Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Now I know

Growing up there were a few stories my folks told me about near death experiences my sister and I went through. There was one where my parents both felt something was wrong upstairs; a sixth sense, intuition, call it what you want but they got to my sister's room and she'd turned blue. My dad picked her up and gave the good old fashioned slap and blue turned back to pink. Horrible stuff.

Then there was the time, as a 3 year old I casually climbed onto the window sill of my first floor bedroom and was happily playing whilst looking out of the open window. Seeing me, my sister quickly went downstairs to fetch my parents, who rushed back upstairs and plucked me from my perch before I plopped out and changed history.

The most told story is one involving a boiled sweet. The kind of sweet you don't give to small children. Happily sucking away, I must have sucked a wee bit too hard just at the time the sweet had sufficiently reduced in size and at its slipperiest and it got stuck. I'm told I started choking and waving frantically. Blinded by panic, my mum screamed for Len, our ageing builder at the time, who promptly turned me upside down and administered an almighty whack which dislodged the sweet and allowed me to start breathing again.

Whilst interested, I guess I always dismissed the stories as moments in my life like the first day at a new school or removing the stabilisers. It wasn't until yesterday, I realised how my parents would have felt or the potential alternative route things may have taken, had the correct action not been taken or worked properly.

I mentioned that Jake had taken his first steps on yesterday's post and now we're encouraging him to try it on his own, get more confidence. I was home at lunchtime yesterday and he was standing next to his cot and holding on to the bars. As a test I got one of his favourite toys (moo cow) and sat on the bed opposite, beckoning. To my amazement, he let go of the bars and walked directly over to me and his bovine prize. I walked him straight away to go to tell mummy who was hovering our bathroom. I propped him up against our bed and was telling her all about this genius she bore when I heard a huge thud.

Jake had started walking along the side of the bed until he got to the bit which is covered with a sort of silk throw thing which covers the duvet. This tends to slide off our bed during the night as it is pretty lightweight, so it's not much surprise that Jake grabbing it would have the same result. Problem was that he was balancing off of it.

Ordinarily when he falls over, there's a split second and the crying and tears start. This time, nothing, I picked him and he made the face I never want to see again. It's the face he pulls when he's about to unleash hell. Mouth open, red face, wide eyes, lungs full and poised. As I held him up it was as if he'd been frozen in time. For what was about 5 seconds, but felt considerably longer, he held the pre-scream look. Didn't blink, breathe or move a muscle. We instantly knew this was a worse than usual bang to the head. I moved him into my arms and he went from bright red to milk white, his eyes rolling back in his head. His breathing was going from not at all to shallow half breaths. We were quickly onto 999 and trying to hold it together. Adrenalin kicked in and we were both shaking.

The operator told us to lie him down and as I put him on the sofa the scream came. To say I was relieved to hear it is a huge understatement. Crying equals breathing and breathing equals, among other things, not dying. The ambulance turned up a few minutes later and by the time the paramedics came in, he was even half smiling. We felt a bit fraudulent but they said we'd done the right thing and they took him to hospital for the relevant checks. After two rounds of eye, blood, oxygen and head massage checks, naturally separated by a three hour wait in a sweaty pediatric A & E unit, he was given the all clear and we went on our way.

Considering how much hospital time we've had, this was the first unplanned 'emergency' visit we've made. I know some people seem to live at A & E just for a bruised knee or a runny nose, but that's what it's there for and you only get to experience how good the system is when you need it most.

So there's the first story we'll be boring Jake with when he gets older. The first of many he won't really appreciate until his first born goes arse over tit and smashes his head on the floor.

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