April 19, 2013

Our Crazy Night

Thank you to those of you who left messages of support on my Facebook page on Sunday night and Monday. For those who would like to hear the full story of our crazy night, here’s the complete picture of what happened:

On Sunday night, the kids and I were on our way home from a fun birthday party at a big park about 20 minutes away from home. Much akin to my iPhone’s battery, my car’s gas needle was pretty much on E, so I stopped at a gas station. Since I have an iPhone 5 with the new “lightning” connector, we don’t have a car adapter. However, even if I did, it wouldn’t matter because apparently a fuse is blown or something in our RAV4 and none of our AC adapters seem to be working. Another thing to add to the never ending fix-on-the-vehicles list!

It was nearly bedtime for the kids, so S. was already on edge wanting to eat since he had slept through dinner at the party. I went to pump gas and my credit card was rejected, twice. I found that odd, so I called my husband who said he had already purchased gas twice earlier that day, for both the car and the lawnmower. He told me to call the credit card company and ask them to reactivate the card to allow me to buy more gas, so I did. However, the representative on the phone said he couldn’t see the denied charges for my card at the gas station and asked me to try a different gas pump. While I was talking with him, R. had unbuckled from her car seat and was swinging back and forth between the two front seats by holding onto the vertical headrest bars. I asked her to stop, but like many 5 year olds, she of course didn’t … until she slipped and landed with her head underneath the back bench seat, bonking her head LOUDLY on the floor’s metal runner which the seats slide back and forth upon. Immediately she broke into tears, rubbing her head, and joining into the loud chorus of cries already coming from S. who was by then STARVING and was not going to let me forget it! I was still on the phone with the credit card guy, so I tried to console R. and asked her to buckle back into her car seat so that we could drive over to a different gas pump. She obeyed immediately this time and seemed to better understand why I had asked her to stop swinging between the seats in the first place. I tried my car 3 more times at the new gas pump, but the credit card guy still couldn’t see the attempted transactions, so he decided that it was a problem with the gas station itself. This left me with a predicament since I only had pocket change in cash on me leftover from the previous day’s yard sale shopping, and I didn’t want to chance driving home on fumes. However, I didn’t have much time to worry about this because as soon as I stepped back to the front of the car, R. cried out, “Mommy, I threw up all over my car seat!!!” Uh oh. I immediately asked the credit card guy who was still on the phone, “What does it mean when you hit your head and then throw up? Is that a concussion?” “Um, yeah, it could be,” he answered. “I gotta go! My phone battery’s almost dead!” I said and quickly hung up.

No gas. No working credit card or cash with which to get gas. 6% battery left on my iPhone. 12.5 miles from home. Two very upset kids in the backseat, one horrified that she has a puddle of vomit in her lap and dripping from her hands and the other screaming his lungs out because it’s nearly bedtime and I’m actually raising him on somewhat of a schedule.

I immediately dialed my husband to bring him up to speed on what was happening and it went to voicemail. Again. And again. And again. … He was vacuuming out his car in the garage and couldn’t hear the phone ringing. FINALLY he picked up the phone and I talked as fast as I could to give him the full scoop. We decided that I should call the $10-per-call after-hours hotline for our pediatrician’s office. Down to 5% battery now.

I quickly explained to the nurse hotline what was going on. She asked me how R. was feeling and to feel around R’s head for any large bumps. While we were on the phone though, R. threw up 2-3 more times. That sealed the deal... the nurse said she’d contact the on-call doc. right away and have them call me back.

