Wednesday, October 13, 2010


If: Your employer (or, in this case, your husband's employer) switches from pretty awesome health coverage to a plan with a multi-thousand dollar deductible

Then: You will, two weeks later, ride in an ambulance for the very first time in your life.

If: You have your only can't-miss meeting of the month, coinciding with your husband's only meeting of the day

Then: Your child's school will be trying desperately to get in touch with you to tell you that he needs his parents.

If: One evening, you tell your husband you wish you could have a single minute of quiet from your very, very talkative kiddo

Then: You will, the very next day, spend six hours in the emergency room begging that child to say something—anything—to let you know he's okay.

Sidamo suffered a pretty severe concussion at school today. He and another boy were running and chasing the same ball. Sidamo dove for it and hit a brick wall with his forehead. His teacher (who is incredible—she came to the emergency room, in tears, to check on him) said she heard the most horrible sound and turned to see Sidamo on the ground. He got up, cried, asked for ice, and seemed coherent for a while. Still, she took him up to the office for attention, and for a call to mommy and daddy (neither of whom answered; see above). While he was there, he went from being a bit dazed to being completely unresponsive. When he started vomiting, they called the ambulance.

I got off my conference call and saw I had missed four calls—including one from Grandpa, who is one of our emergency contacts. I listened to the voicemail and heard "Sidamo … head injury" and raced out of the house as fast as I could. Luckily we live less than a mile from school, because I was able to hop into the ambulance before it took off.

Poor Sidamo was completely out of it when I got to him. He was in a neck brace, strapped to a stretcher. He could barely keep his eyes open, and he was slurring his very limited speech. He looked awful, and I was terrified. The paramedic told me his concern level was only a 4 out of 10, and that was why they weren't turning on the sirens and lights. About 5 minutes into the ride, Sidamo started vomiting again—and profusely. The concern level rose; sirens went on, and we blazed to the hospital.

Greg met us there. Sidamo had a CT scan, and we sat and waited. And waited. And watched. Sidamo remained unresponsive, sleepy, and miserable. He vomited some more. In my gut I felt like he'd be okay, but then I had these terrible thoughts about long-term brain damage. He was just so not himself. If you know Sidamo, you know his smile, his verve, his light. None of that was there. He was a shell. For six hours. And I worried, at least for a little while, that he mightn't come back.

Praise Jesus, Allah, the universe, or whomever: The light returned. By late afternoon, we had the scan results and everything looked good. I left to get Nora, and Greg waited by Sidamo's bedside. While I was gone, Damo perked up, drank two Gatorades, took a little walk, and watched SpongeBob. By the time I got back to the hospital, he was demanding food, making jokes, and negotiating for screen time for the coming week (which he'll spend under very close supervision, and, probably, helmeted).

Any parent who has ever been through a scare with a child knows that it shakes you to your core. It's exhausting and terrifying and awful in ways I certainly couldn't have imagined before having kids. But it also was a huge reminder to celebrate the beautiful children we've been blessed with. They are such fantastic, lovely, vibrant individuals, and we GET to be their parents. How freaking lucky are we? So yes, they talk. A lot. And yes, sometimes I long for a single minute of peace. But after being confronted with a silenced Damo for a frighteningly long time today, I'm making a commitment to enjoy and celebrate the vibrant (and noisy, and inquisitive, and mildly demanding) light that he is.

God, I love this kid.


Krumpledwhiskers said...

Deidre, I know only too well that feeling. We had a scare with Coben when he was only a few weeks old that involved him being unresponsive and an amublance ride in a blizzard in the mountains. It's the most sickening feeling and it takes so long for your heart to recover after a scare like that. I am so so glad that Sidamo is on the upswing now. I can only imagine how long those six hours felt to you and your family.

cathy said...

i will appreciate every blathering word zinabu says today. i'm so sorry you had to go through this, deirdre. it must have been horrifying. that was a pretty big head injury. so thankful he bounced back!

jayme said...

How absolutely terrifying! I'm *so* so glad that he's doing okay. I know I'm definitely guilty of wishing for a few quiet moments, and I'm sorry that it takes something like this to put everything back into perspective. Hope Sidamo's doing much, much better today!

rebekah said...

Sitting here trying not to sob since I have clients coming...

Oh gosh. Gosh gosh gosh. Makes me want to run to school and hover.

I'm glad he's ok. So so glad.

Mark and Sarah said...

I'm so so so happy to hear this update...what a frightening day. I'm so glad that he is going to be okay. I am going to relish in my kids' boisterousness today.

Ashley said...

Such a great reminder. I am so glad to hear he's okay.

Mama Papaya said...

What a horrific experience. Even knowing now that everything turned out okay, my stomach is in knots for you. So very glad all is well and so very sad it happened in the first place.

How do you think CPS would feel about me gluing a helmet to my children's heads?

Amy M. said...

Oh Deirdre, I am so sorry that you had to go through this! I just now read this and now your response to my FB post makes so much sense!
Wow, how what a scary ordeal! We are so happy to hear that he is doing so much better. My husband and I were just discussing the possibility of having our kids wear helmets on a permanent basis!
We are thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

How scary!!

I'm glad he's doing better now. Hopefully you and Greg have also recovered although I'm sure you'll never forget that terrible feeling.

Give Sidamo lots of hugs from all of us!