nathan with my hands under John’s arms while Nathan holds the baby close to his chest.

I’m sure that in the forseeable future, there will be many more episodes of one of the boys getting hurt by the other. The life of brothers!

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Car woes

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Well. My car’s done. I was driving on the Interstate near Knoxville when my oil light started flickering. Since it was just flickering, my dumb ass thought I would be able to make it home so I could put more oil in it there. But then, my car started making a clicking noise and then the oil light came on and stayed on. I was on the phone with my brother who told me to pull over immediately. I didn’t want to pull over on the shoulder of the Interstate; I wanted to make it to the next exit. However, right at that time, I heard a bunch of clanking noises coming from under the hood and noticed a bad smell right as my engine shut off as I was still driving. I immediately put my car in neutral and since I wasn’t in the far left lane and I wasn’t speeding, I was able to coast over to the shoulder without getting hit.

Have you ever pulled onto the shoulder of a busy Interstate? It’s nerve-wracking! People were flying past me, and my car rocked and swayed with each passing vehicle. I told my brother I was feeling really uncomfortable, so he looked up the number for TDoT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) so I could call them to see if they could at least park a truck behind me. As I was on the phone with him, I was nearly hit by two separate idiots. Both vehicles crossed over the white line and the rumble strip and missed me by inches. Let me tell you, my heart dropped into my stomach because I could see them coming right at me in my rear view mirror, and I had John in the car with me.

Right after that, after I had only been sitting there a couple of minutes and before I had a chance to call, a TDoT truck pulled up behind me. I was so thankful because he used his truck to push my car to a safer area where I was less likely to be hit. I called my husband who came down to help until the tow truck arrived. Once we got my car home, Paul checked out my car and said that it looked like the valve cover gasket blew and there was oil on my spark plugs. And my engine is definitely locked up; it wouldn’t budge when he tried to manually turn it over.

So it looks like I’m going to have to get another car. Which would have been great had it been a couple years from now. Bad timing right now with a new baby and a new house, but such is life, right? At least we don’t live out in the middle of nowhere any more. And maybe in a few months, I’ll find a nice little car that’s not expensive. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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Oh my poor little man

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So it’s been a while since my last post. A lot has been going on here! The biggest news of all is that Nathan had another emergency room visit over the weekend.

I had just finished working out and was meeting Nathan and Paul at a nearby restaurant. I arrived first, so I got a table and waited for them to get there. Although I was sitting near the middle of the restaurant, I could still see them through one of the windows when they got there. I watched as Paul and Nathan got out of the car and started to head towards the door, and then saw Paul turn back towards the car to get something. When Nathan turned to follow him, he stumbled and fell. I couldn’t see exactly what happened, but I saw Paul swoop Nathan up and carry him back to the car. I just figured the little guy skinned his knee. And then I saw a woman quickly walk over to them with a roll of paper towels. Worried, I picked up my phone and started to text Paul to see if everything was okay when he called me and told me it was bad and that I needed to get out there. I quickly snatched up my things and briskly trotted out to the parking lot.

Then I saw a mound of bloody paper towels on the trunk of Paul’s car.

“Is he okay?” I asked the woman who was standing there. She gave me a sad smile and may have patted my arm. I can’t remember- I had tunnel vision and my entire focus was on my child. I ran around the side of the car and saw blood pouring like a faucet out of Nathan’s mouth.

“He fell and knocked his two front teeth loose,” Paul said as I knelt in front of my wailing child. With shaking hands, I raised Nathan’s upper lip and could see strands of skin hanging down from his mouth. His teeth were severely loose and blood was pouring from his gums and lips where he had nearly bitten through them. As you all probably know, mouth wounds bleed a lot. There was so much blood, however, that it was hard to see exacly what was going on. We went through so many paper towels trying to wipe up all the blood. After about half an hour, we were able to stop the bleeding enough to get him to the emergency room.

Nathan, being the spirited little boy that he is, was quite angry with the doctor checking his teeth. He screamed and kicked and sounded exacly like a wounded mountain lion. It was heartbreaking. Fortunately, the doctor was very understanding and patient and dealt gently with Nathan. He said that Nathan’s front two teeth were loose and his gums were angry and swollen, but he didn’t hit his head or have a concussion so he should be okay. He said to follow up with his dentist within the next few days so they can see exactly what kind of damage had been done. When he was finished, he hunted down a grape popsicle for the little guy, who tearfully slurped it up.

