Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Micah's Major Mishap

When we made our Summer to-do list in May, one of the activities most anticipated was our trip to Jumpstreet.
image from their website, here

Yards and yards of tumble tracks turned up at the ends.  Three giant inflatable bounce toys.  A foam pit.  A dodge ball court.  Every kid's dream.

I piled all five kids in the Suburban, drove through Taco Bell for their mega 12-pack, and we made the 25-minute drive out to Chandler.

Lucky for us, when we arrived very few people had the same plan for the day--the place was deserted.  My kids were in heaven and they scattered in every direction.  Evie and I headed for the couch in the little kid area, made ourselves comfortable, and began laughing at the antics.

Our exciting adventure ended within five minutes.  I didn't see it, but Micah came speeding down one of the inflatables, hit a weird angle and careened off at an uncontrollable direction, landing smack on the back of his head.  I looked up to see him staggering drunkenly towards me, crying.  A lady behind him described what she'd seen, adding, "It was really loud."

For the record, I consider myself an experienced mom.  I've done concussions before--four times, in fact.  Twice with Ben on the football field, once with Lily off a kitchen chair, and once with Heidi at gymnastics.  I know what to watch for and what the warning signs are.  He never lost consciousness.  He never threw up.  His pupils were equal, small, and reactive.  Younger, less experienced me would have freaked out, but with all these other head injuries under my belt, I was pretty calm. 

He landed on the couch next to me, with his head in my lap.  He cried for a while and refused to go play or even sit up because it hurt too much.  After about fifteen minutes, we moved to another chair where we could watch the big kids on the tumble tracks.  He fell asleep (for those of you less experienced head injury folks, it's okay if kids fall asleep for a little while after a head injury, as long as they can be wakened and are reactive as they sleep--twitch, move, whatever), and I stayed close as I cheered the other kids.  He slept for about ten minutes, then popped up, ready to bounce, jump and go crazy.  I let him try, but it was too much for his head, so we got ready to leave--this was about 45 minutes since his fall.  We piled back in the car and began the journey home.  Ben promised Micah he could play his new Wii game with him, and this seemed to comfort Micah a little.


As we got nearer to home, Micah became more and more agitated, hysterically crying and complaining about his head.  He was inconsolable and loud.  Less than a mile from home, he suddenly became quiet, and I began to get concerned.  Lily looked in the back seat and said, "He's okay.  He's asleep."  Um, no.  He had passed out.  Lily tried to waken him, but she was unsuccessful.  I sped as quickly as I dared home, gave Lily and Ben instructions to get the rest of the kiddos in the house, and I carried  now-hysterical Micah to the kitchen counter.  Holding his face in my hands, I screamed in his face, "Micah, is it getting worse?  Talk to me!"  He would neither address me nor calm down. I gave him Tylenol then carried him to the couch where he immediately lay down and passed out again. Now my concern was morphing to panic.  I barked quick directions to Ben, and Micah and I hurried back to the Suburban, this time headed for the emergency room.  He lost consciousness at least once more on the twenty-minute drive to the hospital, with my whispered prayers and tears trying to waken him from the front seat.

Once admitted to the pediatric ER, I thought he would calm down and return to normal.  Wrong again.  They attempted a C/T scan, but he was so crazed and agitated--he even escaped the strap--that they almost had to sedate him to complete the test.

I carried him back to our room after the completed test, and there I experienced probably the hardest two hours I've ever had as a mom.  Completely irrational.  Hysterical.  Could not listen to reason.  He kept begging me to take him home and shrieking for a drink.  A few times he would come to his senses, and he would pitifully state, "Mom, somebody help me.  I'm going to die.  My head is going to explode."  A few times, I would be sitting right in front of him, he would look straight at me, then scream, "Mommy!  Where are you?  Help me!"  Through my sobs I would try to calm him, telling him I was right in front of him, can't you see me?  And he alternately could or couldn't.

I was so scared.

