A long time ago, before Finn was born, Jen and I had a Sam’s Club membership. We bought in bulk, and life was good. Eventually, we soured on the idea of fattening Wal-Mart’s coffers any further, so we let the membership lapse. Since then, a Costco opened up in Columbia close to our organic market, so we decided to pull the trigger and join for easy access to pallet-sized containers of peanut butter and ice cream.

Saturday morning, we split a membership with Jen’s sister and brother in law, and started browsing the aisles. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all the choices, especially when shopping without a list. We split up to cover ground quicker, and while Jen and I puttered through the pharmacy section, an employee with a walkie-talkie came up to us and asked if we were Finley’s parents. My heart dropped as he told us she’d fallen out of a cart and they needed us to come with him. We followed the employee, and when we turned the corner and saw two little legs laying on the floor under a knot of people, I went cold. Luckily, her aunt kept her from moving after she fell. She looked up at us with big, scared blue eyes while the Costco guy called 911.

The Howard County EMS guys were there within minutes, and they quickly assessed her condition, making sure she could wiggle fingers and toes, that she hadn’t lost consciousness, and that she knew who and where she was. They offered a ride in the bus or gave us the option of driving her ourselves (they decided they weren’t going to put her on the backboard), so we gently put her in her carseat and hauled ass to the hospital.

admitted to Howard County Hospital

She was sleepy in the car after the adrenaline wore off, but it was when we stood her up on the triage scale that she threw up for the first time (she covered us all pretty equally) so they hustled her right into the ER and got her set up for a CAT scan. After the pictures came back (and two more barfings) they told us they were going to fly her to Hopkins for specialized neurological care. After what seemed like only minutes, the flight EMTs arrived and we got strapped into the helicopter. They sat me up front with the pilot while she was in back on the gurney, and after a quick preflight, we were in the air. Halfway to Hopkins (somewhere over the I-95 corridor) the EMTs came on the intercom and told me she was laughing, asking questions, and enjoying the flight.

The pilot set us down expertly on the roof and when they opened the clamshell doors to slide her out, she said, “Wheee!” They wheeled us over hill and dale through the building until we came to the Pediatric ER, where several wonderful nurses got her ready for another CAT scan. The results came back as we expected: a epidural hematoma on the left side. We waited for the neuro team to take a look at the pictures and there was good news: no surgery was needed. But they wanted to keep her under observation to make sure the bleeding was stopping, so they admitted her upstairs to the PICU.

The PICU is like every kid’s dream bedroom: A bed that moves in fifteen directions, a TV on an arm that hangs directly in front of your face, a bathroom of your own, and a bunch of awesome nurses who take better care of you than a presidential valet. Once we got settled in, she laid quietly through a movie marathon until I turned off the TV at 11. The overnight was a long one for everybody. They woke her every two hours for standard neuro tests while Mama and I attempted to sleep on convertible furniture under as many blankets as we could manage.

Crashed out

Today was more testing. The morning CAT scan showed pretty much the same picture as yesterday evening’s, but Finn was perked up and alert. I ran home to get supplies and take care of the cat while Mama sat with Finn. When I got back, Grand was by her bedside with Aunt Christi and Uncle Glenn. We spent the afternoon by her bed fielding get-well messages from friends and family; she even got a bedside visit from Mr. Torbjorn and Pastor Dorothy!

first popsicle

Now we’re settled in for the evening. She’s watching Tangled on her cool TV while Mama and I enjoy a little downtime. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has sent along love and support. It is true what they say; the worst circumstances bring out the best in people and remind us all how blessed we really are.

The view from the playroom

Date posted: March 3, 2013 | Filed under family, finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

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