Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Scariest Thing

There is a saying that goes something like, 'you never appreciate your health until you don't have it.' Or, here's another way to look at it:  when you are healthy, you rarely think of your health, but when you're not, you can hardly think of anything else.

This is so true.  And my 4 year-old son's recent accident reminded me of that.  

We were visiting family out of state, and in the hustle and bustle that is getting a 4 year old and a toddler to and from the airport, sleeping in new situations, adjusting to time zone changes, etc., I took for granted the most basic luxury we had-- that our kids were healthy.  

One afternoon we were in a hurry getting ready to meet my sister and her kids to spend the afternoon at the pool.  The biggest worry on my mind was getting both kids fed, dressed, and in the car in a somewhat orderly, non-tantrumy fashion.  

I was in a bedroom for 2 minutes packing my own bag when I heard a scream.  I inhaled.  I hoped it was an overreaction.  My mom yelled my name.  I looked down at the bottom of the steep wood staircase to see her holding my 4 year old son, who was crying and looked beyond scared, while a gigantic lump was already forming and protruding from his smooth forehead.  My mom looked terrified.

(Not a bad rendition of my son's temporary new look.)

I had never seen what I now know is called a "goose egg" like that on a forehead before.  I took one look and thought it was a completely broken nose or cracked skull.  Within seconds, my mind pictured every catastrophe I could think of, and I almost passed out.  

My husband came back inside from packing up the car to find us all screaming and crying.  He held our son, and I asked if we should drive to the hospital or call an ambulance.  

My husband had seen this type of head injury before, so he didn't freak out as much as I did.  We hurried to a bedroom and iced my son's little forehead, despite having to pin his arms down so he wouldn't push away the cold ice.  I put on a Cars DVD so he would have something else to think about (it worked a little bit) and my husband and I hugged him close so he would feel safe.

I felt sick.  How could we have let this happen?  Would he ever be the same?  Did he have a concussion?  Was his nose broken?  What would we do, out of state, thousands of miles from home with an injured 4 year old?  

After a long time with the 3 of us resting on the bed, we all started to calm down.  I begin to feel incredibly grateful that a bad bump and a possible broken nose or loose tooth/teeth were likely the worst of his injury.  

For several nights, my husband and I had trouble sleeping.  We became very emotional about our son, who is far from easy, but far from replaceable.  We treasure him as much as parents possibly can.  

All this, and I know that some families have it so much harder-- children with chronic or terminal illnesses or debilitating injuries.  

My son had two black eyes and significant swelling for a long time after the accident; when we took him to the doctor she assured us there was nothing else we could be doing for his fall, that nothing looked broken.  There is nothing else we could have done...I guess...

Has anything shaken you to the core recently?  I'm not sure I will ever be quite the same after this one.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama
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