Monday, February 27, 2012

The Ambulance and The Woodshed

Friday night, we went to this really cool restaurant down the street from us called The Woodshed.

This is what it looks like during the day.

It is owned by Tim Love (an amazing Iron Chef winner) and it is located on the Trinity River. It boasts smoked meats and very little else. There is a pig roasting on a spit when you walk in. It's serious stuff and you better like meat and, specifically, smoked meat if you're planning to eat there. I have to admit that there isn't much for the kids to eat other than a hamburger, and even that is not your typical McDonald's style hamburger. So, Friday night our kids went home hungry. That's okay though, because we fed them, and because they had the BEST time hanging out with friends and playing outside at the restaurant. So much fun! In fact, here's a picture of all of them climbing on a ginormous steer.

Evie planking.
(not on purpose, but I thought it was funny)

Lots of kids!

And lots of wandering around.

The kids had so much fun there, that Chuck decided to take them again last night while I watched the Oscars. It also didn't hurt that one of Chuck's best friends was there too.

Still, it gave me the opportunity to bask in the frivolousness of the Oscars without the kids climbing all over me, asking for food, whining about toys, etc. I love the Oscars. I can't help myself. I like to watch the beautiful people give themselves awards and talk about themselves. It's fun and entertaining.

The only problem is that at 7:45 I got a phone call from Chuck's friend who was at the Woodshed. He started the conversation by saying, "Uh . . . Theresa . . . there's been an accident."

Um, yeah, this was the best way to send a mother into a tizzy. Especially since I know the restaurant is on the river and I'm convinced that George is going to fall into the river and get swept away.

I'll give myself credit for staying relatively calm while getting just a few more sketchy details:
  • Evie fell off a wall
  • Chuck is with her
  • They have called an ambulance
  • They have her immobilized
  • She is moving her feet

Sounds fairly grim when you feel like you need to assure someone that the injured person is moving her feet. Shit.

I got myself together, pulling on a fleece over my yoga pants and tennis shoes. Hair in a ponytail, no make up and no bra. I was not appropriately dressed, but I didn't care. I grabbed my phone and my keys and ran out the door without locking it behind me. Remember that this restaurant is literally a few blocks down the street. I screeched down there, threw my keys at the valet and said, "My daughter is hurt." and I ran past him leaving him with my dumpy mini van. As I ran, I dropped my purse on the deck where the patrons were eating their dinners. I found Chuck sitting with Evie at the bottom of the concrete wall where she had fallen off. And she looked so much better than I had prepared myself for.

She fell onto a concrete path that runs the length of the river and is used for joggers and bikers. The wall is about my height. I have to carefully lower myself down and then heft myself back up. It's a substantial concrete wall. You can see it in the picture above. Luke was with her when she fell. She had been balancing along the edge of the wall, walking it like a tightrope in the dark. One leg slipped and she began to fall. She used her hands to try and catch herself, but she landed on her stomach on the ground. Apparently, a waiter saw/heard her fall. He dashed over the wall and had her secured just seconds before Chuck got over there after he heard her cry. The waiter insisted on keeping her immobilized. And someone . . . I don't know who . . . called an ambulance.

When I got there she had pretty much stopped crying. I went to her immediately and told her I was there. She was sniffling. I asked her what hurt. She held up the pinky finger on her right hand. There was a blood blister on the tip. That's it. I crinkled my brow and asked, "Anything else?" She held up her left hand and showed me a tiny scrape by her thumb. "O-ka-yee." I looked at Chuck. He was stroking her hair and telling her that everything was going to be just fine and trying to make her laugh with jokes. I continued with my own evaluation, knowing Chuck had already asked all these pertinent questions, but it was my turn to get the story first hand. "Evie, does anything else hurt?"

She shook her head - so much for being immobilized.

"Does your head hurt?"

She grunted, "Huh-uh."

I went through all her extremities, felt her stomach, felt her head, felt her arms and legs. There was nothing. She answered repeatedly that she had not hit her head or her back. There were no marks on her stomach. She really just looked like she tripped on the sidewalk and took a little stumble. Nothing led us to any concern. Once I had satisfied myself that she was fine, I relaxed and whipped out my iPhone to take this picture.

That is when you know all is well.

All was well.

And then . . . the paramedics arrived.

Three lovely firemen arrived first. Great people. Wonderful people. They asked Evie her name, put a blanket on her, gave her some oxygen, monitored her pulse, felt her extremities, checked her eyes. They determined that she was probably fine. They suggested that we get her in the ambulance (once it arrived) and let her warm up. Nothing was really wrong and they felt good about that evaluation too, especially after hearing that she had not hit her head. So I took another picture.

But then it seemed to start getting crazy. They brought out a back board and they put a neck brace on her. It seemed at odds with the diagnosis and our diagnosis. I assume this is really what they do with everyone, and I still think that is true. At least twenty minutes after Evie's fall, Evie's ambulance finally arrived. I was almost amused at that point.

More muscular men swarmed around her and that is when she started to freak out. No one would let her stand or sit up or move. New people were coming in and asking her name, hold old she is, what hurts, etc. She started to tear up and I heard her tiny voice ask, "Mommy?" I rushed forward and held her hand. She didn't want to let go. She was freaking out. And by all appearances to her paramedic team and the image below, she was not doing well.