Finally, he crashed.
And when I say crashed, I mean completely and utterly exhausted to his soul.  Poor guy.  I was so happy to see him finally peaceful that I tried not to disturb him, even when the doctor came in and told me that there was no evidence of an internal bleed or a fracture (Thank Heaven). But when he said we could go home, I tried to rouse him, and the hysterical behavior returned, much to my and the doctor's surprise.

Even though the scan was clear, he decided to admit Micah to the PICU, where he could have a neurological consult and be observed overnight, just to be sure.  He was diagnosed with a Level 2 concussion, accompanied by post-concussion syndrome--a state where we just needed to wait for his brain to hit the reset button.

One dose of ibuprofen and an attempt to take vital signs later, we were on our way up to the PICU.  That seemed a little much to me, but . . . whatever.  Once up on the second floor, he was evaluated by the on-duty doctor and the neurologist.  And then, he woke up.

And when I say woke up, I mean he had hit the reset button.  He wanted Gatorade and to resume watching Bolt.  He watched two more movies (Guardians of Ga-Hoole and The Sorcerer's Apprentice), ate a few Doritos, and showed me he could read and reason.  I was convinced that we could go home, but they insisted we should stay overnight.  When Brad got to the hospital, he agreed with me, and we decided to leave the hospital AMA (against medical advice), promising we'd wake him once in the night and that we'd watch for any further issues.

By the next morning, Micah was hardly complaining of a headache, and now that it's been five days, he complains that he can't dive or jump on the tramp or go to Bounce U for at least two more weeks while we wait for the bruise on his brain to heal.  He's back to playing the piano constantly, light saber fighting, and swimming three times a day.

And he's counting down the days to July 29th--the day he can go back to Jumpstreet. Can I do it?  I don't know.

Things I learned from this whole ordeal:
Even if you've been there and done that with one kid, the next one will throw you a curve ball, sure as I spent seven hours at the hospital.
I so often forget how life can change in an instant.
And never underestimate the power of a quickly whispered prayer of desperation. He listens.

Linking up to Jenny Matlock's M at Alphabe-Thursday.Jenny Matlock


  1. Oh my word Jen I would have completely FREAKED too! So, so sorry you had to go through that, it truly sounds awful :( how old is Micah again btw? Glad to hear he is okay, but ya, I don't think i'd be taking him back if I were his mom, too chicken! ;)

  2. THat is so scary. You never know with kids and their heads. Poor Micah! And you!
    But kids are tough.

  3. Holy cow. I'm glad you didn't end up spending the night there. I consider myself rather experienced when it comes to emergency rooms and head injuries (7 of my own, and I always went with my mom in the middle of the night if one of the kids had to go in). I think I'd react like you. Not worry much to begin with and then freak out later. I'm glad he's ok.

    And also, I love the pictures of Evie and Ellie. Pretty little girls. :)

  4. Haha... just got off the phone with Karli and we both had the same idea... check out blogland :) I am so glad that turned out as it did. Kid injuries are never fun. The hard part is when they feel pretty good afterward, but are still required to moderated their activity. I hope the rest of summer is uneventful for you and yours.

  5. Totally scary. Concussions shouldn't be taken lightly. That would have freaked anyone out.

    Glad he is ok.

  6. This day will go down in family lore. What a terrible fright you got.

  7. Terrifying! And I mean TERRIFYING! I'm SO glad he's ok. Micah is my favorite (shhh, don't tell the others) and it just would NOT do to ahve anything wrong with him. This once again makes me so grateful for all the good luck I've had with my kids NOT ending up in ER's. And now, I'm gonna go give my kids a big sloppy kiss.

  8. Head injuries do freak me out as my daughter fell in the bathtub a few years back. I took her to the hospital expecting a concussion and it turned out she had burst a blood vessel in her brain. We went straight to an emergency craniotomy to repair her epidural hematomy. Head injuries from simple accidents can be very serious!!!!

