Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another Call to 911

My younger son had a fall injury which resulted in 911 being called the other day. That makes two 911 visits in ten days.

The day was going smoothly and as planned. We did our homeschooling in the morning. We ate lunch and cleaned it up. Another homeschooling family was on their way over for a playdate. We decided to make cookies to serve warm during the playdate. My older son asked to make them by himself (with me overseeing him). We were all within five feet of each other in the kitchen

The phone rang. It was another homeschooling mother talking with me to make plans for next week for something for our boys and us to do together.

Suddenly I heard a blood-curdling scream from my younger son. You know that cry that kids do that you know means “something is very wrong”, well, this was actually worse than that kind of cry. I turned to see that he was lying on the tile floor. I hung up the phone quickly and asked what happened.

My older son said his brother had boosted himself up on the kitchen counter and island, one hand on each side and was swinging his legs forward and backward, and then he slipped and fell. (This is not something that I ‘let’ my kids do, by the way, it is not a normal thing they do all the time.)

My younger son popped up and then said he couldn’t walk and grabbed at his back and kind of collapsed into my arms (I was now sitting on the floor to be down on his level). He was still screaming then the screaming stopped. Then he was gasping for air and croaking out, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” which sounded odd as his full voice was not there.

This all happened very quickly, believe me.

I asked where it hurt and he pointed to his spine and ribcage on his back. I looked and it looked normal, no blood, no bones popping out of the skin or anything odd looking.

(I thought at first he slipped and banged his ribs on the edge of the granite counter. I later clarified he fell directly to the floor and hit his ribs and spine on the floor itself.)

I tried to comfort him but he was gasping and still not breathing in and he had a panicked expression on his face.

I barked to my older son to call 911 now. My thought was maybe a rib was fractured and punctured a lung or something. I didn’t know what could be wrong but I didn’t want to fool around with not breathing or spinal injuries.

My older son put down the measuring spoon and went to the phone. He was fumbling with the phone. Calling out was not going well.

Then my younger son could breathe and talk and he said he was fine. He pushed up and jumped up and said, ‘Look I am fine’.

I told my older son to hang up the phone, as he was not yet speaking to 911, and I figured there was no need to ask their help.

As I assessed my younger son he seemed alright. Then Police called and inquired why we called 911. I was explaining it and saying he seemed alright now and we didn’t need them. I was told, “We are coming anyway, now.” And then the call was ended by them.

I set my younger son up with an ice pack on his back and had him lay down.

Then a Police Officer arrived and began questioning me and my younger son.

Then the doorbell rang and it was my friend and her kids, for the playdate. I let them in. An ambulance siren was heard in the distance.

Then the doorbell rang again and I went and got it. A paramedic or someone with the ambulance came in and began questioning all over again.

Then the doorbell rang again and it was an EMT or the ambulance driver or a volunteer EMT, I’m not sure.

Questions and more questions went on about how this happened.

Then my neighbor was in my kitchen, panting. She said she saw the police and ambulance and didn’t know what happened. She thought maybe I was having another allergic reaction to a bee sting or something else bad was going on. I calmed her down, said what happened and then she left, on her way to an appointment.

The Police Officer then questioned why my kids were not in school. I said we homeschooled and he got a weird look on his face, shot a look to one of the medical guys and just said, “Oh.”. I then added that this other family was over for a playdate, that they homeschool their two kids also. I thought maybe that would explain that all four kids were not mine and also that I’m not the only one around here who homeschools.

There was also a discussion of how we had called 911 last week for my bee sting allergy incident. These medical guys said they had just gotten off their 3pm shift and had just missed the call to my house for my bee sting.

My son was feeling fine and the ambulance guy said he thought my son ‘had the wind knocked out of him’ by the fall. I said I’d follow up with our Pediatrician if necessary and that I didn’t see a need to go to the ER by ambulance. They left.

My son said he felt fine and immediately wanted to get up and go play. I made him lay there with the ice pack for about ten more minutes then I let him play. He resumed total normal activity and was fine. There is no bruise and so far (48 hours later) there are no other symptoms.

I am happy and relieved that my son was not seriously injured.

However after they left I felt uneasy about the fact that I felt I was being overly-questioned to screen to see if they felt my son was the victim of child abuse. Also I felt weird about how we were questioned about the kids not being in public school. I have never, ever, in this state felt so paranoid or fearful about homeschooling as I do this year. There is just too much false alleging of educational neglect or truancy from public school going on in this state. I don’t appreciate being screened by people untrained in Connecticut homeschool law about why my kids are not in public school on school days.

That night when speaking to my husband about this, he asked if I’d ever had “the wind knocked out of me” and I said no. He said he had, when he was younger, and said it is a horrible feeling that you can’t breathe and you want to breathe but you just can’t. Then the breath comes back suddenly, and you are alright. He said it happened to him after he fell on his back.

I just looked this up on the Internet and found a Wikipedia article that explains that when a person is struck with sudden force on the abdomen or back the ‘wind gets knocked out of them’ which is actually a temporary paralysis of the diaphragm which prevents normal breathing. Here is that article. (I never knew this!)

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Welcome to the 'burbs! said...

Well goodness, don't you have exciting days! ;-)

We used to live next door to Paramedics...that was soooo convenient. hehee


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I'm so thankful that I've never had to call 911.

And I completely understand how you feel about the questioning. I have bouts of that 'homeschooler paranoia' myself.

I'm glad everything is alright at your house and I hope nothing comes of the over-questioning.