Saturday, January 30, 2010

A ride no one ever wants to take

My eyes are puffy and stinging. I can feel a strain in my shoulders. My hair is tired and limp. Because today was a harrowing day.

Because today I had to call 000 for one of my children.

Miles and Ryan were playing on our front verandah. They had their trains, a pile of large rocks, and were creating a mini world for their cabooses to run through. They were being cranes themselves. But the rocks were heavy, too heavy for little boys.

Ryan screamed a scream I'd never heard before, nor want to hear again. I screamed a scream I'd never heard before either. I knew that it was a good sign that Ryan was crying, that he was responsive. I rushed him inside in my arms.

On the top of Ryan's head, on that sweet spot that smells so good when they're a baby, the place they call the 'soft spot' towards the forehead was a lump the size of his fist. And it was growing by the second.

After the crying slowed and the whimpering started, Ryan grew very groggy. His eyes lids were so heavy. I could see him trying to raise his forehead in the hope of keeping his eyes open. He became listless. He was looking through me.

I reached for the phone and dialled 000.

In the brief time we waited for the ambulance Ryan perked up again. He was sitting up on his own, chatting a bit. When the ambulance arrived he perked up even more. All kids love seeing ambulances, and even in his state, Ryan was no different. After a quick assessment the calm and lovely paramedics assured us that Ryan was okay. His eyes were responding to their little light, his pulse was on target, his temperature showing up fine.

'But to be on the safe side', they said, 'he should take a ride to the hospital.'

So I carried my little boy, cradled him to my chest, into the ambulance. My heart broke with every step that I took.

During the ride there Ryan worsened. He became groggy again. He fell asleep and his breathing slowed. I cried as the paramedic lowered an oxygen mask over his mouth.

If the paramedic was worried he didn't show it. He did however squeeze Ryan's bare foot every 30 seconds to make sure that Ryan was responsive. By the time we reached the hospital, Ryan was awake, and shooting nasty looks at the paramedic. No one likes being woken up when they're asleep, least of all by someone squeezing their foot.

The doctors reiterated what the paramedics had already said: Ryan was going to be okay. I didn't totally believe this for myself, thinking he could drop unconscious from bleeding in the brain. I thought they had missed something, that they were being complacent. Oh how your mind works when you're terrified your baby is going to slip away from you. It wasn't until Ryan was propped up on pillows in the massive hospital bed, drinking orange juice and watching Winnie the Pooh on my iphone did I let myself believe that he was going to okay.

He's home now. The doctors watched him for a few hours. By the time we left Ryan was doing fake hiccups and making the nurses laugh. He's tucked up in his cot sleeping soundly and deeply. I'm checking on him constantly, leaning in close, listening to his breath and making sure his chest rises and falls. I know he's fine, totally fine, but I'm still nervy. So checking on him more than I probably need to makes me feel a little bit better.

Maybe it's being overly dramatic, actually, I know it is, but today I really did feel how tenuous our grip on life is. And how tenuous my grip on my sons is. No matter how much I try to protect them, there will be some things that I cannot protect them from. Like an accident with a heavy rock.

I'm going to bed now. I'll check Ryan again (probably twice) before I go, and kiss Miles gently in his sleep. Tomorrow I will cuddle Ryan, give him panadol for the enormous headache he will undoubtedly have. Amba will move the rocks away from our front verandah. We will probably go to the beach and push memories of today far away. I'm still quite teary, but perhaps that is because of the overwhelming relief that everyone is okay.

* Meaghan


Philly January 31, 2010 at 12:29 PM  

Oh gosh how frightening for you Meagan!I'm glad he's okay though!

Angela Stewart January 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

Gosh Meaghan, I don't even know you and yet your eventful story had me wiping tears away. I too have had trips to A&E with my sons over the years (I have 4 boys...need I say more!), and it's always scary! I'm praying that Ryan is fine, and that you both have a wonderfully happy day today. Ange xo

(by the way, I LOVE your blog, and stalk it regularly!)

Anonymous January 31, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

Oh meaghan, what a terrible day for you all. glad to hear all is well. Harel xxx

Bianca January 31, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

Oh my god sweetie, I had tears running down my face reading that. The poor little chicken! I am so, so glad to hear he is well and all is fine. It must have been so hard.
Hugs to you and Ryan. xx

claire January 31, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

Holy crap!
I'm so glad he is ok, how terribly frightening :(
please tell me you have ambulance cover

Nicole February 1, 2010 at 6:00 PM  

How frightening, glad he is alright, and you are alright from the fright of it all. Sure would make your heart beat.

Becky February 2, 2010 at 5:17 AM  

So glad he's ok. Thinking of you xxx

Robb Duncan February 5, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

Wow Meaghan, I actually had a tear on my cheek reading this. wow.

Jen Stocks March 21, 2010 at 10:05 PM  

I cried reading this, and now I will go and give my kids a kiss in bed and give them extra cuddles tomorrow. I love how much you love your boys. I hope Ryan made a swift recovery. Poor baby.

Antipo Déesse July 10, 2010 at 5:12 AM  

Now that we are friends, and even though you already told us this story in person, I got chills from reading about it too! So glad the boys are fine. Mums take longer to get over that kind of fright! xxx


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