  9. Oh my goodness!!! What a story!!! I know very little about concussions (thanks for the quick course!) but that little adventure would have sent me over the edge for sure! Glad all is well and your little cutie is back to his old antics!:)
    Have a happy day

  10. The time in the ER sounds like a mom's worst nightmare. I'm thankful he's alright, and you're right-prayers are answered, even the whispered almost silent can't be uttered aloud kind of prayer, maybe especially those kind. Thankful yours was heard and answered so quickly. Take care-of yourself and him!

  11. Oh the fun of momhood... I remember those times and all the emotional craziness that goes along with them. So glad all turned out ok, he's a little tuffy. Take his bike helmet next time and tell him to try not to break anything:)

  12. Your reaction was calmer than mine--I'd have run to the hospital straightaway if my child passed out.
    I am a "better safe than sorry" kinda mom. SO glad your son is recovering completely! These kind of things give me grey hair!

  13. Wow Jen! Soooo scary. July is the worst possible time to have to be in any ER. Usually the brand new residents are first on the scene. Glad you got to see a Neurologist! Poor little worn out guy! So glad he is okay!
    Isn't it something that he is already asking to go back to the park?

  14. Oh, that is awful scary! I would have freaked out immediately.

  15. This story scared me so much when I was reading it! I'm glad it was five days ago so that I can relax!

    Sheesh. Having boys is crazy.


    PS. So glad he is feeling okay now. Don't let him talk you into going back to activity too soon. Waiting the full time is important, or so our concussion doc always said.

  16. Oh My Word - So scary. Hugs to YOU and your sweet little guy.

  17. Bless your heart .... my daughter is actually our head injury girl (2 sets of stitches and a busted eyebrow that we decided to just butterfly stitch) .... so glad he's doing better!

  18. I'm glad he's ok - that must have been so scary! (For both of you!) Better safe than sorry with head injuries - wait the required time and make sure. Katie broke her neck when she was 16 and we didn't realize it for a full 24 hours. Sometimes it just doesn't seem like it's as serious as it is.

  19. oh man. that is crazy scary. What a whirlwind of emotion.

    thanks for reminding me, too, that I can follow my own instinct, even if it's AMA. I gotta remember that.

  20. I was holding my breathe the whole way through your story. I am so glad he is getting better. And kuddos to you mom for keeping it together as much as you did. I only had the one daughter and when she rolled off the couch as an infant I fell to pieces and rushed her to the hospital. My first trauma as a young mother. Just horrible. Sooh glad the little guy is feeling better. ~Ames

  21. This is so scary. I am so glad he is okay! Heads are so fragile.

  22. Poor Micah! Thankfully kids are tough little guys.

    Stopping over from Alphabe-Thursday

  23. That was really hard to read because it was the second time I heard the story from you and it scared me again. We love our little ones so much and we can't stand for anything bad to happen to them. We are SO thankful he is fine!

  24. Wow! You're either a great assessment nurse or a very practiced and experienced mom! That must have been such an ordeal. Thank God he is better!

  25. Incredible!
    I've seen just about everything imaginable in the ER, but head injuries are nothing to trifle with. However, children have very strong heads, probably one of the strongest bones in their bodies.
    Hope he is ready for fun again soon.

  26. Thank you for sharing this Jen. I have never had to experience a head injury or any great injury with my kids. Its good to read this so that I can be better prepared if it ever happens.

  27. How scary! I'm glad to hear that Micah is okay!

  28. this must've been terrifying for you both. i'm sorry to hear that this happened.

    he's all better now, right? no troubles since?

  29. I held my breath through this entire post. How frightening and awful.

    I admire your calmness and organization in dealing with this. How frightening for any Mother's heart!

    Is everything okay now?

    Thank you for sharing this story...I'm glad it had such a good ending.

    And now I can finally exhale knowing that it ended okay.

    A+ (and a giant Mom to Mom hug!)

  30. Oh my... I think you held together so much better than what I would have done if I was in your shoe! That must have been such a terrifying ordeal for you seeing Micah in that state. I'm glad to hear that he's ok now and that there was no fracture or damages.

  31. Wow. How very scary for you (and micah!) So sorry that he had to go through that, and so grateful that he is OK. Kids are so resilient... thank God.