Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crash and Burn

We own property in Mackay, Idaho. This will be for another story, it just sets the scene for our awesome 4th of July celebration.

Every year, my family (meaning, my mom, dad, brother, and sisters, and their families/friends) try to go camping at least once a year. We have gone on Memorial Day which is alright but it usually snows on us, we go on the 4th of July but there are usually WAY too many tourists, and we plan on the 24th of July because there are no tourists. This year we went on the 4th of July weekend.

I don't know the whole story, but with 8 kids (5 of them being under the age of 3) and 4 dogs, there are a few options of what happened and maybe a mixture of them, all I know is, I was putting the tent away and I heard "PULL HIM OUT!! AMANDA, LINUS FELL IN THE FIRE!"

So, I assume that maybe he tripped, maybe he was bumped, maybe a dog bumped him or any of these mixed together. No matter what happened, it was an accident, but my son fell into the hot coals of our campfire.

All I know is, I panicked.

I heard "Put him in the river!" So that's the direction I ran.

Matt yelled to me to bring him to the cooler and that was easier to get to, so I did. I didn't know what was burned. I didn't know what to put wet paper towels on to cool off. My son was screaming. That's all I knew.

When we figured out what had actually burned, I was able to put burn cream, wet paper towels, and wrap the burns up. If that is all I get out of my EMT classes, I'll take it. I'm just glad I remembered to use wet paper towels and wrap them.

Then I started to cry.

Good old fashioned mom style right there for you.

We were two miles outside of Mackay at this point and drove like mad to get there... to find out there were no medical personnel other than the local EMTs, who wouldn't be able to do more than I had already done. So, off to the next local town...30 miles away!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Off we drive and we came upon a firetruck who was directing traffic away from a car that had driven off the road recently and they were waiting on the tow truck. Kind of made us slow down. But only a little bit.

We made it to Arco, Idaho and because I really am a technotard, I couldn't use Matt's iphone. Especially with Linus screaming in the back. So I ended up directing us to the local police station.

We found the little, tiny, micro medical center there. It was a 3 bed/1 room ER, 12 room hospital, with the senior center at the end of the hall.

I'm pretty sure that there is only one doctor for this hospital and she only comes in when she's paged. There were only the nurses and we had to wait until the doctor came in to look him over. (I just want to point out now how bugged I was that #1 one of the nurses couldn't spell and #2 they took the wet dressings off and never put anything back on... of course, I'm not a nurse or a doctor, but I do know that a dry burn hurts worse than a moist burn... does that make sense?) Anyway, we had to wait for the doctor to show up for her to look at the burns and let Linus get some pain meds. It took her about 30 minutes to show up. Keep that number in mind as I continue this story.

When she got to the "hospital", she was pretty abrupt with us. She told us after touching his burns and he didn't respond to her touching them, that he had 3rd degree burns and that is was very important to get him to the burn center in Salt Lake. If we didn't, he'd lose function of his hand or hands. She ordered the pain meds and Linus was given a shot of Demerol and Phenergan. The nurses told us to walk around with him for a bit and in about 20 minutes, the meds will have kicked in and they could clean him up.

As we were in the ER, a woman came in with a 4 week old baby. A little girl who was maybe 8-10 was holding him and dropped him on his head on concrete. It was an accident and she was very distraught. The mother was hysterical. The baby was unresponsive. The nurses asked if we could go out into the hall to give them some room and I saw this baby. It looked like a doll. It is very disconcerting seeing such a small body not moving. Babies are always moving. Even when they are sleeping but this little thing was not moving. He was unresponsive but breathing on his own.

The mom started asking the doctor if her baby was ok. The doctor replied with "No. He is not ok."


They spent quite a long time putting an IV in. I don't know where they put it, but they had a really hard time getting the IV in. By this time, they had called in life flight and the baby had started to cry.  My mom overheard the doctor tell the nurses that the baby wouldn't survive.

That certainly put Linus's burns into perspective.

As we waited for life flight, I visited with my mom and dad who were so awesome and came to sit with us and take Bea so we could be with Linus.

I saw the mom of this little baby for a minute and put myself in her place and felt an overwhelming urge to go and give her a hug. So I did. I hugged her, I told her that I would keep her and her son in my prayers. I don't know if it mattered to her, but it made me feel better.

The helicopter finally landed and this baby was full on wailing now. What a wonderful sound. The doctor explained to the mother that he seemed to be doing much better and she didn't want to make a prognosis because she didn't have all of the tools to do so, but she thought he just might be ok.

My mom overheard the nurses ask the doctor if she thought we were going to actually take care of our little boy, the doctor said that yes, she did, she overheard Matt on the phone calling the burn center. That phone call turned my experience around a little bit. The nurses and doctor were much more friendly, much better with Linus, and the bedside manner had drastically changed. I wonder how many children these guys see in a month or a year who are hurt and they see that proper treatment and/or proper follow up just doesn't happen. I know we looked pretty red-neck after having camped for 3 days. Dirty, stinky, disheveled. It's tough not to judge a book by it's cover sometimes I guess. If we don't care for our own personal hygiene, how can we care for our kid's? I think that it took a minute to have it sink in that we were just stinky, dirty campers but that our children are first and foremost.

I will be posting a video of Linus on his drugs that day. It was too cute not to video tape.

When the baby was finally loaded and the ER put back together, we were allowed back in and got back to the digging and cleaning of wounds.

Matt and I are very hands on when it comes to helping the doctors and nurses with our kid. I would rather hold my child down and whisper reassurances than have strangers hold him down.  It can certainly be difficult, but I feel that if my child doesn't have a choice in being there, neither do I.

We got the little guy cleaned, salved, wrapped, and we were done. He stopped crying once the bandages were on. They gave us some Tylenol with codeine to help with the pain and had us give that, then 3 hours later give ibuprofen.

We then set out on our 4 hour drive home. And Linus slept all the way.

I just want to thank my family for being so concerned, so on the ball, and for realizing it was an accident and that we aren't mad. I can't give out enough 'thank you's to Daniel, the boy who saw Linus go in and immediately pulled him out. If it weren't for him, he'd have much more severe burns. Thank you to Tyne who shouted "River!" in my blind panic and help shake me out of it. Thank you to Mom and Dad for coming and being with us at the medical center. It's always better to have mom and dad there. Thank you for all of the others who helped me take care of Linus during that first few minutes. I'm not even sure who did what.

I almost feel though that the Bigger Hand was moving us and that as much as it sucks that Linus was burned, I feel like his injuries helped save that baby's life. It literally took the doctor 30 minutes to get there. I don't think that the baby would have made it had the doctor not already been at the ER. And Linus's burns aren't anywhere near as bad as they could have been, he didn't get his face or respiratory tract, and he is doing great. Is that me rationalizing an accident? Maybe, but it makes it easier for me.

Linus, let's try to go a couple of years without another hospital visit ok?


Emily said...

Oh My Gosh!! Poor Linus!! That little guy has gone through so much this year! I just want to hug him! I don't know how you kept it together so well. You're amazing! And even if she didn't say so at that time, I'm sure you prayers & hug meant so much to the mother of that baby. I hope Linus gets better soon!!

mel said...

poor Linus. hope he doing fine and get well soon.