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.