A nurse then came in who seemed very bitter and was apparently unfamiliar with children. She declared she needed to get his vitals (temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. *insert dry laughter.*)

“Well, we can’t take his temperature when he’s eating a popsicle,” she said with unmasked irritation as she eyed Nathan sadly slurping the icy deliciousness. No kidding, Ms. Smarty Pants. Then she tried to put his finger in a device that would read his pulse, but you’d think a viper was hanging onto Nathan’s finger the way he screamed about it. She kept telling him to sit still… seriously woman. HE’S ONLY THREE AND HE’S IN PAIN. And then? Then she tried to take his blood pressure. THAT was an EPIC FAIL. He kicked and writhed and screamed and frantically tried to get the cuff off his arm while screaming that it hurt. He knocked the wires loose, aggravating Ms. Meanie even more. She said he needed to sit still and calm down or she wouldn’t be able to get a reading.

I may have laughed a little loudly.

Of course, she couldn’t get a reading for his blood pressure because he was way too upset. “Well,” she huffed. “It won’t read because he won’t calm down.” No shit, Sherlock. She pretty much yanked the cuff off his arm, irritation oozing from her pores so thickly it was almost tangible. Apparently, this woman had never been in the same room with a child before. I think she should find a different job.

At any rate, after all that, we were finally able to head home. Nathan’s upper lip was so swollen from the impact that he looked like a pitiful little duckling. His gums were a vicious purple color, and the abrasions on his upper and lower lips were bright red. Poor kid looked like he had been through the mill. We stopped at a nearby ice cream parlor and let him eat his fill of chocolate ice cream, which lifted his little spirits somewhat.

After all that, next on the agenda was getting him to a dentist. That’s another post in and of itself, so I’ll write about that next time.

In the meantime, keep the little man in your prayers.

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I hope I never have another week like this one…

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This past week was stressful.

Nathan has his first visit to the Emergency Room on Wednesday. We were at the park, having a good ole time together. We were the only ones there. We had initially met one of my friends and her kids, but after they left, I decided to let Nathan stay a bit longer. Then, a couple of men appeared from nowhere and walked around the play area, staring at us the whole time. Then they stood off to the side and talked to each other for a few minutes while continuing to stare at me and Nathan. They started walking back towards the play area, making me nervous… they were in their early-to-mid twenties and had no business hanging out at a playground without having kids there themselves. They sauntered over to the swings and proceeded to swing while still watching us.

I grabbed ahold of Nathan’s hand and told him that it was time to go. I’m not a paranoid person, but I started thinking that if I screamed, it would take the nearest person at least 30 seconds to run to us… that is, if anyone even bothered to help. I had tunnel vision- I was focused on getting us out of there so I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been to Nathan, therefore I was unable to anticipate what he did next.

When he saw we were walking back towards his stroller, he had a temper tantrum and collapsed into an angry little crying heap on the ground. Since I had a firm grip on his hand, it dislocated his elbow. I realized something was wrong when Nathan started crying in pain, grabbing his forearm with his right hand, and pinching his skin.

“Hurt! Scared, Mommy!” he wailed as he cradled his injured arm.

When I saw what I had done, I got sick to my stomach and almost threw up on myself. Fortunately, the hospital was just a couple blocks away, so we made a trip to the ER. The doctor was very nice and empathetic, and said that what happened is actually quite common and is called Nursemaid’s Elbow.  He was able to quickly maneuver the elbow back into place.

When the doctor told Nathan it was all done and okay to use his arm now, Nathan refused to believe him. He walked to the door and jiggled the door handle.

“Wanna go bye bye! Go home? Pweese? Home?” he cried as tears trickled down his cheeks.

“Not yet, little man. I need you to give me a high five so I can see that you move your arm,” replied the doctor.

“NO! HOME!” Nathan wailed pitifully.

“Come here, Nathan,” I said. As I gathered the boy up in my arms I said, “I’m going to kiss your elbow, and when I do, it’s going to be all better ok? No more hurt.” And I kissed his little arm up and down. When I was done, Nathan stopped crying, raised his arm to his face, and gave me a big tear-filled smile.

“All better, Mommy! Thanks!” he said happily.

Sometimes they just need Mommy’s kiss, huh?

Well, the story doesn’t end there, unfortunately. A couple days later, on Friday, we went to a Mommy Lunch. It’s hosted once or twice a month by a local hospital for moms (and dads too!). It’s free, and it lasts for about an hour. They have toys set out and volunteers there to watch the kids so the moms can enjoy a meal while the kids play. It was raining that day, so when it was time to leave, I held my purse, diaper bag (each weighing approximately as much as a Sumo Wrestler), and a giant umbrella with my left arm. I held on to Nathan with my right hand.

