Sunday, August 16, 2009
For those of you who know me, you have probably figured out that I don't predict results particularly well. I'm habitually clumsy and am often surprised when disaster rears its ugly, vicious, fire breathing head. I've even, through extensive research, scientifically determined that in an emergency, I most likely would go out in a panicked blaze of unpreparedness.

Which brings me to a "quiet" morning (about 6 weeks ago) at the top of my stairs. I was listening to the kids peacefully discuss whose fault it was that the walls got accidentally painted in green Crayola paint while thinking about a lovely dream I'd had the night before where I was on a plane crashing in to the North Pole (must be thinking about Christmas shopping already). I'd just arranged to drop my kids with my MIL so I could get some errands done at lightening speed in preparation for our 2-week beach vacation in three days which also happen to coincide with my son's sixth birthday. (The numbers alone are staggering.)

It was then that I started my tenth leisurely stroll that morning down the stairs. I didn't think I was unusually distracted, but that's what I get for thinking, I guess. The next thing I remember was a nasty popping, cracking sound accompanied by a wrenching, ripping, popping sensation and MEGA PAIN! I was lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs calmly reviewing my emergency preparedness plan while screaming some of my long lost-to-parenting favorite words.

It took a couple of seconds before I realized that my kids were standing in the doorway looking a little worried. The problem was I was alone with 2 young children and I was totally out of my mind in pain.

Lucky me, I'd fallen near my handbag. I was able to extract my newly acquired iPhone and began to call by EMT brother for advice. I was pretty sure I'd broken my leg in half, but I very reasonably wanted to check with him first. (I was very calm, you see.) When he didn't answer, I called just about everyone else in my phone. No one was answering. I was starting to sweat because of the pain. The only thing I could think of was that I didn't want to call my sister-in-law because she just started her job and it would not be good if she had to leave unexpectedly.

After not being able to reach my husband who was a 2-hour drive away, I decided that calling my SIL was the only option. Of course, she answered on the first ring. And, of course, immediately came to help. She was able to get in touch with my EMT brother who told me to call an ambulance. Which I did.

Then, I realized it was time for a little damage control. I smiled bewitchingly at my children, explained that I had fallen down the stairs (duh!), that I thought I'd broken my leg (duh!), and that they were not to worry because I'd called an ambulance and both Uncle Hugh and "Tato" were coming to help. I also slipped in a mention that they were not to repeat any of the new words they might have learned that morning.

It was at this point that I realized my front door is both locked and ridiculously hard for me to open. All at once, I knew that I couldn't do it and it would be almost impossible for my son. I was imagining the fire department showing up and breaking down the door to get to me lying gracelessly at the bottom of the stairs surrounded in packing materials from our move a few days earlier.

Fortunately, my son understood the importance of what he needed to do. (After I explained it, of course, in response to the "but I can't" complaints.) Just in time, he was able to turn the key and yank the door open as the ambulance, my brother, and his wife pulled up.

It turned out that the paramedics didn't think it was majorly broken and they were able to wheel me down the front steps to my brother's car in an odd wheel chair contraption so he could take me to the ER and they could get on with helping people who really needed it. After a surprisingly quick ER trip, I was booted, crutched, and returned to the ever patient hands of my children who were none the worse for wear. (Except a near paralyzing fear of the stairs, that is.)

To make a short story even longer, here's the moral. Plan a little. Even a teeny, tiny bit. Many of us, especially if you are a military spouse, spend enormous amounts of time alone for extended periods (days, weeks, even months). Prepare yourself and your kids for when something "out of the ordinary" happens. Explain what they would have to do if an ambulance arrived at your house one day. Let them know that an "official" (Child and Family Services) might be responsible for getting them to a family member safely if you cannot drive them there yourself. Show them where the phone is. Discuss your emergency plan with people upon whom you expect to rely for help. And, above all, remind them that they should always wear clean underwear and mind their manners.


Wendy Hawksley said...

I hope you are feeling better soon! Yup, being prepared and knowing you who can call for help is always important, especially when we are far from home, away from family. Great reminder!

Anna said...

Good one; I had Weston practice undoing the chain yesterday. Lucky for you, you're gone, and I had to teach him to go next door to J instead of to Miss Helen for help if he needs it.

Wendy Hawksley said...

Thanks Helen. We will be studying Robert Frost with modern poets in 4th grade, but I see the series includes poets we are studying this year as well. I'm going to see if the library here has them when I go on Sunday.

Get a free hit counter here.