Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worst Day of the Year

Yesterday was a busy day in a busy week. Busier than I was expecting in the worst way.

I had a job interview at Kohl's. I want a part time job. Short term goal: extra holiday money. Long term goal: go back to school. It was a group interview. They have 50 positions for the holidays and they're interviewing about 300 people. I know I did better at the interview than at least 3 people. We'll find out in a few weeks I guess if I get the job.

With Columbus Day and school being closed on Monday my week was all thrown off. I missed the PTA meeting last night. And there are only three general meetings per year, though the officers meet more often. So that sucked.

Eric spent the day painting a gnome. We had one of those college football garden gnomes and he painted it to look like a zombie. It came out really well, but it ended up causing a whole lot of problems. We have a fairly small apartment, so he'd been painting on the kitchen table. Ugh.

After dinner the boys had a bath and when they came out I was getting them ready for bed. Lucas was in his pajamas and Matt was just getting out of the tub and getting ready to get dressed when I hear him yell, "No Lucas!"

The paint brushes were sitting in a bottle of paint thinner/brush cleaner and Lucas, taller than we realize, grabbed one right out of the bottle and apparently was sucking on it. He immediately started choking and gagging.

I thought he had drank right out the bottle and I screamed at Matt, "DID HE DRINK IT?! DID HE DRINK IT?!"

Matt nodded and I flew over to Luke, carried him into the kitchen and whipped a bottle of water out of the fridge to try to get him to drink some. He couldn't even catch his breath, started gagging more and vomiting.



I know the number to poison control, but my mind wouldn't send the numbers to my mouth. "CALL POISON CONTROL!" I screamed again, "CALL 911! CALL 911!"

Eric was already calling, heading out the door so we wouldn't lose cell service. All the while Lucas is choking and gagging and trying to vomit and I'm pretty much just dumping water on him hoping he can get a drink. I carried him outside so whatever instructions the 911 operator relayed to Eric he could tell me. An officer arrived immediately, and said NOT to try to get him to drink or induce vomiting. Within two minutes, 2 more officers and the EMTs arrived. By this time Eric was on the phone with Poison Control, reading the warnings on the bottle to them.

One of the EMTs told me to take of Lucas' shirt, that the fumes were making him choke. So we took off his shirt and he asked me to get another one for him. I ran in the house and I see Matt crying. "I'm crying because Lucas drank that stuff!"

"Don't worry, baby, he's going to be ok," I tell him as I'm ripping a shirt out of their closet. "Get dressed and you can come outside to make sure he'll be ok." Before I get back out the door, though, Eric came in.

"They're taking him to the hospital, get some diapers and wipes."

"They're going right now?"

"Yeah, hurry up!"

I grabbed a stack of diapers, a pack of wipes, stuffed them and the shirt into my bag, frantically searched for my flip flops for a second, and ran out the door. He was already loaded up into the ambulance when I climbed in. He was still crying and choking, but the vomiting stopped at least. The EMT hooked him up to the monitors and had me hold a hose of oxygen near his face, since he was way too worked up to get the nose thing on. The EMT gave directions to the hospital to the driver and told him to use the lights. A few minutes later though, he yelled, "Where the fuck are you going?! I told you to turn left here!" He apologized right away. He wasn't with his usual partner, didn't much care for this one, and it showed.

"Where are we going?" He told me the hospital we were going to, and I knew there were at least two, possible three closer. "Why aren't we going to Easton Hospital?" It would have been only minutes away.

"Easton Hospital isn't equipped as well for pediatric emergencies. If he hadn't been breathing or needed immediate life saving care, we would have gone there, but after he was stabilized we would have moved him anyway," he explained to me patiently.

The trip took about 20 minutes. I ended up having to lay on the gurney with Lucas on top of me to get him to calm down. He was almost asleep when we got to the hospital, but obviously he wasn't going to be able to sleep once we got there. The doctors and nurses got him situated in a bed and we took his pants off so they could stick more wires to him. I was barraged with questions: How old is she? Are her shots up to date? How much does she weigh?

Eighteen months, yes, about 27 pounds, and he's a BOY, we just never got his hair cut yet.

He got upset over all the fuss again while I was asked how much he drank. I couldn't say. I knew the bottle wasn't full, it didn't look like he drank any of it to me, but Matt said that he did, so I just told them I didn't know, but it couldn't have been more than a sip. They took the bottle away, to send it to toxicology I guess.

After awhile they came in to x ray his lungs. I thought they would pump his stomach or something, but they didn't. Apparently the damage to his lungs was the serious issue. When they came back with the results they said his lungs looked clear, but sometimes it took awhile for the damage to show so they were going to do another x ray at 2am, and if that came back clear then we could go home right away.

