Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Emergency Kid

I've said it before - maybe not on the blog - but in real life for sure.
Naomi's gonna be my Emergency Room kid.

And as of today, she is.

I just pray she never has to go back again.

As I was driving home from the hospital today, I composed this blog in my head:

"Discovering a knitting needle in your daughter's chest - 5 years off your life
"Calling 111 [911] for your child - 4 years off your life
"First ride in an ambulance - 3 years off your life
"Hearing the words 'punctured lung' in your head over and over - 10 years off your life
"Coming home from the hospital with a perfectly healthy child - Priceless"

It's a silly way to think about it - but I really did feel like I was aging by the moment today.


I was on the phone with my sister this morning and had been in my room putting something away. I had just spent a few moments picking up all my knitting needles and crochet hooks - they've been strewn around on various surfaces while I've been on a knitting kick. I had put them into a plastic tub that sits on my dresser. I popped Naomi down on the bed to play for a moment and then walked out of the room. Naomi knows how to climb down off our bed, so I wasn't worried. A few minutes later I realized that I could hear her playing with the knitting needles. I thought to myself :Mother's Intuition: "Go take those from her, she could get hurt." But I ignored it for a few more minutes and before I went back inside to take them from her I heard her screaming. The first thought in my head, "She's fallen off the bed, and jabbed herself with a knitting needle."

She had.

A 6mm (US size 10) knitting needle was hanging from her upper chest (closer to her throat), the tip under her skin at least 2cm. I screamed something into the phone about a needle in the baby's chest and hung on my sister. For a split second I thought that I could drive her to the hospital faster than an ambulance [we live out of town, I was concerned it would take longer to get her there in the ambulance] - but then realized that if I needed to keep pressure on the wound there was no way I could drive and hold that. (I had to take the knitting needle out because it was so long, and immediately applied pressure with a pair of baby leggings that were on top of the clean laundry basket). Matt had gone out doing errands and I was pretty sure he was further away than the hospital was, so I dialed 111.

By this time Naomi was screaming her head off and I couldn't even understand when the woman asked me "What service do you require [ambulance, fire, or police]?" I had to ask her at least 3x, I'm sure she was yelling into the phone by the time I understood her.

After the 111 service hung up I called Matt. I never even thought about it - of course my sister had already called him. I hung up on her screaming about a needle in the baby's chest - what else would she have done?

The ambulance arrived not long after - by the time we were headed down our road it had been 20 minutes since she'd been hurt. I did not have the presence of mind to grab diapers, my wallet, my phone, or anything else - simply Naomi and myself. But I did remember to ask Oceana to use the toilet. Matt called our neighbors, who dropped everything and were at our house long before the ambulance arrived. I wish I had explained what was happening to Oceana - apparently when I left she thought that Naomi was "gone" like Joshua. I feel so bad about that.

By the time we were in the ambulance the bleeding was nearly stopped - she only bled a few drops actually - and she was chipper. Craziest thing I've seen - she's riding in the back of an ambulance with a puncture would in her chest and the paramedic's trying to find something she can play with so that she'll sit still on the way to the hospital.

At the hospital they said her oxygen saturation was down to 97% - and at the time that didn't worry me. Later I realized they were probably worrying that it was signs of a punctured lung. They immediately sent us for x-rays (Matt met us there) and it made me feel horrible for Naomi. She was already in pain, but in order to get a good x-ray of her chest she had to be strapped up in a funny plastic cone with her hands above her head. She told that x-ray technician what she thought of her.... And the rest of the emergency department heard her too.

They said everything looked clear, but to be on the safe side they asked me to stay and get a 2nd set of x-rays done after 4 hours so that they could be sure (for comparison, they'd see air bubbles forming if there were any by then). So Naomi and I hung out all afternoon at the hospital, playing with the few books we were given, one toy, and an oxygen mask from the ambulance. She was pretty good until the last hour - then she was tired and was totally over being kept in bed (she wanted to wander the halls and make friends).

The end of the story: her x-rays are perfect, she had Dermabond (skin superglue) on her puncture wound, and she'd got a crush on Dr. David. (Hehehe - she was mesmerized by him - DTS students, much the same way she is with Michael). Well, that is until he held her down to Dermabond her chest - then she had 2nd thoughts about it - and told him about it too. He went temporarily on the x-ray tech list - but I think he got off before we left.

Naomi's chipper, went to bed just like normal, and has even seemed to forget she has an enormous bandage and 3 huge pieces of tape on her chest. Let's hope she forgets tomorrow too, otherwise I'll have to put her in a turtleneck to keep her hands off of it.


When we drove into the hospital entry, we drove past the parking lot that sits where the maternity annex used to be. The maternity annex that Joshua was born in. I let myself think about that for about .3 seconds before I told myself I couldn't go there. I was already worried enough. Thinking about losing Joshua was right at the forefront of my mind - even though it was totally different circumstances. It came up again when the paramedic asked how many children we had. I did not feel like explaining Joshua at that moment - holding Na in my arms bleeding - I replied "2." It hurt to say 2. But I'd probably have cried all over the paramedic if I'd said 3. I'm so glad she was a grandmotherly-type. She was so nice.


