I realized, as I typed that title, I’m not doing a bang up job in the department of selling the big family lifestyle. It’s really more like, “jump off the train while there’s still time, y’all!”
Oh for the love. It’s just been a barrel of monkeys around here. Let’s start with Mr. Head Laceration.
What began as a beautiful evening of altar serving for the first time together as brothers, ended oh-so-badly. I mean, yes, it had the potential to be way worse. But wow. We did this one right. After Mass, we quickly changed clothes at home and then headed to our friend’s house for what we expected to be a lovely dinner, complete with French accents and great conversation. It’s pretty grand having friends who are true Frenchies. I had no sooner said, “Yes, Benoit, I’d love some ice cream,” when I heard, “Mom. MOM! MOOOOOOM!!!!”
I turned to see a ridiculous amount of blood and my ten-year-old, aka Mr. ER, walking toward me crying. He was covered in blood from head to waist. When I say covered, I mean it. He was starting to freak the other kids out. My eyes immediately turned toward Anna-Laura, and both Scott and I instructed her to turn around. She doesn’t have a super fabulous record with blood.
My brain went into mom mode and I asked Benoit for a towel and a waterhose. We got the blood capped with the towel and I sprayed John Paul down. I was afraid if he looked down and saw all that blood, he’d faint on me. And we were clearly full up on crazy. We dashed off to the hospital with the boy and the newborn, left three children at the gathering and called another family who had Clare and asked if she could just stay the night. Did I mention this makes ER visit #8 for this kid? All to the head?! Fast forward two hours and we were the proud owners of five staples, a CAT scan (yes, those are EXpensive), a Sonic Blast and instructions to never, EVER, try a backflip off the side of the pool again.
“But at least I got two good ones in before I cut my head open, Mom.” Yes, John Paul, there’s that.
Now, on to the little sister not to be outdone.
If you follow me on Facebook, then you may have heard sweet two-month-old Gianna gave us quite the scare with multiple seizure-like episodes. It takes a pretty decent amount of crazy to freak me out (case in point above), but when she arched her back, arms went limp and the eyes rolled back, I may have said some curse words and then promptly cried. Scott and I had noticed a few of these episodes before, but newborns are funny, jerky, squirmy, squiggly people. I just chalked it up to being a new person. Scott had just left with all the kids for Mass and I was following behind since they all had to be there early to serve. And that’s when she did it again. As I wiped away the tears, I called a good friend in the neighborhood who is also a doctor, explained the episode and asked for his advice.
“I’d take her to Dell Children’s,” he said. Even though I agreed, my heart did not want to hear that.
After a quick feeding and an even quicker call to Scott, I mustered up the energy to make that all-too-familiar drive to Dell. The place I loathe. Detest. Hate. Some may sing its artistic and architectural praises. They laud its child life staff and praise its doctors. All I remember is the many visits I’ve made that have turned into admits and new, scary diagnoses.
When we arrived in the ER, I was relieved that it was scarce. And, upon hearing Gianna’s age, the triage staff whisked us right back. And then Gianna did it again. I was grateful/not grateful because at least the triage nurse could witness the episode. It confirmed I wasn’t going crazy. This one lasted a full 35-seconds. It was too much for this mom’s heart. Thankfully, the nurse patted my shoulder and gave me a moment to get it together.
After a slew of residents, nurses, doctors and three sticks for an IV (that one almost led me to page my sweet NICU nurses on the floor above), Gianna was admitted for an overnight EEG, to measure her brain activity. I reluctantly jumped on the bed as they wheeled us upstairs and it took all I had in me not to fall apart at the elevators. The same ones that carried Luke to his first emergency surgery. And, it took even more composure not to lose it as we entered the “Epilepsy Unit” on 4 South. As the nurse started to drone on about the location of light switches and meals available, I tuned her out. I was trying hard not to let my mind wander to the dark place. I could feel the “what if’s” starting to creep in and I knew how that would end.
Two hours later, the EEG tech had her all hooked up – that was an ordeal! – and I gave two sweet friends some mighty big hugs and sent them home. God knew I needed some reinforcements while Scott was at home tending to the rest of the crew. Tanja and Angela, thank you for just being there. And, for the all-important Dr Peppers. Those were clutch.
We “slept” the next seven hours, Gianna nursed a bit, I sighed as yet another “Code Silver in the ER” was announced (angry parent requiring security intervention) and prayed. Oh, how I prayed.
Thankfully, the EEG results came back 100% normal. Extremely reassuring. And, after visiting with both the internists and the neuro nurse practitioner, we feel confident that what Gianna is experiencing are episodes that resemble seizures, but may not, in fact, be seizures. They could either be an exaggerated startle response as she moves from the sleep state to an awake state, or reflux. If she’s having true seizures, we were assured they would show themselves in time. That isn’t incredibly encouraging, but it is good to know as we move forward. For now, we watch her, follow-up with our pediatrician and do lots of praying that it’s benign and she will outgrow them.
I’m also working on not freaking out.
The verdict? I need work.
So, attention ERs: I am SO done with you. Did you hear that? D-O-N-E, DONE. Let’s raise a margarita to a much less eventful summer 2014, shall we?