Holyhell, holyhell, holysweetbejesus.
In spite of an unexpected full twenty four hours more spent in the city of brotherly love, which was preceded by at least five hours in a suburban Emergency Room with my semi-conscious two year old......and in spite of at least one airport security threat (me) and another near tackle by TSA, we finally made it back to our proper coast.
::b r e a t h e::
Only to be welcomed by the surliest dh of them all; one who had spent the past five days without internet access, due to some very strange 'hijacking' of our account by a certain subsidiary of AssholeTotalitarianTroublemakers. This five days was on top of the four days (wah) he had endured without power (remember those CA storms?), and only 48 hours after he had been restored to the 21st century. And of course, having only gone through the suckiness trifecta AND THEN A FUCKING ALL CAPS CONCUSSION WITH OUR SON, was apparently not enough of an emotional sacrifice to the universe and it was determined that I must be punished upon my return home.
To the tune of: welcome home I missed you so much that all I wanna do is argue with you - and then, as I looked past the grunge that was my sink, I realized, ohmygodthetreeisstillfuckingup? Just for starters. Which will for now, become the endofthat.
Because, believe it or not, I would rather talk about the head injury.
I had insisted that Bubbles and I stay in the basement/den at my mom's house, as said toddler had maintained a good track record at my brother's house of keeping someone up every night, and this had been in an eight bedroom house. I hoped that, with one floor between us, the rest of the family might sleep peacefully as we filled my mom's small house for the funeral for which we were all in town.
Bubbles is very good a navigating steps, as he had mastered our own very strange steps at an early age, so after spotting him up and down the basement steps a few times, I was confident that he knew to stay away from the edge - as there is nothing between the steps and the railing, but a sheer drop-off to the basement room. He even got knocked down the stairs by her very happy dog once, but all was well and the only result was that he was even more cautious on the stairs.
The funeral for my aunt was on Saturday. It was very little scripture, and very much memories and stories, both hilarious and heartbreaking. I had a chance to visit with our many cousins, aunts and uncles during the luncheon afterward. (why on earth did I just call that a 'luncheon' rather than a 'lunch'?) Everyone was just so visibly exhausted by death and grieving. My cousin Kim's children were a clear reminder of both tragedies and their own vitality. Of how very much they need, of how much our family needs them and the lifetime of loving that our family needs to give to them.
Late that evening, I had a chance to visit with a favorite cousin who was not at the funeral. Everyone else had gone home or to bed, but 'we' had not quite adjusted to EST in our nine days, so we happily played and caught up with my cousin and her very charming seven year old daughter. Close to midnight, we came up with the brilliant and foolproof plan of heading to the basement with a glass of wine, to hypnotize the children to sleep on the sofabed with a video, and get in one more hour of uninterrupted catching up.
Which really would have been brilliant and foolproof except for the unforseeable detail of a little mishap on the stairs. My young cousin graciously tried to help Bubbles down the stairs, who is so very two, and who, in turn, pulled his hand away and flung himself through the railing and off the steps. Onto the basement floor, where he landed on his face.
On. His. Face.
And then I picked him up. He was limp, there was a lot of blood on his face. His cry was slow to come and pitiful compared to what I know he is capable of producing. He crawled out of my arms and whimpered, trying to just fall asleep, but realizing that his face and head hurt too much to do that and began whimpering a bit louder, which made me very glad at that moment.
My cousin was asking me if she should call 911, call an ambulance, get my mom or my 21 yr old pre-med nephew or my brother, who were asleep upstairs. I wasn't so sure they were asleep anymore, because my second reaction, the one right after I saw him fall in very slow motion only one arm's length away from me and screamed, "ohNONONONONO!!!!", was to scream, "motherfuckerNOFUCKINGWAY!" when I saw my baby's eyes looking so very distant and glazed and so obviously wrong. He started throwing up in my hands, and I yelled back to my cousin to GO AND GET THEM. GET MY MOM. GET A CAR.
I don't like to wait. Even for ambulances. Or especially for ambulances. I did that once; it didn't go well. My mom drove as my nephew coached her through the red lights (with no opposing traffic; it was after midnight in the suburbs). She was hoping to get pulled over I think, to have a siren escort to the hospital. In between the hyperventilating that I don't remember but my mother now swears to, I instructed PMN (pre-med nephew) to call the ER and tell them we had a toddler with a head injury coming in. This was key, as they did see us immediately when we walked through the non-ambulance ER door.
(of the hospital in which my cousin Kim had died just 3 months ago, but that's another head trip.)
My mother, having just been slightly overwhelmed by the funeral that very afternoon, was visibly shaking. I suppose it is quite traumatic to drive to a hospital with your daughter in the back seat shouting to your grandson to "WAKE UP!" and reporting that he is "STILL THROWING UP OHMYGOD!"
The first hopeful sign that he was not permanently damaged was when they right away tried to take his vitals and he threw a big hissy fit at the O2 sat monitor sticker on his finger and yelled, "NO! NONONONO!" (at this moment one mama could be glad that he does have that speech delay, as it could easily have been, 'nofuckingway' if he was parroting age-appropriately)
An ER doc examined him pretty quickly and diagnosed a definite concussion, then ordered a CT scan to determine the severity. He said that the face is actually the best possible part of the head to absorb the blow; much more preferable than the back of the skull. He also said that it was an 'old wive's tale' that we should not let him sleep, and to let him sleep while we waited for the CT scan, as some traumas had come in and needed to go to radiology first.
Everyone there was so nice, I suddenly felt way too tired, and just leaned back on the gurney with Bubbles and forgot to take pictures of his swollen face and bloody lip and the ER curtains. The preparation for the CT scan was slightly traumatic, as almost nobody finds it fun to straightjacket a toddler to a board with velcro and tape. The radiolologist was also the mother of a three yr old, so she was especially sensitive. She told him he was going on a train (I spent but a brief second contemplating the future scarring implications of that one, then dismissed and obscured by primal mama fear), and as soon as that tube started spinning, he stopped struggling, stopped crying, quietly said "Woo-woo," (translation: train) and then became hypnotized by the whole experience, nearly falling asleep. It was, after all, four o'clock am.
All of Bubbles' brain appears to be fine. Shockingly, he did not have a maxillary fracture or even knock out one tooth. We were discharged at 4:30 am, and dh was home in CA on the phone with NWA about changing my ticket (which, they eventually did do without additional fees!) to the next day, so we would have time to look for lingering symptoms and swelling before attempting to cross the country again. By later that afternoon, after we had all slept a few hours, his swelling had gone down so much you could scarcely tell he was in such a horrific state just twelve hours before.
We left one day late, but had a much more subdued and uneventful airline experience than the outbound trip. Motrin was a good friend to us.
I was trying to get a shot of his big old bruise, but he grabbed the camera and took a self-portrait of his big old bunny teeth instead.