Thursday, February 25, 2010

A trauma that wasn't and a trauma that was.

Forty-Eight hours after a very scary day I'm ready to write about it. I need to write it down so my kids have something to look back on to see how God worked in our lives. So here it is.

I was coming home from working in Ainsley's classroom. The boys were at my sweet neighbors (thanks Tracy!) and I needed more dishwasher detergent. (the exciting life I lead) Tracy had told me she could keep the boys a few extra minutes so I could run to the store after my time at school. So with Reagan I was going to run into Bi-Mart in Damascus really quick. This meant rather than turning right out onto highway 212 like I would going home, I was turning left. I came up to the stoplight, stared right at the green light and slowly came to a complete stop. I had some internal dialogue going on in my head and was completely driving on auto-pilot. I have no idea why I stopped, but just as I was staring at that green left turn arrow slowing down to a stop my attention was grabbed by a loud, long horn from a semi-truck. A big, red, semi comes flying down hwy 212 and right through the intersection. As he was right in front of me I actually had brief eye contact with the driver and he put one hand up in the air and I think he might have been mouthing "sorry," although honestly I might have made the sorry part up in my head. I'm not sure. As he flew through the intersection I looked up to the light above him and it was of course as red as red gets. I looked back over to my green light, and slowly think, "wait, why am I stopped?" Right then my light changes to yellow. Then to red. I sat there through that red light and process the fact that had I gone through the green light like I should have, that semi-truck would have hit me full speed right on my door and the door behind me where Reagan was. I keep thinking about that really old Amy Grant song Angels Watching Over Me and the line, "Near misses all around me, accidents unknown. Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home." All I can do right now with tears in my eyes it thank the Lord that I get to be here another day. That was only the first time on Tuesday I got to see God at work.

I went on to Bi-Mart, got my dish soap, and picked up the boys. I came home, nursed Reagan then got out the crock-pot to get dinner ready. Just as I was opening the refrigerator my phone rang. My heart skipped a beat when the caller ID was from the school. When Kathy, the secretary, started talking I knew something wasn't good. She said Ainsley had fallen off the bars at school and had walked in from the playground but was having a hard time breathing and they couldn't quite tell what was wrong. She thought her back and stomach hurt, and that she hit her head. I said I would be right there. I put the little kids right in the car and headed to the school. Ironically, just as I was turning through the intersection from the near-miss this morning happened my cell phone rang and it was Kathy again, she said, "Tiffany we are calling 9-1-1." Not the type of thing you want to hear.

I was almost there so I beat the paramedics to the school. I parked and left the 3 little kids in the car and ran in the school. Ainsley was in the health room with the principal, secretaries, and the school counselor. I sat down next to hear and she wasn't moving and gasping for breath and prayed out loud for her. I prayed she would be okay, I prayed for the paramedics coming to take care of her, and for peace for her and for me. The paramedics came and started assessing her. In the interest of not making this blog post a novel I'll skip some of the details but they were concerned she could have a spinal injury, head injury, respiratory injury, or internal injuries. That is just not good. They strapped her down on a stretcher and took her out to the ambulance.

I had called Andrew, he rushed out of Barlow and was on his way to us. The staff at Ainsley's school was amazing, the school counselor and the secretaries took care of my little kids. They went out and were with them in the car, and then after Ainsley and I left in the ambulance, they brought them in and took care of them until Andrew got there. When Andrew got to the school he went in and got Ainsley's lunch and had them feed that to Hudson, then left him there to go on into kindergarten. He took Camden over to our neighbors (thanks again Tracy) and headed out with Reagan to the hospital. From the ambulance I called Arlene, my mother-in-law, and she was a saint and jumped in her car to come to our house from Salem so she could pick up Camden and be there when Hudson got home from school.

