My Nightmare Before Christmas: A Child in Crisis
Running Thoughts #87
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Question of the Week:
Do you really know what you want?
Friday, 5:23pm: That's when the paramedics walked into the room.
I was sitting on the living room floor, stroking my baby's left leg and back, praying she would continue breathing.
A few hours earlier, I picked my daughter up early from daycare. Early dismissal for the upcoming holiday. Normally, I pick her up between 5-5:30pm.
She'd had a great week with extra playtime outside during the holiday week. That girl cannot get enough outside time running, pushing bikes, or tossing balls.
It's when she is most alive.
We returned home to a clean, stocked house, ready to host Christmas.
My wife took first watch while I returned to work. Watching Peppa the Pig, my daughter lazily watched TV with her head on my mama's lap.
That lethargy should’ve been our first sign something was wrong.
At 4:45, my wife and I swapped positions. I draped a blanket over my daughter’s little body to keep her warm with the cold air.
10 minutes later, the girl was heating up so I removed the blanket.
Then, she was blazing.
That’s when shit got crazy.
I picked my daughter up, and while her eyes continued to follow the TV, she was deadweight in my arms.
I called my wife asking for the thermometer and heard a clicking sound coming from my daughter; like something was lodged in her throat.
A moment later, my shirt was covered in large chunks of canteloupe and cheese (apparently, her chewing is just for show).
Recognizing something was horribly wrong and she was likely having a seizure, I carried my daughter to the living room floor.
My wife threw a blanket down to catch any further vomit. Fortunately, my shirt caught it ALL.
5:09pm: That's when I took the first critical look at my watch. It’d already been five minutes or longer.
My daughter's lower half was limp. Her eyes were staring death into the floor while her arms flailed. I held her on her side, softly massaging and preventing her from choking on more vomit.
5:13pm: My wife finally got through to 911, after two or three minutes of ringing. The situation would've been comical if it wasn't for my baby girl lying there on the floor.
I listened to my wife and the operator.
Help was coming.
My wife told the operator she was opening the door as the ambulance was on the next street over.
Seconds later, I heard the front door open and my wife screaming at a car stopped IN FRONT OF OUR DRIVEWAY to make way for the ambulance!
"They're coming for us!"
"Get out of the way!"
5:23pm: The paramedics walked into the room.
It'd been nearly 20 minutes since everything started.
It'd only been 20 minutes since everything started.
Immediately, I was surrounded by a team acting with surgical precision. While I described the situation to this point, they were smoother than any military team I've worked with as each member glided into place and executed their role.
One paramedic checked breathing. Another attached chords to monitor vitals. One tested blood sugar.
A quick ask for permission and a minute later, my daughter was sedated.
The flailing came to a halt.
She appeared to be in a dead sleep, her face still staring toward the floor.
They were taking her to the hospital.
Remaining calm throughout, I slowly crawled backward and for the first time, my legs trembled as I left my daughter surrounded and fully entrusted to these operators.
The lead paramedic was so locked in on my daughter, only now did he realize vomit was all down my shirt.
My wife went with the ambulance while I cleaned up and followed after.
Two days before Christmas, there was still rush-hour traffic.
C’mon, let’s go, LET’S GO!
My daughter was out for nearly 20 minutes.
How bad was the damage?
She just said cheese for the first time an hour before the crash.
Would she speak again?
6:23pm: I finally got to the hospital. My daughter was asleep alone, her tiny body on the big bed. And, we were fully on hospital time. Nothing moves quickly in a hospital.
The staff woke her up for the initial and routine tests. While she came alive trying to steal a nurse's stethoscope, she remained deathly silent and went back to sleep afterward.
8:01pm: The attending Dr. had me wake my daughter up again. She was responsive and all tests came back negative. A few minutes later, she was holding a Ziploc full of veggie straws with one hand and grabbing them out with the other.
Her motor functions were normal.
8:40pm: I stepped out to use the bathroom and was told she said "Dadda" as soon as I left the room.
Then she asked her mama and me for some "aqua."
Oh, my girl.
Two days later, it was Christmas.
Exhausted from the previous two days, we weren't hosting. Another bout of lethargy and fever on Christmas morning said we weren't going anywhere, either.
My wife prepared Christmas dinner for the three of us.
My daughter happily scarfed down her corn and mashed potatoes.
Like a dream, I couldn't ask for anything more.
Photo of the Week:
Hold your family tight and have a happy New Year!
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