The scariest moment for anyone, parent or otherwise, I think comes when you realize that the situation you find yourself in has become an emergency and that you’ll have to dial those three dreaded digits, 9-1-1. That moment occurred for me yesterday for the very first time in my life.
It was around 10:30 in the morning. We had a showing scheduled for 11:15, and Matt and I feel its always best to be out of the house no later than 30 minutes before the showing is scheduled to start. By 10:30 we had shoo’d Cameron and Kaylee out of the house and into the car. Matt wasn’t far behind them, lugging the cat in his carrier. A few feet behind Matt was Brendan, and I was right behind him taking care of all the last little details and getting ready to shut the door behind us.
Matt had just reached the bottom of the two steps down into our garage when Brendan came to the top of the steps. He was focused on getting the cat into the car and missed what happened next, but as I was only a step or two behind Brendan I saw the entire thing. Brendan went to step down and somehow missed the step or tripped or something, and the next thing we know he’s falling face first into our garage freezer. He hits it with a hard thud which drew Matt’s attention and we both rushed to him to see how badly he was hurt.
At first, it didn’t seem too bad. He was alert, and there wasn’t blood gushing from anywhere. He said his hand was hurting, so Matt reached down to pick him up off the floor so we could get a better look at him. In that moment we knew this was not going to be our standard run of the mill minor injury. Matt only had Brendan about halfway to his feet before Brendan passed out and slumped back down to the floor. We both knew right away that this was far beyond our parental abilities to diagnose. We knew he needed a doctor, and we didn’t want to risk moving him and potentially injuring him further.
After that things began happening quickly. Cameron and Kaylee were safely buckled into the car and at least out of the way for the moment, though we knew that watching Brendan crumble to the floor had to be scary for them as well. In that moment Brendan needed us most and so we left them where they were. We knew we needed to call the paramedics to have Brendan looked at even as he started coming around and trying to sit up. We kept him still and I tried desperately to dial 9-1-1 on my phone but my hands were shaking and my mind was racing and I couldn’t remember how to unlock my phone and make the call.
When he realized I was a complete basket case, Matt took over and made the call himself. Truthfully, he was much calmer on the phone with the emergency crews than I would have been. And despite the fact that I was completely falling apart in the face of this emergency there were two things that I knew needed to be done and with Matt on the phone to the paramedics it was up to me to take care of them.
First I placed a phone call to my dad. My parents live less than a mile away from us and I wanted to get Cameron and Kaylee out of the situation as soon as I possibly could. Once my dad sorted through my hysterics he promised he’d come right up and pick up the kids. Next, I realized that time was ticking away and before we knew it strange people were going to be coming to the door wanting to look through our house. That was a stress I did not need at that moment. We needed to cancel the showing ASAP.
It’s moments like this when it’s actually very convenient that my real estate agent lives in the house next door to mine. While I had managed to place the phone call to my dad, I wasn’t 100% sure I would be successful in looking up my neighbors phone number. Besides I knew they had to be home because they had movers taking furniture out of their house as this was all going on. So I made the decision to run next door and talk to him in person.
Next came the most embarrassing part of the day for me at least, rather than knocking or anything else I just ran straight into the open front door and hollered for my neighbor. Lucky for me, he took my hysterics in stride got the showing cancelled and then came out to help us in any way he could.
By then the paramedics had arrived and my dad had been there and gone with the kids. Brendan was fully alert by then, and although he still complained that his hand hurt he seemed no worse for the wear. The paramedics said his vital signs all checked out and they didn’t think his hand was broken so they gave us the option to take him into the emergency room or to just schedule an appointment with our regular physician. They sounded confident enough that there wasn’t any major trauma that we agreed to take him to his doctor.
Everyone left, and I began to calm down. Brendan was up off the floor and walking shakily around the garage. Matt got him settled on the couch inside and got him some ice for his hand. Meanwhile, I had finally calmed down enough to be able to actually make a phone call on my cell phone again and called our pediatrician to set up an appointment. Generally it takes weeks to get an appointment in with our regular pediatrician and I was more concerned with getting Brendan seen than I was with seeing our regular doctor. I told them I wanted an appointment today and I didn’t really care which doctor it was with. By some miracle our normal pediatrician had an open appointment just a couple of hours later.
Leaving Matt caring for Brendan I left for my dad’s house to pick up the kids and reassure them that their brother was going to be okay. By the time I got to them they had calmed down considerably, and a few assurances that Brendan was at home resting comfortably on the couch were enough to get them over the last of their fears.
In a semi-amusing twist of fate the real estate agent coming to do the showing hadn’t gotten the cancellation message from her office before heading to our house and while I was off picking up the kids she and her clients showed up on our doorstep. Well we weren’t about to pack up Brendan and head out of the house so they could tour it, so they toured it with Matt and Brendan still there. Probably not the ideal situation, but at least things had calmed down enough that we didn’t really mind they were there.
Thankfully after that, things started to get better. Brendan, who up to that point had been looking pale and shaky still, managed to eat some lunch and perked up quite a bit after that. The doctor did a thorough physical and said that while Brendan did have a minor concussion from the fall, there were no other major injuries. To be on the safe side he did order a CT scan for Brendan and asked us to stay at the office until they could do the scan and get the results. That meant a total of 3 very long hours in the doctors office, but we left confident that Brendan was fine and would soon be on the mend.
As for his finger? Thankfully it was not broken, just painful from being jammed into the freezer when he put his hands out to break his fall. He’s got a nice purple bruise on the tip and under the nail, but otherwise he’s perfectly fine. The biggest injury he sustained through the entire ordeal was a big old bruise to his ego.
I’m thankful that we can put this entire situation behind us, and I’m extremely grateful to all those that helped us through the situation. To the paramedics who came to the house, to the friends and family that supported us and took care of the other kids, and mostly to my husband who kept a level head even as I fell apart.
Above all I hope never to need to make that dreaded phone call ever again.