Of all the weeks for David to travel back to Hawaii, it had to be the one where sick kids and emergency room visits have filled the days. To be clear, I am thrilled he gets to go home and have some kid-free time with his family BUT I can’t deny that I was a bit apprehensive about being on my own to lead the pack from Tuesday through Saturday. However, with my most recent bipolar episode behind me and a somewhat fragile stability holding firm, I decided that I could handle it and that he could go enjoy himself in the sun.
Dave left early Tuesday morning before any of us were awake. So, for the first time in quite a while, I got all the boys up and ready for school on my own like I used to. The first day went great and everybody got to school on time. There were no tears, yelling, screaming, or traumatized individuals leaving the house. On Monday Nathan was sick with a fever that lasted all day. By Tuesday, the fever had resolved and he was back to his normal self but still had to stay home another day. We spent the time by watching a movie and ran errands that needed to get done for the week. Tuesday evening was more of the same and we all had a relaxing evening before the kids took a bath and went to bed. I was looking forward to getting them all back in school the next day so I could tie up some things I had to get done before officially withdrawing from grad school for the year.
Then came Wednesday in all her terrible fury. I dropped all the kids off at school in the morning. We were a little later than the day before but everyone still made it on time. Owen clung to me so tightly while I was dropping him off that I almost decided to keep him home because he was so sad. But in the end, I left him at daycare driven in part by the fact I still had things I needed to get done and wanted to get them out of my hair for good. I got home and took a leisurely time getting ready since everyone was out of the house. No sooner did I sit down to work than the phone rang. It was Owen’s preschool saying he had diarrhea and I needed to pick him up. Somewhat irritated over my plans being interrupted again, I picked him up and took him home. He seemed fine to me for a while until I learned the hard way why they had chosen to call me about the diarrhea and send him home rather than keep him. Defeated, I turned a movie on for him and sat down to do some mindless work on the computer (ex: research what kind of planner stickers I should buy). I see Owen sitting on the coffee table and the next thing I know he is getting up off the floor crying. There was something odd about his cry so I immediately got up and ran over to him. To my complete horror he had blood literally pouring out the back of his head. I raced to the kitchen and grabbed a huge wad of paper towels and applied firm pressure to it while keeping him pressed against me. Owen was panicking and in pain, there was blood everywhere, my heart was racing, and my alarm just went off to go pick up the boys from school. I had no idea what to do, especially if I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop and we were nowhere near that point yet. I reached for my phone and called my neighbor, whose son I also picked up from school. Through Owen’s screams, I frantically tell her I can’t get the boys from school and could she pick them up? She graciously said it would be no problem and to just worry about Owen.
About 10 minutes later I was able to get the bleeding to stop but all I saw when I took the towel away was a mass of bloody, matted hair. I was terrified that if I tried to wipe away any of the blood to get a closer look, it would start bleeding again. Owen was still crying saying he was scared and that it hurt. I did my best to comfort him and decided a trip to the ER was in order. And since the wound had not started bleeding after the towel had been off for 5 minutes, we could get there ourselves.
The car ride calmed Owen and I only began to have one inner meltdown when Waze took me a different way and I missed my turn twice. There was construction around the parking area of the ER and I didn’t see any free spots right in front so with a complete “screw it” mentality, I made my own spot and went in through the front doors. It was not an encouraging sight. The ER was packed. We waited… and waited… and waited. A few hours went by. I imagined my car was likely towed at this point, my phone would die soon thereafter, and I’d have no way of reaching anyone. Eventually we were called into triage. The nurse there was very nice and managed to clean the area enough to see that staples were going to be in order and she put lidocaine jelly all over it and sent us back to wait some more. Our neighbor insisted on keeping the boys and assured me everything was going fine and not to worry about anything other than Owen. With this reassurance, Owen and I sat together, hungry and exhausted, but okay.
Finally, we were called back to an exam room and everything went quickly from there. A very friendly Physician’s Assistant came in and assessed his wound. After cleaning it up he estimated it would take about 5 staples. Owen was so brave. I think he’ll tell you the worst part was the cold water running down his neck when it was being cleaned. The staples were a little uncomfortable but Owen held still all on his own and it was over before he knew it. Afterwards a cherry popsicle and discharge paperwork completed the process. As we walked out the door, I was half sure my car would be either towed or at the very least, I’d have a hefty ticket. To my great shock and relief, I had neither! Six hours after the event occurred, we arrived safely back at home.
Our neighbor walked the boys over to our house and after looking after them for the entire afternoon and evening, even brought dinner for Owen and myself – to say I was touched is an understatement.
I spent the entire day hovering over Owen to ensure there were no further accidents or ER visits. If I could have wrapped him in bubble wrap, I would have.
This day I was sick with a bug while I simultaneously trying to keep an eagle eye on Owen from the couch. I was exhausted, my stomach was in knots, and had a splitting headache. The only thing I could think about was how I was going to make it through the rest of the evening and get the boys up and ready at 7am for their 3 soccer games in the morning. It was another dreadful day.
SATURDAY / MY BIRTHDAY
My alarm went off at 6:30am and I was completely unaware that it was my birthday. I tried my best to get out of taking the boys to soccer but Colin looked so completely crushed when I asked him if he would be upset if we just skipped it this week. I begrudgingly got everyone ready and out the door for the first game at 8am. I believe I made it until almost 10am before I got my first Happy Birthday text. I was partly shocked that I had completely forgotten, touched to receive a nice message and saddened by it all at the same time. David was due to be home around lunch time but only for a few hours before he had to go to work that night, which meant he would be sleeping most of the next day. I had basically another day and a half to go and I wanted to throw in the towel. This is not how I wanted to spend my birthday. The rest of the day passed as expected. Soccer games finished, David came home and we all grabbed lunch and then he left to go to work soon thereafter.
I had such high hopes for this week. I wanted to do fun things with the boys like go get ice cream late on a school night, watch funny movies together, and just generally enjoy the time together. This is clearly not what happened. I do not want to come across as ungrateful, angry, or resentful and perhaps if it were not my birthday, I wouldn’t be so sad about it all. But here’s to my 41st year and I’m hoping 41 and 1 day will look a little bit brighter.