Friday, June 20, 2014

E Step's Grand Fall

This post is a bit tough to write, so stay with me here.  It still gives me chills to think about this, but it's life and accidents happen.  I hope by typing it up all my other parent friends can realize that these things do unfortunately happen, and there isn't much we can do to prevent it.  

Our next stop on our trip was to Rolla, Mo.  It was 6 hours from Kentucky, and was a nice and quick stop before hitting the road the next day for Oklahoma.  However, we only made it to Rolla for under an hour.  

Rolla wasn't exactly the nicest area.  The hotel we were staying at was ok, but not perfect.  Let's just say this is not a place I ever want to return to.  

As we walked into our hotel room, Daddy Step had E Step on his shoulders.  The dog bolted forward a bit, and ended up causing E Step to fall off his shoulders onto the concrete.  D Step is just under 6 feet tall, so this was quite a fall.  

We immediately knew something wasn't right.  Not only did we know that anything over 3 feet tall is a means for a hospital visit (he fell once before at that height onto a marble floor and we brought him to the ER) but he wasn't crying.  He immediately looked tired, and began whining.  This was not good.  

We rushed next door, where there was a walk in clinic.  They informed us that there were no machines there for a child, and we should to go the ER.  But as we got into the parking lot, he began going unconscious.  I rushed back inside and asked that they could call 911.  Within less than 2 minutes, there were 2 ambulances, 3 cop cars, and a fire truck.  They rushed into the room with oxygen and about 5 paramedics.  He was put on a stretcher, and loaded into the ambulance.  I rode along to the nearest hospital, while my husband brought Z Step in the car.  

At the hospital, they had to sedate him in order to get him a CT scan.  It wasn't easy watching this, but it was for his best interest, and I knew it had to be done in order to see what we were working with.  

After just a short amount of time, he was out of the machine, and in the room again while the doctors got to see the results.  They eventually came in and broke the news:  E Step had a fractured skull.  He needed to be medevaced to St. Louis Children's Hospital immediately.  

I had lost it at this point.  Everything had been just fine 30 minutes ago.  We were going to go swimming.  It happened so fast.  The worst thoughts began floating through my head, but the doctor assured me that though the fracture was very deep, there was no swelling, bleeding, or brain damage. Thank god for that, but it was still the scariest moment of my life.  

They intubated E Step for safety, it was to help prevent any kind of swelling.  I couldn't stand and watch it, so I left the room.  It didn't take them too long.  

There was not enough room for any of us in the helicopter, so we had to drive the hour and a half to St. Louis in my car.  We had already paid for our hotel in Rolla, and were not able to get our money back.  Oh well.  This was more important than that.  

Along the way we began thinking about hotels in St. Louis.  We were told we would be there at least a few days, so a hotel was needed.  The dog complicated things further, and the fact that there was a convention going on in St. Louis made things even more difficult.  After lots of searching, my brother in law found the nearest hotel- a Sheraton in Illinois.  It was 14 miles away, but it would just have to do.  

D Step dropped me off at the hospital, while he brought Z Step and the dog to the hotel.  They ended up staying there the night, while I stayed at the hospital with E Step.  

It was a tough night.  E Step wasn't fully sedated, because they had hopes of removing the respirator in the morning.  He woke occasionally and was not happy about where he was.  They had to suction him from time to time, and that woke him.  He threw up a few times as well.  And I put a blanket on him at one point.  He doesn't like blankets.  Because that was the worst of his issues at that moment.  I got no sleep that night.  Our night nurse was wonderful.  Everyone there was wonderful.  St. Louis wasn't the nicest place, but gosh their staff at that hospital were all amazing.  

The next morning, at rounds, the doctors (11 of them!) had determined it was ok to take the respirator off.  Thank goodness.  It was taken out, and he was taken off of all medications.  That was a very good sign.  They hooked him up to oxygen for a short time, just for some extra help.  He slept for another 2 hours, and D Step and Z Step arrived at that time. 

E Step woke up around 9 am that day.  He was not happy about being hooked up to the oxygen, so that was successfully removed.  Thanks to being intubated, he had a very sore throat, which was normal.  He didn't seem too upset about it, but you could tell it irritated him.  

E Step had a lot of things attached to him at this point.  2 IV's, a heart rate monitor, and they were checking his pulse.  He didn't seem too upset about them at this point, he was still a bit groggy.  He was quiet all morning, before eventually falling asleep in the afternoon.  

After lunch, we were able to drop Z Step off at their "sibling playroom."  This was a genius idea.  It was a place that I could drop Z Step off into, while we focused on E Step.  They had lots of toys, a huge slide, and a play kitchen.  He was a happy boy.  
E Step taking a nap with his favorite toy
I was exhausted at this point.  I could barely keep my eyes open, and I was grumpy.  Daddy Step held E Step, while I was able to rest a bit.  I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep, which was more than I had gotten all day.  

After picking Z Step up, we hung around for a bit before heading back to the hotel in Illinois.  The nurses were so kind, I was comfortable with leaving for a short time.  Daddy Step was going to take the night shift so I could go to the hotel with Z Step and sleep.  

After a quick bite and a shower, Z Step and I were in bed, and my mother in law was on her way.  She had flown in from Connecticut, because we were told we would be there until about saturday.  

The next morning, I woke up to good news.  E Step had a better night.  They were taking his collar brace off, and he was off the liquid diet!  They had hopes of discharging him that day, after a signature neurology!  

That day we waited.  And Waited.  And waited.  Z Step went to the children's playroom twice.  E Step started getting frustrated.  He suddenly realized he had IV's in.  He ripped his chest monitor off.  He realized they were checking his pulse with his toe.  He was irritated with being stuck in a crib all day.  He wanted to run.  He wanted to play.
E Step saying "Get me out of here!"
It took until 8:30pm for neurology to come and sign off.  We were happy to say goodbye to St. Louis Children's Hospital.  Though the staff were very friendly.  
Discharged and ready to leave this place!
We packed up that evening, very tired for the past few days.  We hit the road at 6am the next day for our trip to Oklahoma, luckily we didn't lose as much time as we thought we would.  

Bye St. Louis!  I hope to never see you again!

Accidents happen.  We had assumed that we would have some slip ups on our cross country trip.  Car trouble, or some cuts and bruises.  But nothing like this.  I still can't believe how fast it happened.  It just goes to show you how your life can change in just an instant.  We are incredibly lucky that this accident was not worse.  We are thankful for the entire staff at St. Louis Children's Hospital.  Now, let's hope this trip can continue as normal.