Wednesday, 28 February 2018

First I Ask the Friends, Then I Do the Parenting (Part 2)

As I said in my last post, I got so much great advice and feedback from friends that I had to write a series. This is one of my personal favorites, particularly because the story is so epically terrifying, and because it happened to family. I can't honestly put it into better words than this so I've decided to let Cousin J tell the story in his own words:

Let me tell you the story of why I now have a home phone, a.k.a. the scariest 30 minutes of my life. As with all stories of this nature it started out like any other evening. We were all getting ready for a low key family dinner date - well that's not really true - some of us were getting ready and a certain naked 3 year old was practicing his jumping on the bed and his “look dad, look dad, look dad” routine. Anyone who has the pleasure of living with these micro terrorists knows how this ends - Crash!

I turned around and my son was piled up in the bottom of his brother’s playpen and let out a pretty good scream. Nothing to worry about at this point; for anyone with kids this is still pretty much business as usual. At this age they have only a few jobs and one of the main ones is pushing everything to failure. That could be testing gravity with one of your prized pre-children artifacts, or maybe just your will to live. In this case it was his ability to do a backflip off a playpen railing. Anyway, things went quiet. P.S. now is the time to worry.

My wife went to pick him up and do the usual “there, there, you're alright,” but he was not alright. She immediately signalled to me something was wrong. I turned around to see his limp and lifeless body in her arms and he was peeing on the floor; now I'm no medical expert, but that is never good. I jumped right to action, and when I say that, I mean I yelled out “HE IS NOT OK!” just in case that wasn’t clear to her already. We put him down on the bed and I told her to call 911 and get some help ASAP.

Now at this point, I should point out I have taken first aid a bunch of times. I forgot everything. Right then my wife came flying back into the room, “where is your #$#@$ phone!?!?”. Pretty sure I didn’t even respond to her, I could only think “this is how my son dies.” After I processed the fact I was going to have to do something here, I checked to see if he was breathing. This all seemed like it took 5 minutes to me, but in reality it was probably like 15 seconds.

Nope I don't hear anything and his chest isn’t moving. “We need help right now!” I finally responded to her. I could now hear her telling someone the whole story. They stopped her right away and she spit out our address. OK now what? I was just positioning his head for what would be a parent's worst nightmare. Head tilt, chin lift, pinch the nose and with the greatest relief his beautiful brown eyes opened up. I’m not religious, but at this point I thanked all the gods I could think of.

He was pretty out of it, but was making some noises. I started trying to talk to him and let my wife know “he's ALIVE!”, but he was barely there and he hadn't moved a muscle. I guess I was expecting him to cry out and jump up like in the movies. I immediately thought, "oh no he broke his neck or something". Can you feel this? No action. Can you hear me? Still nothing. I kept trying to get his attention and relay what was happening to my wife who was around the corner because it’s the only place she could get a signal on her phone.

I started to see some movement with my boy’s body and he was saying some words that made no sense. Then the ambulance arrived - I can’t describe the relief you feel when two professionals come on the scene - everything was under control now.

Pretty scary right? Ya, the feelings still go through my mind when I see him on top of a counter or bouncing around the furniture. He was totally fine by the time he finished his ambulance ride to the Stollery Hospital; sadly I don’t think they get to see many kids bouncing off the walls around there (shout out to those beautiful people, please donate if you can). They eventually got him to sit still for a few minutes and gave him a checkout and explained what they suspect happened. We even made it to that dinner date.

So what did I learn about parenting from this experience? Have a reliable phone in the house, and get first aid training. I might have thought I forgot everything in the moment, but who knows how I would have reacted without that basic training. Also, you can get home phone service from a bunch of places and it's practically free these days through your internet connection. You could be faced with an emergency at any moment and you can be sure that’s when your phone will be dead or the signal is just ten feet too far away.

And to the non or new parents thinking “shouldn’t the lesson be to keep your kid off the playpen railing?!” I would say - Good Luck!

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