I wasn’t thinking.

And of course, in the parking lot, what did Nathan do?

He LUNGED away from me. While I was holding his hand. In the rain. With cars around.

So his elbow was dislocated a SECOND time in just two days.

Panicking, I picked him up and raced back inside. The lady who runs the mommy group is a nurse, so I went straight to her, told her what happened, and asked her if she could fix it. By this time, I was sobbing. I could not believe this happened to my child AGAIN… TWICE. She said that yes, she knew how to fix it, but she wasn’t legally allowed to so I would have to take him to the ER again.

Which would have been fine. But our insurance copay for emergency room visits is $100. We aren’t poor by any means, but we are a family of three living off of one income, a total of $200 for two ER visits is a lot of money to fork out unexpectedly in a span of just two days. So I relayed my concern to the nurse, and she is actually close friends with Nathan’s pediatrician.  A $25 copay for an office visit is much more manageable than $100. Unfortunately, she could not get ahold of him on his cell, so she tried calling the office. They said they preferred I take him to the ER. When she told them about the steep copay, they said they could look at him if we stopped first and got him x-rayed. That was so unneccessary… his arm was not fractured or broken. There was no swelling, no discoloration, and Nathan was running around the room playing.  He was not in nearly as much pain as he was when it happened at the park. I was waaaaay more upset by his dislocated elbow than he was.

So anyway, after the pediatrician’s office said that, I said I would call my husband and see what he wanted to do. I hated bothering him at work, and I knew he would be aggravated with me for holding onto the same arm that Nathan dislocated just two days prior. I feel so horrible for repeating the same mistake again. I’m supposed to protect my child from harm, not cause it.

Paul wanted to come by and see how it looked (since he was nearby anyway, finishing up his lunch break) and then we would figure out what to do from there. When he arrived, he took one look at Nathan’s elbow and said that we definitely needed to go to the ER. It wasn’t distorted or anything, but it was limp and it hurt Nathan to move it. Paul didn’t want to try to move the arm around and said it was best to let a doctor do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry…

SO. Back to the ER. We were taken into the triage room after only 5 or 10 minutes, ahead of the other people that were there. Once we were in the triage room (they recognized us since we were just there), a Physician’s Assistant came in, reset Nathan’s elbow in less than a second, and we were ready to go. He also showed me how to do it myself since this keeps occurring. As we were waiting on the paperwork, I talked to the triage nurse about what happened. I was a sobbing mess; I felt absolutely horrible for allowing this to happen again. She told me that yes, I was holding the same arm, but had I been holding the other arm, the it could have happened to the other arm. She said that some kids are just inherently more prone to it because of soft, growing ligaments and that it’s not something I should beat myself up over because it’s a fact-of-life; it happens. Some kids, she said, have been in the ER 10-15 times for it. It’s quite common and it’s something they see all the time. She also said it’s even more common in strong-willed children (like Nathan) because they try even harder to get away from their parents. Regardless, I still felt horrible.

So once the paperwork came, she sent me to checkout. And get this… they didn’t charge a copay!! Can you believe it? I even specifically asked if there was one, just to be sure, and they said no.

Wow. What a relief.

So I’ve come up with a plan to hopefully prevent this from ever happening again. Nathan has a little monkey harness. It’s like a tiny back-pack that straps around his chest, and it has a really long tail that the parent can hold on to. I haven’t used it yet because, I didn’t know this until I became a mommy, they are “controversial.” Some people are busybodies, and they opine that putting a child on a harness akin to treating them like an animal. They bloviate about how parents should teach their children not to run away from them, and how parents need to parent, and how “leashes” (as they love to call them) are the lazy way out.

Well, these people apparently have never had an abnormally strong-willed, exceptionally determined child with a habit of attempting to wrench himself away from the parent with such force that his elbow becomes dislocated. So their opinions about how I choose to keep my child safe are irrelevant to me. If anyone has the audacity to reprimand me for choosing not to risk another dislocated elbow, I will politely inform them them that this is my choice to keep my child safe due to being in the ER twice for a dislocated elbow. I am not going to be leading him around like a puppy. I will have him hold my hand and the harness will be a backup, that way if he lets go of my hand, there is no danger of him running into traffic, etc.

I’m so glad this week is over. It was emotionally exhausting. Nathan is perfectly fine now, though. After they reset it, any pain he had completely disappeared. There is no lingering pain, and he immediately regained full use of his arm again. He’s back to being his typical little self. I was more traumatized by the two ordeals than my child was. I hope it never, ever happens again. It’s such a nauseating, disheartening feeling to cause your child pain.

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