At first the paramedics said I had to ride in the front of the ambulance. But Ainsley's breathing was getting worse and he decided he was going to put an IV in as we were driving so he said, "your nice and calm and will help her be calm so as long as you are going to stay under control you can ride back here with her." We left the school and headed in towards Gresham, it had been about 5 minutes and Ainsley's breathing wasn't getting any better. Suddenly her blood pressure went up to 140 something over something I don't remember. Then it dropped down to 70 something again over something I don't remember - it is a blur. He started feeling her stomach again and said it was really hard and he was listening to it and said he couldn't hear any digestive noises, which he should have been able to. He then called up to the driver and told him to turn on the lights.

Evidently, "turn on the lights" also means go really, really fast. Suddenly we were going through town at about 70 mph and one thing I learned is that city streets aren't made for going 70. When you go 70 on the freeway it feels right, through town it is a bumpy, wild ride. Another thing is the siren on an ambulance is MUCH louder when you are actually in the ambulance. Wow.

The paramedic yelled over the noise to me and said, we are going to re-rout to Emmanuel because we need to get her into the trauma unit. Okay. More praying. I just kept praying outloud for her to be okay and for her to have peace, and to know that Jesus loves her and God was in control of everything.

He put oxygen on her and had an IV going. After he radioed ahead again to the hospital that we were 10 minutes out he explained to me what was going to happen. He told me a trauma unit would be waiting to take her right in. He had told them he thought she had internal injuries, he was guessing her liver or spleen because he could feel on the sides where her kidneys were and they felt okay. He said that a child her age wouldn't have muscles as tight as she had and so he thought that there was internal bleeding and that is why he couldn't hear anything. He said that if they thought they had lots of time they would do a sonogram to look, if they were more worried they would get her into a CT scan, and if her vitals continued to be really bad (her blood pressure was still weird and her pulse was really high) they would skip both of those and just assume there were internal injuries that they needed to fix and would take her right to exploratory surgery. He said he thought she would need to go right to surgery because kids often are okay for a little bit like she was, but then (his words) "crash" really quickly.

Just as we were passing the Rose Garden, so getting close to the hospital, her breathing started getting much better. She had enough breath to say a few words and the panic that was on her face from that horrible feeling of not being able to get enough air started to relax.

When we pulled up the the hospital it was just like you see on TV- a trauma doctor and a group of nurses were waiting right at the door and just surrounded Ainsley and began assessing her. A social worker immediately came and got me and started explaining that I wouldn't be able to be with her in the room they were taking her into. I said no problem, started talking with her and giving her my insurance card. After about one minute she said, your fine actually, so I can take you in with her. She brought me in the room and a nurse explained that we were going to go down to do a CT scan. Ainsley's breathing had settled down so much, and she was answering their questions. In the scan room they told me I could stay with her if I remained calm, otherwise she would be in there alone. The nurse said as long as Ainsley stayed calm they wouldn't have to sedate her for the scan, so if I could stay with her and keep her calm it would be best for her. Ainsley did great and did exactly what they told her to do. She had to hold so still, despite the scary situation, and did an amazing job. We were in doing the scan within about 4 minutes of arriving at the hospital. (on a side note, love the medical system-don't mess it up government)

As the scan was being read her vital signs continued to improve and they took her off the oxygen. She was talking breathing so much better. They came in to tell us about the scan and they had found some fluid in her abdomen but they didn't think there were any major injuries. The tightness in her stomach was in fact just her muscles that were so tight after the hard fall. They said she was in respiratory distress, that basically she had the wind-knocked out of her times about 10. He lungs had taken such a hit that there were spasms happening that were preventing her from being able to breath well. The oxygen in the ambulance had helped get her out of the spasms and helped stabilize her. They took her off the spinal injury board and un-strapped her head (to her great relief). They said they would keep her overnight to observe her, and she flipped out the most she did the entire time. She WAS NOT staying in the hospital over night.

