Yesterday, we left about ten minutes early to pick big brother up from football practice because the girls wanted to play on the playground at school. It’s a nice playground with wood chips under everything, and they have played there a hundred times before, so I stayed in the car parked along the curb right next to the playground. I forgot about the Gaga Ball Pit, but they have played there many times as well, and there were no other kids on the playground. Not five minutes after we arrived, big sister came running to tell me that little sister had tripped over the gaga ball and fallen in the pit and hit her head. My first thought was that I hadn’t heard any screams or cries. After I ran over to the pit, little sister was still lying on the concrete floor of the pit, and she was crying but not loud enough that I could have heard her. I checked her over and carried her to the car, where I held her while big sister ran into the school office to get a bag of ice. Little sister continued to cry for several minutes. I found the spot where she had hit her head–a little above and to the right of her left ear. The spot wasn’t bleeding but looked like a mild abrasion, and there was very little swelling. Big brother was ready to go by this time, so we got little sister settled in her seat with her ice and started home. Only a few minutes down the road, one of the kids told me she was asleep. I pulled over and had big brother wake her up. She was not happy about that, but we continued home, which was only a few more minutes. Once home, we switched to one of our rice cold packs, and I continued to hold her while texting my husband to let him know what happened and get his opinion. Since he’s a firefighter/paramedic, he is used to dealing with emergencies and knows what to watch for. He also told me I could let her sleep but wake her after 45 minutes. She had hit her head just before noon. She fell asleep in my arms just before 1:00 pm. She awoke five minutes later and told me she was going to be sick. While I was cleaning up the floor, she went to her room and fell asleep on her bed. We woke her 45 minutes later and tried to give her Tylenol for her headache, but she refused all our efforts. We offered her a sip of water, which she took and which didn’t stay down more than a few minutes. At this point, I was certain she had a concussion and was concerned that there wasn’t more swelling. I was also worried about her not being able to keep any food/drink down. I had also noticed her pupils seemed to remain dilated from time to time. I called our pediatrician’s office and spoke with the triage nurse, who recommended we go to the ER for a CT scan. My husband, who has seen so many true emergencies, hesitated and asked me to take her to urgent care first to be certain she needed a CT scan. The pediatrician there said there are rules for children that require doctors to order a CT scan. One of those is the repeated vomiting, which had continued throughout the afternoon even though the poor child had nothing left in her stomach and after two doses of Zofran (one at home, one at urgent care–she vomited soon after each dose). So we headed to the ER at a children’s hospital. We only had to wait a few minutes to get into a room, but it was now 7:00 pm.
Little sister carried this stainless steel bowl around all afternoon and evening. Several people at the hospital offered her the hospital’s barf bags, but she just shook her head.
The doctor ordered liquid Zofran and a CT scan. Little sister was so brave and didn’t cry or get upset when we went for the scan. She refused the nurse’s offer to ride in a wheelchair. (Have I mentioned how independent my children are?) She walked down the halls with her bowl and climbed right up on the bed for her scan. I was able to stay with her, but she didn’t ever look scared. The lady who did the scans gave her some stickers for doing such a good job. Then we went back to the room to wait. She got sleepy around 8:45 pm and asked for me to recline the bed for her. It was quite chilly in the room, so I asked her nurse for a blanket, and little sister was soon asleep.
She held onto these stickers until she needed to go potty. I placed them on the end of her bed. When she was tucked back into bed, she sat up and asked for her stickers. I gave them to her, and she grinned so big. The way she held onto them and received so much joy from simply holding them reminded me of George Bailey and Zuzu’s petals. Unfortunately, she vomited on the stickers a little later.
The doctor came in around 9:00 pm and said the CT scan was normal. Little sister had no skull fracture or brain bleeds. The doctor brought her graham crackers and apple juice to try before releasing us to go home. She had kept the Zofran down for 90 minutes, so we figured she would be fine. She slowly ate one cracker and had several sips of juice. I could tell she wanted to go back to sleep, so I let her drink the rest of the juice and reclined her bed just a little. Unfortunately, everything came right back up. I’m sure it was my fault for letting her have so much juice so quickly, but the doctor wanted to admit her, give her IV fluids overnight, and try food/drink again in the morning. It was now about 9:30 pm, and my husband’s phone had died while trying to update, so I couldn’t reach him. The doctor was giving me time to discuss everything with my husband, so I told little sister they wanted her to stay the night because she couldn’t keep anything down. This was the only time she cried while at the hospital. She wanted to go home. I told her she couldn’t go home until after she kept some water and a cracker down. She reached for the water immediately. She was resolved to make it work. She ate one graham cracker and took about eight sips of water and kept it all down for thirty minutes, which was enough for the doctor to release us.
We left the hospital around 11:00 pm. I carried her out while she was sound asleep. She slept all the way home and all night without vomiting. She has had Cheerios, a banana, and some water this morning. She is happy and acting normally. Her siblings are treating her like a celebrity.
In over eleven years of parenting, this was only our second trip to the ER, and the first was not due to an accident. When she was about a year old, little sister had strep and ran a fever of 105 degrees that we could not get to come down with ibuprofen or Tylenol, so we took her to the ER. Her fever broke while we were there, so I probably acted a little prematurely on that occasion, but her fall yesterday warranted the trip to the ER. We are thankful that she is doing well and will not have any lasting effects from her concussion. God has truly blessed us!