Now that it's over, I've been thinking about how much worse it could have been. I really - honestly, truly - believe that God protected Naomi from a much worse injury. There were at least a dozen knitting needles in that bin. All but 3 (that were the same size - 6mm) were smaller, thinner, and sharper than the one she had. When I first went it, seeing such a large needle scared me more, but I now realize it was the dullest one. Had she fallen on a sharper needle it very well could have punctured something.

Had she fallen with the needle anywhere else we might be looking at punctured lungs, a damaged heart, or a hole in her airway. We could be looking at a damaged eye, or mouth.

This could have been so much worse.

She's happy, she's healthy, and she's got the label Emergency Kid from now on.


Tomorrow is the girls' postponed joint birthday party. I'm really looking forward to celebrating them tomorrow. They are such a blessing to us. I hate to be reminded the way I was today. But I was reminded just the same. I am so thankful that she's okay.


  1. I am so glad that she's ok!! I can only imagine how scary that was for you Susie and Matt!!

  2. I'm so glad she's okay! I know how scary that can be. I've taken more ambulance rides with my son then I car to remember. Even had to give him CPR once. I'm so sorry you had to say 2, I can't imagine how that felt.


    PS 97% O2 is perfectly normal. They were probably being cautious.

  3. I am glad everything is okay! And this could of happened to any mommy!! I know, My kids do things I thought would never happen! Your a great mom and you have 3 wonderful kids!

  4. Oh my goodness Susie! I can't even imagine! I guess you'll have some fun stories to tell her future husband, and she'll give you all the gray hairs on your head! So glad she is okay!

    -Rachel Tibbs

  5. Oh My GOSH. Im so glad that she is okay!! I had a similar incident with a screwdriver when my youngest was about Naomi's age so I can completely empathize with that panick... Take care :)

  6. Wow! I got chills reading that! I am so glad that she is alright. That is such a blessing.

    When my daughter was 16 months, she managed to squeeze her head through the railing on our porch and she fell 10 feet onto her head. I remember that mother's instinct before that telling me to get her in the house. Long story short, she had to go by helicopter to the ICU. She took 9 stitches to her head but other than that, she was just fine.

    God is good!

  7. Oh my goodness! SO glad she's okay, that must have just been terrifying.

    Don't beat yourself up over this - they're called "accidents" for a reason.

  8. I'm so glad she is OK. My youngest got hurt and needed stitches. I too was out of the room on the phone. I felt terrible. She had to be strapped down and I was trying so hard not to cry!

    Have a great party. You have beautiful girls!

  9. Oh my gosh, how scary! I'm so relieved that she was not badly injured! ((((hugs)))) for you...I can only imagine how scared you must have been.

  10. That would have been terrifying! Thank goodness she's okay. Hugs!

  11. I'm SO glad that she was okay! Praise the Lord!

    But please, please, please - God forbid anything like this happen again, do not pull out the impaling object! If it would have punctured her lung or heart or anything else, the needle was currently plugging the hole. Removing it could open that hole (or something rough, like a stick from a tree, could also cause more damage on the way back out).

    Again, I am NOT scolding you or saying you're a horrible parent for removing the knitting needle. It's the natural reaction when you see something in your child that shouldn't be there. Just one of those mental notes to put away in the back of your mind to hopefully never, ever, ever have to use.

  12. Susie, I too am very pleased for all of you that Naomi is well and wasn't injured badly. I had my own emergency situation last week (more below), so I think I understand the fears, lack of rational thinking at the moment, etc.

    I remember getting upset (and I might have told you this before) when I was recognized by a family friend on Mother's Day in 2004 who said it was my first Mother's Day. Didn't she remember I'd miscarried our first baby a year or so before??? My husband practically had to hold me back as I wanted to remind her (in a not so very Christ-like manner) of my child in heaven. Some people just aren't sensitive to things like that, and sometimes we just can't tell our entire life stories.

    My ER story: I was working at home (transcribing) during Easter vacation. A neighborhood boy was playing with my kids in the backyard. I heard a scream (my just-turned-5-year-old). I got up and found him with a huge blue hematoma on his left cheekbone near his eye and the friend saying he'd been hit with the tee-ball bat (wooden). I freaked. I called my husband, who was thankfully in town and able to come home very quickly. I then called our doctor and spoke with the nurse (through my tears), who said to go to the ER. My mother-in-law was able to stay with my daughter so my husband could go back to work. I didn't hurt anybody on my drive to the ER. The nurse at the ER checked him out carefully and said x-rays wouldn't help and a CT scan wasn't a great idea because of the radiation and his lack of concerning symptoms. We left in a little over an hour. Whew! My adrenaline didn't calm down for several hours, though. It was a horrendous feeling. I'm definintely not an adrenaline junkie!

    God provided many things that day, and I praise His name for holding His children in His hands when troubles come!

  13. OH MY LORD. That's what I kept saying over and over as I read this. But as always, He is good and has been faithful. I'm praising him that your sweet Naomi is well tonight!

  14. Oh, my goodness, how scary!!!!! I'm so glad she's okay!