The doctor finally agreed she could go home, (like Cyndi said, very few people walk out of the trauma unit) and she has a huge bump on the back of her head (we think she hit the bars on the way down, because she couldn't have gotten that bump from the bark-dusted ground) and her back and chest are really sore, but she is okay. She was up for much of the night on Tuesday night because her body hurt, (and emotionally she was a bit shook) but she wanted desperately to go to school on Wednesday (Wednesday is library day). One of her main worries in the hospital was a project that she needed to finish and it wouldn't be done because she wasn't there that afternoon. Her precious, amazing teacher put the project in her backpack and sent it home with Hudson, saving us much emotional turmoil.

Her other big concern is that she doesn't want the other kids to make a big deal at school about what happened. So... if you are reading this and are the parent of a friend of my little love, don't share the story with them. Again, her wonderful teacher protected this and kept it quiet so she didn't have to deal with it much the next day. It was okay with her for me to write about it, but she just doesn't want to talk about it much.

The lessons I learned on Tuesday? The first is God is good, God is good, God is good. Keep saying that 800,000 more times and it doesn't quite do it justice. The second is life is so precious. The third is that staying calm in scary situations really does pay off. I was able to make it so much less traumatic for Ainsley because I was able to be with her almost the whole time. Had I flipped out (like would have been easy to do) I wouldn't have been able to be close to her during everything.

I so thank Arlene for coming to our house so I didn't have to worry about the boys, Tracy for taking Camden on literally a moments notice, and the staff at school- they were so great. It is pretty wonderful to have teachers at the school telling you they are praying, and Ainsley's teacher gave her a card and stuffed animal the next day. We also so appreciate the prayers of everyone who prayed, my parents church and Tennille's church were praying. It all happened so fast and my phone calls were just to our parents and making child care arrangements, so I didn't even get Cornerstone called! God knows all of you would have prayed had you known what was happening :) . (did that last paragraph sound like I was accepting some award?)

Anyway- Hug your kids. Praise the Lord.


Megan said...

Wow, what a scary day and praise the Lord for His protection. I am so glad that everything is okay. I wanted to ask you about this yesterday at the birthday party when you said Ainsley had to go to ER but I had a flare up (rheumatoid arthritis) in my jaw and I was in a lot of pain when I tried to talk. I didn't mean to be rude and not make more conversation. Again, I am praising God with you that everything is okay.

Wilson Family said...

With tears streaming dowm my face, I'm so very thankful that the Lord kept you all safe in what otherwise could have been a tragic day! Amazed that you were able to stay so calm - another gift from God! Thanks for sharing your story Tiffany!!

Alicia said...

Praise God, indeed! I am so thankful that He protected you, Reagan, and Ainsley. Tears rolled down my face as I read your story. This is definitely one to share over the years with your kids (and others) as evidence of God's faithfulness.

Greg and Andrea said...

Tears are streaming here, too. Your experience brought back all those scary memories from when I had to go with 7-day-old Joel in an ambulance to Emanuel. God IS good, and life IS precious. So thankful Ainsley is ok (and you, too!). Wow.

Alyssa said...

Wow! Holding back the tears while reading your amazing story. Reminds me of an emergency trip to Emanuel with my son when he was 6 months old. Scary stuff, but God was able to calm my nerves then just like he did with you. God is so good. So thankful that Ainsley is ok...what a sweet girl she is.

P.S. I sing that Amy Grant song in my head often after near misses in my car.

Stephanie L. said...

If my girls were up, I'ld hug them a little longer, and a little tighter! Praise God for His protection over your entire family that day. And thank God, also, for amazing neighbors and family. The Trauma staff at Emanuel are amazing (I've worked with a lot of them), and I know how much we love it when patients and their families are a little more calm than the last guy! See you tomorrow afternoon. Steph

tlc said...

Tiffany, I am so thankful for God's protection of you and Ainsley. I am thankful for the ability and sense to be able to pray "in public" for Ainsley. I am thankful for a neighbor like you, and I am thankful for your help yesterday with our little emergency. love you!

MarySue said...

We have been adding our prayers to yours and am most grateful to hear of the blessed outcome.