Monday, July 5, 2010

one year ago.

tonight one year ago, at almost exactly this time, i was holding my beautiful oldest daughter in my arms in the preop area of ach. she was being prepped to enter the or for an emergency craniotomy. the surgeon had told us they needed to work quickly to elevate what was diagnosed as an open depressed skull fracture. i was numb. i was terrified, and my world was a haze.

for some reason i have never recounted the story on this blog. somehow typing in was too much. but on this night, the one year anniversary of the accident, i felt it was time to get it out...

it was sunday afternoon. exactly like every other. we had been to church, eaten our lunch, and taken our naps. i was being particularly lazy, so clif offered to take the kids out in the yard for a bit. i happily agreed thinking, i could use just a few moments of quiet. i'm not really sure what i was doing, or how much time had passed, but i know WHERE i was when i heard clif say my name. for the record, clif does not call me somer. truly, i have no idea what he calls me. wife, mother, ?...but that day he said somer. i was standing in our family room on the back of the house, and i know now, he was across the street and one house down....but it sounded like he was less than five feet from me. it was that clear....and urgent. i KNEW whatever it was, he meant that he needed me there. i went out the front door and immediately saw him running towards me. strangely i don't remember any noise. just him. he had both vivian and bauer in his arms and his white tshirt (a uniform of sorts for him) was red...blood red. there was so much blood in fact, i couldn't tell who was hurt. thoughts ran through my mind like: were they hit by a car? who do i check out first? was it a bullet? there aren't drive by shootings in our neck of the woods!! and then he crossed the street and i saw his face. then i knew it was one of the kids. at that moment the sound came back, and vivian turned and faced me screaming, "mommmmmyyy!" her face was a sheet of blood. even the whites of her eyes. and the gash above her left eye was the source. the gash itself was about an inch high, and two and a half inches wide, and unbelievably, about a half inch deep. that's right. deep. i could SEE her skull. at this point clif was crying, vivian was crying, and good lord forgive me, but i don't even know where bauer was. i ran to grab my phone and dial 911. clif grabbed a beach towel (we had just been to the pool) and held it on her head. when i got back i handed clif the phone and took vivian. and the rest is sort of in bits and pieces. the neighbor, a nurse himself ran over with a first aid kit. the fireman arrived and i could tell by his face it wasn't great. clif is kissing vivian and saying he's is sorry. i still have no idea where bauer is. although i do remember calling my almost 80 year old father and saying these exact words, "vivian has been in an accident. we are taking her to ach via ambulance. come get bauer, NOW!" (subtle and sweet, huh?) after that again just bits and pieces. my eyes were only on v. we talked about silly things. barbies, movies, scooby doo. i knew to keep her talking and awake was very important for a head injury, and for blood loss. i must say, i don't remember her crying too much, just whimpering and telling me she was hurt. i told her i knew, and we were going to fix it. (although i must admit i wasn't sure how.) it seemed like forever before the paramedics arrived. i crawled on the gurney, vivian still in my arms, and we were on our way.
the rest of the evening was slow and fast and surreal. initially, we were told it was just a bad laceration. they prepped vivian for sutures. clif arrived chauffeured by my dad. who apparently (i learned at a much later date) gave him a big hug, told him he was in no condition to drive, and that this wasn't in any way his fault. it wasn't until that moment when i saw clif's tear stained face that i realized i had no idea what really happened. i knew she had fallen off her bike...but that was about it. clif explained: "she was riding her bike, bauer was riding his trike. bauer fell off in the street. i went to help bauer, and told vivian to stay put for a second. she didn't. she pushed off, gaining speed as she went downhill. turned her wheel towards the neighbors drive and hit the bumper of the parked pickup truck...with her head. it was the most horrible thing i have ever seen. i couldn't let go of bauer, and i couldn't get to her fast enough." my heart broke for him. i told him i loved him, and i was NOT his fault. it was an accident. simple as that. the preacher arrived next, followed by susan and seth. not sure the order, but somewhere along the lines i thought to call jill, realizing i would NOT be helping with vbs the next morning. i had asked several times if anyone was concerned about a more sever head injury, but because she wasn't throwing up or had never lost consciousness, they didn't feel a ct was necessary. as we got ready to be sew up, the er physician removed the dressing and took a peak. she then quickly replaced it, got up, and said, "i'm going to go give my friend a call." i'm no dingbat. i knew what she meant. i said, "your friend the neurosurgeon." "yes." he was at uams, but we were immediately sent to ct. within the hour he came and said vivian's skull was fractured, depressed, and in need of immediate surgery. there are truly no words to describe. when i was pregnant with vivian i spent every weekend working for ach in the or. i had seen many skull fractures. they were NOT good. i immediately called the or, and it just so happened that those same ladies i had worked with for so many months were the very ladies working that night. all i said was, "cathy, this is somer. my baby vivian is in the er, and she is the craniotomy you just scheduled." my prayers were answered when she replied, "oh somer, don't you worry. your baby is our baby and we will take the best care of her."
and they did. as i look back at that night, one year ago, i can still see their faces as i held her as they put her to sleep....teresa, the scrub nurse came out to give me a kiss, before she scrubbed in, bro.guy said a prayer over her as we all held hands, and cathy put her arm around clif and i as she walked us to the waiting room. and at that very moment...even though i didn't know it at the time, an email had begun to circulate asking for prayers for our family.
several hours later we received the news that vivian had done beautifully. no brain bleeds. no swelling. and an elevation of the skull held by sutures not screws (this is best because screws don't allow for growth in young children). and after just a mere 8 hours in picu, we were moved to a room. and after a mere 72 hours in the hospital we were home. home. home, people!! with OUR vivian. the point?! in but a mere second, our lives could have been so very different...but for some reason we were blessed with a miracle. a miracle. and never again will a fourth of july weekend, or a single day pass without me thanking god. as i finish this post, i think about where i sat at this very time one year ago and where i sit now....clif is snoring, our new addition frances is cuddled up around my bosom, and vivian and bauer are snug in their beds. even if tomorrow is the i have been blessed.


CathyBB said...

I thought about you all weekend!!!

What a whirlwind that was. Mom always says a little bit of knowledge (of what COULD happen) can be a curse, and isn't that the truth? All her patients' stories just kept spinning through my mind, and you know how those turned out.

BUT, I think it's a blessing, too, in that you know just HOW MUCH you have to be thankful for! AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!

Go hug that Vivian for us again. ;)

Jill said...

Interestingly enough, I was reading my blogs from a year ago today and read where I asked my friends to pray for you guys. It made me think of seeing you guys shortly after at Target, and having to fight back the tears...knowing that I was looking into the eyes of a little miracle. Praise Jesus for protecting her.

Follow The Stepps said...

It is so crazy because I have not read your blog in so long and I just accidentally clicked on it instead of another and I completely remember praying for your sweet baby girl and you were so sweet to write back and thank me. Our oldest son, Jackson, jumped out of his crib head first onto hard wood floors a couple of Fridays ago and off to the ED we went. I am a pediatric nurse and I couldn't sleep until we had him checked out. It is so CRAZY how much mamas love their babes. I am so glad that Vivian is doing so well and congratulations on the new little one.

Kelly Stepp

The Pooles said...

I have never read your blog before today, but do remember reading someone else's last year and praying for your baby. I am so glad that she is ok, and God is good.