Before I started this parenting gig a little under three years ago, I felt I had some idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I have two siblings eight and ten years younger than me so I had spent a considerable amount of my growing up years looking after them. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in social work, particularly in the area of child development, and I have spent a number of years of my working career in child protective roles. Therefore, you would think that I would have had some idea what might be ahead. I am trained as a lifeguard, poolside and waterfront (a more specialised training). I was also lucky enough to spend one of my summers employed as a Special Constable with the RCMP. With both jobs I performed First Aid and CPR on a regular basis. Therefore, I thought I was fairly prepared to deal with the usual cuts and scrapes of a child’s life.
I knew becoming a parent would be hard. I just had no idea just how hard. I knew I would need to be patient. I didn’t realise that I would need a patience creating factory pumping out the jam all day long, every day. I knew that we would have some good and some bad days. I didn’t realise that the bad days would be like working with a boss who, if he were a paying boss, would have received my resignation, had a good speaking to about poor treatment of his employees and, oh yeah, hand over that danger pay cheque.
I also had no idea of the feelings of sheer panic and helplessness that would overwhelm me when one of my children is very, very sick or hurt.
Last Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take the boys shoe shopping. Seems an innocent enough plan, eh? Aidan is walking everywhere and needs the protective soles that shoes offer. Iain desperately needs sandals to go with the walking shoes he and his father picked out a few weeks ago. In the process of having the boys measured, I took Aidan out of the stroller. He is amazingly stable for his age and, if he loses his balance, he quickly regains it. One of the ways he does so is by leaning forward onto his hands and then pushing his way back up to standing. At the shoe store that day, he did the same thing but hit his head in the process. He started crying and it wasn’t until I picked him up to comfort him that I realised he had not hit his head. He had driven one of the end hooks of the metal brackets that hold shelves up into his head. All of sudden, there was blood everywhere and I was on my knees in a complete panic. Iain, oblivious, was jumping and running around and generally doing what any almost three year old will do in an interesting place – getting into everything.
Luckily for me, the sales person was a mother of two now adult boys. She administered first aid and talked me through the experience. I called my good buddy, L, whose house is on the way to the hospital and she and her family took Iain for me. Aidan turned out to be fine with mostly a superficial cut, only part of it requiring some glue (they don’t use stitches anymore on that type of wound and for that age bracket. Thank goodness!). He cried over the whole event – including during attaining the injury - for about two minutes and I lost at least 15 years off my life.
When I got home and the drama and adrenaline had faded, I contacted DH in Rome (aren’t they always away at such times?) to discuss what had happened and made some kind of comment that perhaps that was just the first of many trips to the hospital for Aidan as that experience had already scared me more physical health wise than his older brother ever has. Breaking the seal, so to speak.
Fast forward to Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Aidan woke me up around 1:00 AM very agitated and struggling for breath. I got up and managed to calm him down but had enough sense to know that I would need some help and woke up DH. I called the NL Health Line who advised that I needed to get Aidan to the hospital and, should his breathing worsen, call 911. In the meantime, have Daddy steam him in the bathroom while I was getting ready to go to the hospital.
Well, I don’t know if it was the steam or just that he fully woke up but when I heard DH call out to me in an extremely worried voice and I opened the bathroom door, Aidan was blue and panicking. Last night was the first time I have ever called 911 (and I hope it’s the last). The firefighters arrived first and were excellent with both kids (as, naturally, Iain was upset by all the commotion and woke up) and us. Aidan had calmed down by then and was quite interested in that oxygen mask they gave him. The paramedics arrived shortly after and were also really good. Aidan and I rode together in the ambulance to the hospital with DH and Iain following.
It turns out that Aidan has croup and we were given a list of suggestions for dealing with that over the next couple of nights. Aidan slept peacefully in the back of the van while DH, Iain and I pulled into an open McDonald’s and pigged out on fast food at 4:00 AM. Iain was in the backseat jumping around (as much as a car seat will allow) yelling ‘I want a cheeseburger!’ when we hit the drive thru.
DH found this post difficult to read (I had him preview it before I posted it as this one hits close to home for us) as the events described just happened. I needed to write it out and thank the blogosphere for giving me a venue in which to share it.
And, seeing as this was a rather alarming post, here is a little something to lighten your day/weekend at the end of it: