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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The TV Version Is More Fun

"9-1-1.  What is your emergency?"

If these are the words you hear when someone answers your phone call, you have found yourself in one of three situations:

Situation 1:  You are a pre-schooler who found mommy's iPhone.  In which case you should hand that magic rectangle back to mommy.  After you do, mention to her that you found a terrific blog for her to follow.  And that you can read.

Situation 2:  You are a middle schooler with too much time on your hands and too little of a conscience.  Prank calling 9-1-1 is not a good way to spend the summer.  It makes for a poor "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" essay, and it's just dumb on a variety of levels.  There are much better ways to pass your time.  For example, you could read through the archives of this blog.  You could also brainstorm the nicest ways to lose the idiot friends who told you prank calling 9-1-1 is fun.

Situation 3:  You are a legitimate 9-1-1 caller.  "9-1-1.  What is your emergency?" have become both the most horrifying and the most glorious words you have ever heard.

Sunday evening, I found myself hovering in a Situation 3 scenario.

Let me preface this story by saying that my "emergency" falls very low on the Emergency Spectrum.  It might not even make it on the spectrum.  I say this because I don't want anyone thinking I am so devoid of perspective as to consider what I'm about to tell you akin to something like a gun shot wound or a heart attack or any of the other seriously life-threatening and awfully scary things that get wheeled into the ER all to frequently.

Let me also say that everyone involved in this story turns out fine.  I say this because most people who read this are related to me, and I don't want them prematurely spending their winnings from my will.  I AM NOT TYPING THIS FROM THE AFTER-LIFE.  (Although how cool of a post would THAT be?!?  I'll work on it....).

So here's what happened.

I took my kids for an afternoon dip at the pool since it was such a humid Sunday afternoon in Maine that the trees were sweating.  When we got home, I took my son upstairs to change his diaper.  I debated letting him stay clothes-free for dinner; however, his crawl strategy is akin to a marine's forearm-only beach-storm crawl, and when he is shirtless, that makes for some painful skin-to-floor contact.  I decided to find him a t-shirt.

I therefore propped my son into a sitting position on the changing table.  I placed one hand on his legs so as to prevent him from hoisting himself over the ledge.  I used my free hand to open a changing table drawer and extract the t-shirt I was thinking of putting on him.

White.  Atlanta Falcons logo.  Size 12M, allowing for a little breathability on this hot, hot evening.

It took me a few extra seconds to find the t-shirt, as it was buried under all the other clothes I had recently shoved into the drawer.

Finally, I found it, and I stood up to put it on him.

Imagine my surprise when I clapped eyes on my son and saw him sitting with the cap of the Infant's Advil bottle in one hand and the Infant's Advil bottle in the other.

An important fact at this point in the story is that the Infant's Advil bottle was completely empty.  Dry as a bone.  Desert like.

Another important fact at this point in the story is that before those ten seconds of me shirt-searching had elapsed, that bottle had some medicine in it.  I can't remember how much, but there was some.  More than a single dose.

That's right.  My son had twist-a-rooed his torso towards the back of his changing table.  His hands seized upon the Infant's Advil bottle.  Then they figured out how to open the "childproof" cap.  Then they hoisted that bottle to his greedy lips, and he sucked that shit down like the writhing, teething, drooling, curious maniac that he is.

He did all that in or around 10 seconds.

Take that, Usain Bolt.  You may be the fastest man alive, but I think I've birthed the fastest fool-headed baby alive.

What followed was the typical Parenting Amusement Ride.  A fast and steady crashing decent into confusion and panic, followed by a slight leveling-off facilitated by Having A Plan, ending with a slow and deliberate rise towards relief.

I knew the bottle hadn't been full.  As best I could recall, it was half full.  I knew I tend towards over-reacting, but I also didn't want to tell myself to let the good times roll and "keep calm" our way into an even worse predicament.  My husband and I decided to err on the side of caution.  We made the call.

"9-1-1.  What is your emergency?"

The paramedics arrived within minutes of our call and were incredibly nice and reassuring.  My son got buckled into a car seat which was then strapped onto a gurney in the ambulance.  I rode with him to the hospital, with my husband and daughter in the car behind us.  During the ride, the paramedics called Poison Control, who told us that Infant's Advil is not toxic.  So we knew immediately he wasn't in any serious danger.  Still, we continued on to the hospital.

As we were getting admitted, we were treated to scenes of not one, but two, grown men being brought in during what I can only guess was an incredibly un-fun high.  The two men arrived separately, but both were moaning, crying, and in need of restraints.  My son stared at them from his gurney and shook his soccer ball rattle at them.  It didn't seem to help.

The doctor's were wonderful and weren't at all condescending about the fact that we were taking up their time with foolishness while other people needed their help dealing with the ants that were eating their eyeballs.  My son only needed fluids to flush the medicine out, and we needed to be on the lookout for him changing colors or becoming lethargic.  I reassured the doctors that if my son started changing colors or becoming lethargic, I would definitely be in touch.

Please don't take any aspect of this story as medical advice or tips for when your son opens the hatch and knocks back a shot of pain relievers.  I am not a doctor and I was not taking notes when people who are doctors were talking to me.

I can tell you, though, that I should not have left the medicine on his changing table -- even though it was capped.  And I should have Poison Control's number in an accessible place in my home.  Both of those tiny steps could probably have saved us a trip to the Emergency Room.

Because, while the trip wasn't traumatic and we had a terrifically benign event, it wasn't really what I would call a good way to spend a Sunday night.

I can also confirm that George Clooney does not work in our ER.  Nor does Patrick Dempsey, even though he is from Maine.  Which is kind of prick-ish of him, if you ask me.


  1. pretty scary, glad Mateo is okay. I wonder if his kindred sole (Mateo the rooster) felt empathy pains in his coop in el valle On a seperate, but related note... interesting that those on your will will get a windfall from your demise (say that 3 times fast). how do i get on that?

    1. Callate broder. No seas absurdo. La plata me tocaria a mi. Pero no te preocupes, yo te daria un poquito.

  2. My husband's grandmother likes to shake her medicine bottles at the kids and tell them, "See this? Don't touch it!" While laughing.

    This has nothing to do with your story, just wanted to share.

    Great meeting you last week at BlogHer!