They insisted that she needed to go to the hospital to be examined further -- have x-rays, a CAT scan, etc. What?! She has a couple of scrapes. She's feeling okay. She did not hit her head. Nothing hurts other than her pinky and her thumb. Seriously, we're talking about phalanges, not a wrist or an ankle, much less her head, neck, or spine. There's not a mark on her. Nothing. Nada. Zip. And now they think we should take her to the hospital? "Better safe than sorry," they kept saying. I told them we didn't think she needed to go to the hospital, but let's just get her in the ambulance to let her warm up and evaluate it further there. Oh, holy shit. I should have just let her get up right then and there, wrapped her in my arms, and taken her home. She just scraped her damn fingers. But I didn't do it and this is what ensued:

They rolled her with a concerted effort onto the back board. They secured her head with tape. They pulled her hair in the process. They took off the glow in the dark necklace she had been wearing. (Kids love that glow in the dark junk.) They buckled her into the board and three men walked her up a hill and put her on a gurney. Then they rolled her into the ambulance. She was flipping out! She squeezed my hand and whimpered through the entire process despite my assurances that she would be fine. I offered up ideas like:

  • It's going to be so cool to be in an ambulance!
  • This may be the most men that ever pay such close attention to you at one time.
  • Gee, why didn't they want to carry me up the hill on a stretcher?
  • Did you hurt the concrete when you fell, or is that okay?
  • George and Luke sure are going to be jealous about all this attention you're getting.

We got her in the ambulance and she warmed up with a fleece blanket while she was still strapped to the gurney. She was still freaking out. And then, a first-responder and I discussed the situation over her head while I held her hand and stroked her forehead. He insisted that we should take her to the children's hospital to make sure everything was fine. I told him I didn't think it was that serious and that there is absolutely nothing to indicate that she had hit her head. He insisted that children don't always give signs and said indignantly, "Well, it was serious enough for you guys to call us."

And that was the moment. Right there. That was the moment I realized he didn't know what was going on - not that it was his fault. So I told him calmly, "No. We didn't think it was that serious. We didn't call you. Someone else did." And that is what gave me the confidence to make the decision to take my daughter home against the medical advice issued by the paramedics. Although they see this stuff--and see the worst of it--I am the one who knows my daughter best, gathered all the facts, got there sooner than any of the other first responders. I was the one who was capable of making an informed decision as a person who cares most about my daughter's well-being. The chance of anything being wrong with her head was slim to none, but freaking her out with a trip to the hospital was guaranteed. I couldn't do it to her.

There was a little more discussion and I consulted with Chuck, during which the boys climbed in the ambulance and explored all the gadgets. But eventually, I signed a release, and told her we were going home. As soon as I said that, she started ripping the medical equipment off. She started with the blood pressure cuff, moved to the zipper holding her onto the backboard, and tried to remove the sticky tape holding her head down. I had to slow her down and told her to let the paramedic do it. But, clearly she agreed with my assessment and wanted to get out of there. We did the right thing.

Once in the car, she became the confident Evie I know and love. She spoke with authority while she explained to Luke and George how the paramedics put her on a board and put a "necklace" on her. She also mentioned with disgust that the paramedics had taken her glow-in-the-dark necklace off and thrown it on the road. She was pissed. And, all I could do was smile at her spunk and thank God for her health. She was going to be fine.

I took pictures of the spoils of her adventure which included, a stuffed animal, a fleece blanket from the ambulance, and two Mickey Mouse band-aids from our medicine cabinet. She faked a sad face for us, and then went back to smiling.

(yes, she's wearing a Christmas outfit. Don't judge. That is her outfit of choice for emergencies as evidenced here.)

We checked on her throughout the night. We woke her up, quizzed her about her name, school name, and siblings. She's fine this morning. Absolutely, wonderfully, perfectly fine. And now, we're pretty sure that Evie will be the impetus for the installation of fencing or something similar at The Woodshed.


Chuckyluv said...

I really think everyone had the best intentions. It was dark, this little girl was crying, layong on the ground at the bottom of a wall. I think we figured out it's tough enough to have common sense about your own kids when they're hurt sometimes, but expecting someone else to show some common sense about your hurt kids is asking a lot.

Glad she's ok.

Theresa said...

There's an obvious lack of comments which indicates that many of my readers disagree with our choice to decline medical treatment.

Angela said...

I think that after 3 kids, you know your kids. And you're both smart people. It's not like you are refusing medical attention due to a religious belief, just because you know that kids fall and often don't hurt themselves that badly.

I'm sure that was so scary, though. Hugs to you all.

Theresa said...

Thanks Angela. I'm having a tough day and needed those hugs.

Clarkmomof2 said...

Pretty sure we would have made the same decision! I dont like to go to the hospital unless there is a lot of blood or they are in obvious pain that i can not control. Sounds like u did a good job!

Clarkmomof2 said...

Pretty sure we would have made the same decision! I dont like to go to the hospital unless there is a lot of blood or they are in obvious pain that i can not control. Sounds like u did a good job!

k_dawg said...

you guys made the right decision. everytime i see the potential new fence, i will think of brave little evie...

Theresa said...

Thanks everyone. I really needed some friendly words of support today.

PeytonsPlaceCO said...

You're a smart girl and you're right... you know your daughter best. So happy everyone is doing well!