In the meantime, I found a banana in my bag and started feeding it to S. still strapped into his carseat while we waited for our Knight-in-a-blue-Jetta to show up and rescue us from our penniless, gasless, dead-battery situation. 1% battery. Once my husband arrived about 9 pm, he handed me a $20 bill and sent me inside to pay for gas. While I finished pumping, he handed me his phone with the nurse/doctor calling us back (guess my phone had finally died) and he took R. over to the dark corner of the parking lot toward the pay vacuums. The doctor was asking me all of the same questions, how’s she feeling/acting, how many times did she throw up, etc. when I started laughing... my husband was spraying R. down with a garden hose attached to the back of the convenience store, clothes and all! It was rather hard to concentrate on the phone while watching them, as my daughter thought it was hilarious. She didn’t want to take off her dress for modesty reasons, so he had her hide behind a large towering stack of crates and then gave her his men’s size Large Adidas shirt which wore like another dress on her. (Thankfully she was wearing shorts under her dress that day!) By this point, the doctor was recommending that we go ahead and take her to the emergency room and we were debating over the pros and cons of the closest one vs. the area’s premier “children’s” ER. Despite the warm temperature outside, my hubby was now pulling all kinds of blankets out of the car for shivering R., huddled on a cement slab in the dark corner behind the gas station store.
By this time it was 9:45 pm, 90 minutes after the initial incident first happened. I convinced them to pile back in the car and off we headed to the far-away child-friendly ER for her own emotional security’s sake and also because they specialize in child-sized procedures and pediatric docs there. My husband had brought my iPhone charger and plugged it into the Jetta’s AC adapter during our garden hose escapades, but because VW outlets don’t stay on when the car is turned off, it didn’t charge at all. So we traded phones for him to keep the dead phone charging in his car, but it was SO dead that it wouldn’t even turn on again yet. So when he ripped out of the parking lot without waiting for me to follow, I wondered if he knew how to get there... apparently not as well as me, since I beat them there by a good 10 minutes. Luckily they did show up though and he carried wet R. in without her wearing any shoes. After putting our name on the list, we got another phone call as we were sitting down. I sent hubby back out to get her shoes and he brought them in saying, “But they are covered in vomit...” to which I replied, “Well obviously she can’t wear them then... take them back out.” Little did I know that that was the last we’d see of my husband for a good 30 minutes or so. We wondered if he could really be parking the car for that long, but since my iPhone was still dead, he couldn’t answer when I called. By this time, R. was completely back to her normal hyper self and at least 3 different times I had to ask her to stop climbing across chairs in the waiting room since that was what got us here in the first place!

R. watched the last 10 minutes of Toy Story 3 on a waiting room TV but soon a bunch of late-night Disney and Nick sitcoms came on. After all, it was 10 pm by this point! R. politely informed the check-in desk, “Excuse me. These are grown-up shows on the TVs and I don’t watch grown-up shows. Do you have any PBS Kids?” Ahh, I’ve trained her well to think that dumb tweenage sitcoms are not worth watching. ;-) They told her when she got to go back to a private room, she’d have her own TV to control there. I think that’s when she suddenly decided, this hospital stuff is pretty cool!

We convinced the check-in desk to at least find her a pair of kids gripper hospital socks when I cringed at having to go into the bathroom barefoot. Finally they called our name for the admissions desk and while we were filing the paperwork to get admitted, my hubby suddenly showed back up - with a Walmart bag containing dry underwear and new pants for R., a new plaid shirt for himself (since he had been wearing nothing but his undershirt this whole time), and of course a large 24 oz. Diet Coke for himself. :-) Apparently he just got in the car and drove until he found a Walmart (never too far away) and then shopped the Clearance rack.

Skip ahead, a few more hours of waiting, we saw the triage nurse, discovered a playroom without TVs full of books and toddler toys (much better!), and then FINALLY she got called back into her private room. By this point it was midnight though and there is NO kids television programming on Sunday nights after midnight!! haha, oh well. The Physician's Assistant checked her out, gave us some tips to watch for, and diagnosed her with a mild concussion. Luckily for her, us, and our wallet, they decided not to do a CT scan on her head because the radiation wasn’t worth it since she was no longer displaying any symptoms by this point. However the final criteria she had to pass was: eating a popsicle. Seriously! They gave her a purple popsicle to eat and if she kept it down, which she did, we were free to go. So I found a Charlie Chaplin silent movie on TV (seemed fairly safe) and R. decided to turn off all of the lights in her room while she finished her licking. My crazy kids were both still awake at this point, but I finally managed to feed S. and get him back to sleep in the carseat since he had only napped earlier at the gas station. It was 1:15 am in the morning when we finally were allowed to leave and start the 45 minute trip home.

So that pretty much sums up our crazy Sunday night adventure. I spent the following two afternoons dismantling and cleaning her carseat and then cleaning the car for 2 hours. Lessons learned: Carry cash. Charge your phone. Don’t drive until “E” on the gas needle. :)

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