I have a story I would like to share. It is not a happy story, but it has a happy ending. It is a true story, that happened to my family, in my own words.
The story is about my sixteen year old daughter, who is an A plus student, active in many clubs and leadership programs in high school as well as a gymnast and cheerleader.
She is my fourth and last daughter at home. My first three daughters were born within 5 years and she was born when the third one was five. Now it isn’t that I am not close to my other three daughters, but this one has gone through the hardest part of the empty nester with me. She is the one I have gotten to spend the most one on one time with. The one I have gone through divorce and custody with, the one I have gone through my redefining moments with.
I am writing this story for me more than any thing. I have to get out all of these visions and toxic emotions of fear and dread and begin to heal and trust in my world again. Trust in my faith and my God that His protection is and will be forever over me and my children’s lives, regardless of circumstance.
My third daughter has just given birth to her first son. Our second Thanksgiving Day baby born to our family. I had gone to stay with her so she could finish her testing and finals in her RN Program in college.
I had started to feel very bad, body aches and chills so I had taken some cold medicine and gone to lay down. When Sarah walked into the bedroom to hand me the phone, she had a very scared look on her face.
I took the phone and said hello, It was Sidney’s Gymnastics coach calling to tell me she had fallen during her tumbles, Sidney was working on a back hand spring round off tuck, sounds very exciting, right? well she had fallen, on her head and face, and they had called an ambulance.
By this time I was out of bed and in the hallway and had seen my son in law standing there and said Ill be right there.
We got into the car and were there within 5 minutes.
When we got to the Wellness Center at the college, I tried to go through the entrance, but the bars were locked, I proceeded to walk over to the desk, when I heard a young man said, “yea she landed right on her head.” The man at the desk looked at me and I said simply, “I’m her mother.”
We walked through two exercise rooms. In my mind and in my vision, the rooms went on forever and I couldn’t seem to walk fast enough to get to the end of one room and into the other. There was a mist and haze from my peripheral vision and everything was muted and muffled. There were sounds coming from the center and people still exercising and what not, but they were far far away in the distance. I felt the heat rising inside me, as we turned the last corner, I couldn’t see anything. no sign of my daughter anywhere as I scanned the room. Just then someone moved and I saw her body laying on a mat with her coach squatted over her, holding her head in his hands.
I felt the breath escape my chest and i heard my voice say “NO!” over and over.
I couldn’t get to her fast enough. I wanted to run to her and scoop her up in my arms and hold her. I don’t remember the next part but was told by two people that I collapsed on the floor next to her. I asked her if I could hold her hand and she quietly said, “don’t touch me momma.” She later told me that several coaches and instructors had told her not to move a muscle until the EMT could arrive and assess her.
She had blood on her teeth and mouth, and her nose had a cut across the top of it. She had red marks all over her face and she looked out of it. Her pupils were reactive, but her pupils were the only thing that was moving.
When I asked her questions she couldn’t even move her mouth. I didn’t realize she was in shock and she was very active and conscious when she fell.
She told me later, when I asked her if she remembered the accident that she knew while she was in the air that she wasn’t going to make the flip. She knew she was up high enough, but she got scared during the flip and her leg came out of position. She said I know what I did wrong and I know how to fix it next time.
I told all the coaches, there would definitely NOT be any next time.
The EMT arrived and began all of the medically necessary things that struck even more fear into my body.
As they asked her to move her feet, My breath stopped.
As they asked her to squeeze their hands, my breath stopped.
As a matter of fact, my breathing stopped several times that night.
So did my heart!
She passed all of the tests with flying colors.
But what I was seeing was horrible. As a mother it is our duty and responsibility to keep our children safe. I have always taken that responsibility very serious, even to the point of being considered over protective. it is a label I wear with pride.
It took two people to carefully move her to the bright orange board. They put her neck in a long hard plastic neck collar from her chin to her shoulders. They put two orange blocks on each side of her head and taped them across her face to hold her head stable.
They hoisted her onto the gurney and lifted it in the air to transport her. While this process was going on, the manager of the Wellness Center walked over to me and asked me if I could fill out an accident report….. “Um, Im kind of busy right now.” I politely gave the man my phone number and I was off.
We headed out into the night and they pushed levers and buttons and the gurney legs collapsed on the lip of the ambulance as they pushed my daughter into the back. It was quite impressive, they never bounced her or jolted her one bit to get all of these movements accomplished.
Onto the worst hospital in the area, we were put in the back room of the emergency room. A doctor walked over to us and asked my daughter if she was in pain, she replied yes and he quickly said, well if your back hurts, we should take this board out from under neath you. he ripped the tape off her face, threw the orange blocks on the floor and lifted the board up on one side with two hands and spilled her onto the hospital bed. I watched in horror as her body jolted and her head went sideways with the neck brace still on.
Four hours later, she was released from her neck brace and told she was fine and could go home.
There were no instructions of after care, pain or swelling or therapy. No helpful hints or tips as to what to expect after sustaining an injury so severe or painful.
My daughter is on day two now. Her inner lip looks infected from her teeth going through it and it is twice the size of normal. she hesitates to laugh for the pain and stiffness and talking is muffled. She has been on ibuprofen and has taken a few hot soak baths for pain and stiffness. She has a gash on the top of the bridge of her nose and how both her eyes have kept from being blackened I will never know.
I feel very blessed and thankful for all the family and friends who were by our side and helped us through this. The pictures of your child laying helpless on the ground and going through this, all the while wondering if she will ever walk again, what are the long term effects etc, are enormous.
I hate she ever went through this and I am so glad I was there with her. I hate as a mother I ever had to see this. I hate all the other mothers who have gone through even worse with more traumatic results and a worsened end to their own stories.
But I know one thing, I am a mother who is forever changed by the birth of all of these wonderful young women. They have taught me to grow up, face my fears and do it any ways. They have given me strength and courage and walked me through times in my life I never knew I could walk through. They have forever changed me and made me a better person.
With all the fear I had to face that day, today, two days later, my heart is not heavy. My heart is glad and joyous and at ease. My child is in her room sleeping off a nasty fall and healing. I made her oatmeal and put her back to bed. I am a mother and I know unconditional love. And I know the love of a child. I am blessed leaps and bounds by the birth and lives of all my children. I am thankful. I am joyful. I am a mother.