Monday, October 10, 2011

What a day!

Warning - this is a real post--as in my real life, with some grossness included.  If you don't like to hear about children getting sick, you may want to bounce away now.  It is also not a short post.

Some days are more intense than others.  Saturday night my 10 year old, who celebrated her birthday 2 weeks ago, and I left the Pediatric Emergency room at 1:00 a.m.

Saturday began well enough.  I actually cooked a real breakfast--Belgian waffles and bacon, lots of bacon.  My kids like to have "bacon parties".  They are all skinny minnies, despite how much bacon they like to eat, so we let them.

After breakfast we headed to their school, private Christian school that goes preschool through 12th grade, to watch the homecoming football game.  The football team lost badly.  I was watching my children in the park, and also all the other children in the park, including a three year old little girl who has the same last name as my maiden name.

This was a big kid park, but neither her mother or father were watching her.  I was a complete stranger, except you know somewhere back in Ireland our ancestors were related.  I helped her when she said she was scared.  I took her to the bathroom and even had to become rather intimate with her out of necessity, as she wasn't past the wipe your own fanny stage.  It's a Christian school, and I'm rather safe, having had four kids of my own, but still---where was Mom, where was Dad?

There was another girl at the park, older, 6 years old, that came so close to getting a concussion.  She jumped to grab the mini zip-glider and while her hair hit the platform, her skull didn't.  I picked her up, rubbed her arm, and got her to laugh.  Again, no parents around.

While in the playground my younger daughter asked to go on a playdate.  I said OK since the Mom had called me multiple times over the past 2 years to arrange this, and since I didn't know her very well, I had stalled.  My husband and I thought it was a good day to try it, since we could pick her up after a couple of hours.

Meanwhile my older daughter, sophomore in high school, was having a meltdown most of the day.  My husband was holding firm that she couldn't wear the dress she wanted to the homecoming dance because it wasn't modest enough.  She tried every trick in the book.  On top of that she had so little sleep over the course of the week and was really run down.  She ended up crying and reminded me of when she was a toddler, with all the crying going on.

I went to get my 10 year old.  I would have to help my older girl with one of the two dresses she didn't want to wear after I got back.

The family had beautifully remodeled home, that they had worked on themselves.  Mom was also telling me about growing up in Communist Romania.  My daughter and friend figured they had a few more minutes to play, and left the room where we were talking.  As a 1st grader this mom and two boys were asked each Monday morning, by their communist, atheist teacher if they went to church on Sunday.  The children would tell the truth that they had, and then they were hit hard with a ruler 30 times on each hand.  Their hands hurt so much that they could not hold a pencil the rest of the day.  This happened every Monday.

I asked her, "What did your parents say?"
She said, "They told me, 'Jesus suffered much more for us'."

It had become a very poignant and intimate conversation, and I was not thinking about where my own daughter was.

Then my younger daughter came back into the room with her friend, and she was crying.  She said she got hurt on the trampoline.

Me to myself, "What trampoline? !"

I gave her a hug, and didn't see any blood, thought that the hug would do the trick.  The other Mom gave her a bag of ice for the bump.

We left soon after.  Once we got into the car, my poor daughter was crying very hard, and very loud.  She cried that way for the whole15 minute car ride, and continued to cry once we went into the house.  I gave her ibuprofen for the pain and swelling.  She said she banged her knee into her eye.  The eye looked OK on the inside.  It was getting redder on the bones above and below the eye.

It must have been the competing need to help my emotional older daughter with her dress that kept me from taking my younger daughter to the emergency room myself.  My husband fixed my mental lapse and said if she is crying that hard (she has actually the highest pain tolerance of our 4 kids) then I need to take her to a doctor.

We got back into the car.  She hadn't stopped crying.  She cried in the waiting room at the treatment center where we waited for over an hour.  She fell asleep at one point, exhausted from the pain.  I woke her up when they were ready to see her.  As soon as we got to the examining area, she vomited . . . a lot.  A nurse, and then a physician's aid pressed on her injured eye, and then sent us to the emergency room where they had a CAT Scan.  She vomited again in the parking lot.

I got her to the next hospital 20 minutes away.  She vomited again in the lobby of the pediatric emergency room.  It helped us get seen sooner.  At this place her injured eye was poked by a nurse, a nurse practitioner, and a pediatrician, making the total number of, "does it hurt here's" equal to 5 people.  The nurse practitioner was the most pokey, and she was rewarded with another round of vomiting.  They gave her some stop vomitting medicine, and then she vomitted again.  Which was ironic, but not ironically funny.

