Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Great Fall

I thought it would be a regular Tuesday. Put in a load of laundry first thing in the morning, got some paperwork done over breakfast, made sure everything was ready for the dinner party Big A and I planned to attend that evening, and paid a visit to the bank while Little A was in therapy.

After talking with his therapist at the end of the class, I took Little A to school and headed off to the shop for a couple of hours. As I waited for the lift in the mall's carpark, my mobile rang. It was Little A's school, and this was the first time they had ever called me during class hours. My heart skipped a beat before I answered.

Little A has had an accident, his teacher said, as I heard him screaming in the background. He's bleeding from his ear. The headmistress is already on the phone to your pediatrician. Please could you come back now? Quickly as I could, I rushed back to school.

In the classroom, Little A lay on the floor whimpering. When I came in, he curled up against my chest, his hand cupping his right ear. I was told a car was on its way to take us to the doctor's office. The headmistress accompanied us there.

From what I gathered, his new shadow teacher (the current one leaves in a couple of weeks, so today was the second day of the transition from old to new) was playing with him, and when he picked up Little A, my boy threw his head backwards and pushed with his feet against the teacher's chest. He does this with Big A, to flip over. The New Shadow did not expect this, and dropped Little A, falling to the floor himself.

My son must have hit the ground so hard, though they could find no bumps on his skull, because his ear did not stop dripping blood for hours. Our pediatrician took us in immediately but couldn't get a good look because Little A was screaming and wiggling so much, so she sent us to an ENT. We went off to another hospital, with my mum this time, who'd rushed over herself as soon as she got the news. We left our car at home for Big A, who was also speeding back from work, breaking every traffic law in the book.

The ENT found torn skin in the ear canal, and ordered a CT scan to check if there were skull fractures. He warned us that if there was a fracture, he'd want to keep Little A overnight for observation. Big A, having once been little and no stranger to hospital emergency rooms himself, had anticipated this, and arrived armed with the Au Pair and extra clothes, books and toys for our boy.

We had to wait a few hours because Little A had had cornflakes in the car, and he needed to be sedated for the scan as there was no way he would lie on that cold hard metal bed voluntarily, even for a 2 minute procedure. Instead of waiting in the Trauma ward, we got a room and let him have a much-needed nap while I finally got to eat some lunch. This was at 5pm, and he had fallen just after noon.

At 730, we all walked down to the Radiology unit. The sedation team came, and I held my son as they injected him with a tranquilizer. He tried to fight the insertion of the IV and the tubes and wires, but quickly went under. Blinking back tears, I laid my son on the machine's hard table. The scan was over, as promised, in two minutes. I accompanied Little A to the recovery room while Big A stayed with our SuperDoc to hear the findings. The Au Pair cried as she watched our little boy being wheeled out on a full-size hospital bed.

In recovery, Little A was still half sedated as he removed off his oxygen tube, his pulse monitor and made every attempt to rip out his IV. SuperDoc's voice and mine calmed him down, but in the end the tubes had to come out because he refused to keep them in there. Groggy and nauseated, he climbed off the bed and would have made for the door if his legs hadn't given out. I sat him in my lap while he threw up in a basin, and we waited to be sent back to our room, watching the anxious faces of our family through the glass panels in the swing doors.

Back in the hospital room, Little A made up for the 12 hours since his breakfast, gobbling down a bowlful of food but then vomiting it back up again because the sedative was still wearing off. He stood under a hot shower and then played until bedtime. We made every effort to keep him quiet and still because it turned out he had two fractures, in the temporal bone and the occipitoparietal (?) one. The bleeding finally stopped and I put in the antibiotic ear drops as he slept.

We've got a struggle ahead of us keeping him from running, jumping and rough play for up to a month. But so far Little A is cooperating, walking slowly and climbing carefully. He is learning how to be less than a human dynamo at all times, which will certainly be wonderful if he manages to keep it up. As for me, I'm just taking it one day at a time. Just call me Humpty's mother.

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