With this news I called Eric, who was at home frantic, learning all kinds of horrible facts about paint thinners and the number one killer of infants in the poison category. He threw all of his paints and model cars waiting to be painted in the trash. I could hear it in his voice that he blamed himself. Perhaps rightfully so, but accidents happen.

Lucas settled in pretty well. Someone gave him a little stuffed bear, made by a volunteer I'm guessing, out of Halloween themed fabric. He doesn't usually cling to stuffed animals, but he LOVED this bear last night. We turned on the TV, let him watch the Nick Jr. channel, and in a short time he was giggling and pressing buttons on the remote and throwing things off the bed for me to fetch. My mother in law came to the hospital to give me some company and to take us home after his second x ray, but around 11:30 or midnight Lucas threw up again. I called to the nurses at the the station right outside our room. They helped get him cleaned up, got us new linens and a clean gown for him and he settle right back down. Unfortunately, the doctor decided to keep him overnight instead of releasing us at two.

They moved out of the pediatric ER up to the pediatric unit and got us settled in AGAIN. Lucas didn't fall asleep until around 1am, only to be woken up by the x ray techs around 2:30. He fell asleep right away, though, so it wasn't so bad. Time doesn't pass the same way in the hospital. The room was dark and the hallway was bright, so I don't know what time it was when someone came in to check his vitals. I woke up as soon as the door squeaked open. "Do you know how his x ray was?" I asked the nurse. She didn't. Morning came, and I was still disoriented with lack of sleep and the lighting in our room. Lucas was still sleeping when the door squeaked again. His x rays had come back clear, and he could probably go home before lunch time I was told. I called home to share the news with Eric and talk to Matt. "Lucas had to get a x ray?" he asked me.

"Yup, the doctors are taking good care of him so we can come home later."


"Are you getting ready for school?"

"Yeah, I feeded the cat and made my bed."

"Did you brush your teeth yet?"

"Oh, I have to give Daddy the phone so I can brush my teeth!"

My mother in law came back, with the biggest balloon in the gift shop, a new toy, and a pair of pants and hoodie for Lucas. Breakfast was delivered.  They put him on a clear diet: chicken broth, orange jello, apple juice, and some orange ice. Lucas only ate the jello and drank the apple juice, but he kept it down. By 11am, we were finally on our way home.

We ate lunch and all took a nap. Lucas seemed to be running a fever, but I think he was just warm from sleeping. He's been fine all day, acting his same old self. On Friday we have to go to his pediatrician for a follow up.

SOOO, everything seems to be turning out fine. Just another adventure in motherhood, another few years off my life, a few more gray hairs on my head, and Eric is filled with guilt. Crazy how an instant can turn everything into chaos.


  1. Oh my gosh, how super scary for all of you! So glad your little guy was fine in the end.

    It's tough not to blame yourself when an accident like this happens, but they DO happen all the time! Hopefully in time Eric will make peace, it's so hard to carry around that guilt. :\

  2. Wow! Been there. Stopping by from the blog hop

  3. I'm so glad he was okay! It's scary when the little ones get hurt. When my three-year-old was about 18 months old she was bit in the face by my MIL's dog. Scariest moment of my life. Then, of course, we start blaming ourselves after the accident. Let your husband know that it's okay, and he doesn't need to feel guilty - accidents happen.

    So scary! Let us know how his follow-up goes.

  4. Wow, I was so anxious just reading this story. I can't imagine going through that. I'm so glad he's okay!

  5. Oh my goodness, I know my mind would have gone blank immediately too from panic. So glad he is okay, I know having your child in the ER overnight must have been terrifying. Poor Eric. We all make mistakes, hope he doesn't carry the guilt around too long...

  6. That's really scary! Glad Lucas is okay after all. I remember picking up the laundry measuring cup and drinking like 1 drop of bleach. My mom was just doing the laundry and walked away for a second. I remember her reaction when she saw me, but I don't remember what, if anything, she did about it. I don't remember anything bad so I guess it was good there was only a drop left.Wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog this morning. Feel free to come back from time to time. I love visitors!

  7. How horrifying. Glad that he is okay. Don't beat yourself up or let Eric beat himself up to much. Like you said accidents happen.

    The best thing is he's okay.


  8. OMG Nicole, how scary! So glad Lucas is ok and feeling better. I hope Matt is ok as well. It must have been pretty scary for him too.

  9. OMG! That was really scary!

    Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  10. WOW, how scary. I hope you all are OK now and that Eric is not blaming hisself as that is not good. Trust me as I lost my daughter when she was 16 and I blamed myself and it made me miserable and no one should do that as accidents do happen.


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