We had a male nurse, with a family, he made a point of telling me that.  Probably because some of the doctor tv shows like to have male nurse characters that are gay.  Anyway, he told me it is wonderful that we are made with those two bones protruding further out from the eyeball, as those take the brunt of most injuries and do great job protecting the delicate eye organ.  I liked the "made" comment.  I liked that he said it right out.  He might have caught my cross, or the rosary ring in my hand, but still I liked him saying that.

Finally she got the CAT Scan.  Then we had to wait for the findings.  It was NEGATIVE and NORMAL.  She didn't have any fracture, and she didn't have any bleeding in the brain, although I wasn't told that last key bit of information until the pediatrician re-visited us about 12:50 a.m.

My sweetie continued sleeping while I was watching AMC movies.  She got sick one more time when they gave her tylenol as the eye was starting to hurt again.  They said it was ocular gastro reflux, but I could not find that on a google search.  This meant she might not be vomiting from a concussion, but because the ocular injury causes gastro . . . reflux . . . into green hospital barf bags.  This is when they gave her an IV.  They said if she got sick even one more time we would be in there for the night.

She didn't, but man--6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m in the hospital.

Older daughter didn't go to the dance.  She was worried about her sister, but today, she is pretty bummed as her Facebook was filled with pictures and "best dance ever" comments that made it especially regretful that she didn't get to go.  She had also helped decorate the gym for 7 hours Friday night, even though she had only had 5-6 hours sleep a night last week, between playing sports and having tests in every subject.  There is also all the makeup time, and hair, and vanity gone haywire.  Vanity really burns up sleeptime when you are 15.

Today the hurt daughter is very sensitive to light, continued to sleep a lot, and her eye hurts when she looks to the right or left.  I am going to take her to a pediatric Opthamologist in the morning to see if there is any damage to her ocular nerve.  I am hoping it is just some pressure built up from the swelling.

At Mass today, went to Mass instead of the Divine Liturgy because it is much shorter-- 45 minutes versus 1.5 hours, and hurt daughter wanted to come with me.  I felt myself ready to cry, and tearing up several times.  There were a few parents with children in wheelchairs and walkers at this Mass.  I don't know that I noticed them at other Masses, like I noticed them today.  I am crying now thinking about it.  None of them were crying, it just makes me sad.

I know there is meaning in suffering, and I even told my little girl yesterday, "Offer your pain and your fears for the intentions of the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

Still, I prayed for miracles for these crippled children and their parents.  I know our God is a loving God, and even when our children don't have their parents watching them and preventing them from being injured, he is watching.  Sometimes he has someone there, quite behind the parents back, watching and caring for the children even when the parents are oblivious.  Sometimes this is a real angel, sometimes it is a human.  Most always this care is taken for granted by the parents who also love the children very much, but are not capable or willing to watch the child every minute of every day.

Sometimes his design of eye bones protecting the eye is taken for granted.  Other times it is marveled at, and a mom's heart is full of thanks for God creating and making her daughter this way.

I do believe God in his omniscience, and omnipotence, and infinite mercy and loving-kindness is able to orchestrate and bring all things to good for those that love him, including my daughter's homecoming dance trial that I pray he will pull wisdom from and teach her vanity is a sin, modesty is a virtue, etc.

What is he teaching me?  I was a little judgmental of the parents leaving their kids unattended, and then look what happened to my own, while I was unattending her?  The day also made my "sanity schedule", my recently developed hour by hour, 7 day schedule a shambles, as it didn't include spending 7 hours in hospitals.

He did give me peace in the middle of it though.  Even as I was watching her sleep I was praying intermittently the rosary, and then the Jesus Prayer.  I was actually calm there for her, and able to comfort her and occasionally get her to laugh.

I am a little emotionally worn to be profound, so I offer you, again, Peter Kreeft, please read his #3 in his article, "The Three Most Profound Ideas I Ever Had" for meditation on the following verse.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.


  1. Colleen,
    I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's injury. Poor kid! I felt so bad for her! For you too. It's so hard being a parent sometimes, isn't it? I am very thankful that her injury wasn't worse. You are all in my prayers.

  2. She's doing better, Mary. Thank you very much for praying for us! Ophthalmologist said her eye is OK, and pain, sensitivity to light will go away in 4 to 5 days. The doctor also gave us some pain relieving eye drops. We are all relieved. On the upside she and I have had a ton of Mommy, Daughter time. It is good to have had the alone time together.