Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Real Mommy

Well…what a weekend I had!

I had a playdate scheduled with my old friend Michelle so our boys could play together. We went to CALM (our local little tiny zoo). After seeing the animals, we headed toward the play equipment.

Michelle’s oldest daughter was exploring the creek with some other kids (more like a trickle of water) and her 2 year old was sort of sliding down a dirt hill. We were chuckling at her when we realized that Amanda had escaped from her stroller. She was giddily waddling at top speed across the grassy area near us, positively cracking up at her successful escape…she slid under the stroller bar. So I chased her down, giggling at her the whole while…and then…the cries.

I heard Cliff crying and didn’t really think much of it at first. A boy hit me, I fell down, I can’t do something…
Then I saw him. He was frozen there in the sand but for his terror-filled face. I said come here…hurry…run.
I could tell by the way he was carrying his arm with his other hand that something wasn’t right.

When he got to me, I took him in my arms and immediately felt his arm and it was obvious to my hands something was very wrong. My eyes finished the sentence. His forearm was bowed out very unnaturally about 1/3 of the way between his wrist and his elbow. I told him “oh honey, you broke your arm” and proceeded to try to calm and comfort him. He was in a lot of pain. Various by-standers and CALM employees came to our aid.

Michelle and I tossed ideas around about what to do…drive him…what to do with Amanda…call 911?...ride with him? What about Amanda? What about the stroller (for Amanda the terror)?

Then a flurry of details unfolded as I tried to console an increasingly shaken Cliff. He was starting to shiver and told me “I can’t take it, mommy”. Put heart back in chest. Call Henry. Henry isn’t home/answering cell. Call mom. Tell mom the story and that we’re dropping Amanda off at her house. Get a hold of Henry with a bad connection. I think Henry heard something like “(static)…Cliff…(static)…hospital”. Yeah, a phone call that I personally would have been so thrilled to receive. Continue consoling Cliff. Answer questions for CALM staff. Call 911. Talk to Henry and give him the whole story. Tell him I’ll call him back. Wait for fireman. Continue hashing out silly but necessary details with Michelle about how to do things. Ok Michelle, you wait here with the baby and Henry’s coming to get her. No…wait…let’s take her to my mom’s house and he can get here there. No, keep the baby. No, take the baby. No, sell the baby. Call Henry back and tell him to stay at the house, we’re coming to him. Please pack us a bag for the ER. Yeah he’s doing ok but he’s in pain. You want to talk to him. (Cliffy talks to daddy here). Ok love you bye.

So we got to the house, I peed, Cliffy got some ibuprofen, we transferred a now exhausted Amanda who was almost put up on Ebay to her crib, and got our bag of ER survival stuff and left.

Don’t get me started on my fear of ERs because of what I went through when Cliff was 2 days old. But we went to a different ER per the advice of the EMT at the scene.
*insert sighs of great relief here* There were humans visible who might actually speak to you. It was clean and not chaotic or full of tuberculosis patients. I filled out my paperwork.

Fast forward 5 hours.

Cliff is in conscious sedation so he won’t be in pain when the realign his broken arm. He has a fracture in his ulna and his radius. They gave him ketamine. Google it. Its some serious stuff. “They” (whoever they are) have used this stuff to induce near death experiences! Its used to euthanize animals. (Google ketamine NDE. I actually read several books about NDEs which I why I know they used ketamine). I wasn’t really nervous about them giving it to cliff because I knew it would be best for him and I trusted them. But it was creepy. And I’m kind of more creeped out in retrospect. This is not the equivalent of xanax they gave my baby.

The second it hit his bloodstream (which by the way, the “shot” was what he feared the most and he didn’t even feel the IV needle go in) he got the long vacant stare of death. He was like peering deep into the universe. The nurses warned me it would be creepy and I might want to leave. Actually they tried to make me leave and I wouldn’t. So when they were getting ready to administer the ketamine, they asked me again. I said I understood a little about it so I was OK.

Ketamine is a disassociative general anesthetic. It produces “conscious sedation”. He was awake but far far away. It was weird. His little eyes were darting all over the place. When they were done and all the doctors and I exchanged necessary information, I took my place by his side. His little eyes were still darting all over the place and couldn’t settle on me. He started to speak in very slow motion with no sound. Then slow motion with sound. That video of the kid after his dental appointment ain’t got nothing on my stoned baby boy. Then very very slowly (much more slowly than the doctor said it would be to come out of it) he emerged from his experience. He asked when his “real mommy” would be there, and asked why he was a puppet. He repeatedly asked about the real mommy and commented on himself not being real. I assured him I was his real mommy and everything was OK and this was all normal from the medicine.

When he was lucid enough to realize much of anything, he realized he did NOT like this experience and became a little agitated. I knew how he was feeling and I felt bad for him. It took a long time for him to come out completely.

When he could form logical sentences the doctor and I leaned over our respective sides of his bed and talked to him. The doctor asked him “what did you see?”
“I saw animals…coyotes and bears”
“Oh yeah, what else?”
“I went to glove world. And they gave me glove candy. And there was a roller coaster train with a coyote head at the front”
“Oh, was it fun?”
“yeaaaah. No! no. am I real? Am I in the real world?”
And so it goes.
Then the doctor left and he expressed his anger that this had happened, then he cried and apologized to me, to which I said “don’t be silly, it was an accident” etc and hugged him as much as he would let me.

Then I said “do you want to say a bad word?”
“ok, go for it”
“wow, you went for the big guns, ay. Ok, you earned that one. ”
We smiled.

Then after about 30 more minutes I gave him a chocolate chip cookie against the advice of the nurse (he hadn’t eaten all day!) and he asked very angrily “When are we going to get out of here??!” and pounded on the bed. We finally got home about 10pm and he had some pizza, and a sponge bath and crashed. On Sunday, my hyper little boy actually took a nap of his own free will with is Papa. (Papa is a nap expert, I told Cliff, so he was in good hands.)

That was Saturday. Today is Tuesday. I think. I am very tired. Usually when things happen I hold it together quite well and about 3 days later I melt down. So I’m right on time. And so is my period. That’s a nice addition to the post-traumatic hysteria.

He gets a permanent cast in about a week. He’s kind of depressed and keeps saying “I wish someone else had broken their arm. Stupid! Stupid arm!”
I totally agree, baby boy.

I told Henry just now I didn’t know what was for dinner. I’ve been crying all day. He said OK. I said “personally, I’d like a coma”. He chuckled.

I’m not even hungry, that’s how exhausted I am. I haven’t been hungry in 3 days.
What day is this?
Are we in glove world?


  1. oh I'm so sorry, kel. I'm constantly praying that when my kids get the first broken bone (notice I said first b/c I have 2 boys and know it is bound to happen!) "the real daddy" will be there instead of me. I know I was a sports med major and went to nursing school (except that last stinkin' semester when I had my first baby!) but to see your own child hurt is so wrong! I'm way impressed that you even remembered you had Amanda with you. I probably would've forgotten! Poor Cliff! Poor Kel! Poor Michelle! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you have my maximum level of sympathy. And you are my hero because you are super mom! You deserve a big fat Rosemary's sundae or maybe some Smith's baked goods (cream cheese danish, mmmm) when you get your appetite back. hang in there, girl! :)

  2. Oh, actually I DID have rosemary's yesterday with Cliffy after his ortho appointment. I managed to choke that down LOL. thx Aim!

  3. Hey Kelly!! Wow!! You are amazing. You handled everything so well. The fact that you could recount it in such detail makes me think you have been playing the whole thing over in slow motion in your brain for a while. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. It is so hard to see your kids hurt. Our neighbor threw a shovel over the fence and it landed point down in Kayci's skull. The blood was everywhere...I was actually confused and walked around my kitchen holding my bleeding girl for awhile before I got it together. Then I went and shot my neighbor and took Kayci to the hospital. The police still can't prove it was me...I'm sure they aren't trying too hard. I was completely justified. Hang in there friend!!

  4. yer kid knows the f word? WTF?

  5. I was waiting for the comment about the f-word. LOL
    yes he knows the f-word. a) he lives with me and his father b) he's been in a preschool environment since he was born c)he never says it except situations like this.

    Bonnie Hunt, the actress, told a story on her show once about how her mom (they had umteen kids and it was the wholesome midwest) would shut all the doors and windows every so often and let all the kids fly with every dirty word they could think of. She's let it go for about an hour and then the kids had no reason to use potty language any other time.

    My mom was always really great about not censoring me. I never got too out of hand but it allowed me to express myself without judgement.

    Under the circumstances, it felt like a closed-window moment was in order.

  6. I can't believe you say those words in front of your kid!? Hahahahahahhaha. Joking, joking. I love the coyote train! It reminds me of how he wanted a reindeer bike! He'll probably be an artist who is known for miss-matching bodies and heads, with an ethereal use of glove images!

  7. I totally forgot about the reindeer bike! you're probably right. I can imagine his pop-art paintings now...hmmmm...
    that's funny.
    coyote train and reindeer bike. LOL