Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Great Trip, Then a Bad Trip

I promised you some that I'd have a few stories, and I won't disappoint!

We left yesterday on a little road trip to Erie, PA to visit with some friends and celebrate their son's 4th birthday! We had decided a few weeks ago to stay overnight to be able to spend more time with them. Of course we opted to stay in a hotel (because there is nothing polite about showing up with 6 people and asking to crash at your friends' house!). And given our current penny-pinching lifestyle, I called 7 hotels in Erie to find the best price. The old familiar words " you get what you pay for" have been ringing in my ears since we stepped foot into our former conference room from 1975 complete with 5 ashtrays, lamps propped up on window sills, and a bedspread that looked like something from a crime scene. The smell of cigarettes was so awful that Matt took one look at me and said, "We aren't staying here." A $10 dollar upgrade got us into two adjoining non-smoking rooms which weren't exactly the Grand Floridian, but we certainly tolerable.

Our trip down was great, until poor Allie threw up about 4 minutes from our destination! She had slept most of the way...but just couldn't make it all the way there. The kids had a wonderful time at the party and we had fun watching their personalities in action. At one point Cara left us and went to sit among some of the adults who were about to eat cake. I'm told she asked, "Where do I sit?" and then promptly stuffed herself with cake while chatting with people she has never met. How I love that girl...

The boys were boys and romped around the yard. Allie was mischievous as ever, never satisfied to stay in one place. She had a rough time later that night at the hotel. She didn't do much solid sleeping until the wee hours. Of course the crazy thunder storm at 2:30 am didn't help, nor did the loss of electricity which caused the fire alarm and emergency lights to go off! The triplets didn't move a muscle as they are used to mayhem in their room! I jumped out of bed and about panicked when I heard the alarm because it was pitch dark in the room, I had no idea where my shoes were, or where the kids sweatshirts were, and I just couldn't figure out how we would get all 4 of them outside during this emergency. Thank goodness the alarm turned off after about a minute. Note to self: always keep shoes, coat, and cell phone handy when staying in a hotel...yikes!

Our lovely room overlooked the even more lovely hotel pool and hot tub. There is nothing quite like a birds-eye view of a hotel hot tub and its occupants at 10pm:) The kids were convinced this was Splash Lagoon (the indoor water park resort we visited last year). Brady kept saying, "Look Eli, Splash-the-Goon!"

This morning Eli opened the drawer of the nightstand at the hotel and discovered a Bible. Eli said, "Look Bwaid! A book!" Brady replied, "It's a Bible book...mommy must have put it there!" Ha!

The weather was a little rough this morning so we went to our friends' house for some play time. After it cleared a bit we went to the Erie zoo which was just fabulous! It is like one part zoo, one part amusement park, and one-part Strong Museum. We loved it there and the kids had a great time! I was bummed the entire time that I didn't have the camera! Grrrrr...

It was well into the afternoon so we decided we had better grab a quick lunch and head home. The kids slept almost all the way home. We were headed inside for baths when our great trip turned into a bad trip...

Brady tripped and fell onto the concrete right outside the back door. He didn't fall down the steps, he just kind of tripped and landed on the side of his head. There was a small contusion, but he really carried on for a while. After we got the kids out of the tub, Brady still wasn't right and just kept whining. About 40 minutes after he fell he threw up.

Back in October Brady fell and had a concussion, so we knew that throwing up two times is the criteria to go to the ER. As we waiting, we just knew that he wasn't right. He looked lethargic, pale, and was still very upset. I decided to take him in and just as we got close to the hospital, he threw up again.

As we waited, I knew he would have to have a CT scan. Ughh...CT scans mean more radiation in his little body. I was so annoyed and of course all of the old familiar feelings came to me in an instant. Brady and I prayed and he just snuggled into me as we waited. One thing I did think of as we awful as hospital times have been in the past, I do miss having all of that wonderful one on one time with him.

They wheeled us down for the scan and I got a pit in my stomach. Last time, Matt went in with him and had to hold him down because he just panicked. For his cancer scans, he is under anesthesia, but he is totally awake when they bring him into the room. So when he sees the big machine and the table...he completely understands what that means. And as soon as he saw the table and CT machine tonight he grabbed onto me.

I promised him that there would be no "owies" and that I would stay the whole time. That's when the tech looked at me and said, "My policy is that parents can't stay. Trust me. Parents think they can handle it, then they panic, or pass out, or they just make their child more upset." That's when I smiled at her and said, "Trust me. There is nothing that can happen in this room that will upset me. I have seen my child through two operations, chemotherapy, intubation, watched them stick tubes down his nose, remove chest tubes, cared for a central line in his chest, not to mention I had three children in the NICU with tubes and wires all over them. I can handle this!" That's when she smiled and said, "Okay, you can stay!" We were friends after that little exchange.

And guess what? My brave little Brady boy laid on that table, got covered up, strapped down, and didn't move a muscle the entire time. He laid perfectly still, didn't cry, didn't wiggle, for 5 minutes as she scanned him. I had to hold his chin in place, but really didn't even need to. I had to fight back the tears as I looked into those dark blues eyes. He is amazing...he really is. On our way back to the room he said to me, "Mommy those guys didn't come. The guys with the blue hats. I wasn't scared!" It took only a second for me to realize he was talking about the anesthesiologists who usually have to put the mask over his face to put him to sleep during his cancer scans. I never knew he remembered or understood what they were doing.

The doctor came in a few minutes later to tell us that the scan looked brain bruising, just a concussion. By this point Brady nausea had subsided and he was being his silly Brady-boy self. We were cuddled up watching Old Yeller there in the ER. We headed home and now he is tucked into bed.

So, that is our 2nd concussion in 8 months. Matt is a little worried about the implications of this, so we will follow up with our pediatrician. All kids fall down, but with Brady's motor skill deficits sometimes his falls are harder than others. He runs and walks very low to the ground, so his shoes catch and he looses his balance from time to time. Not sure what we can do short of making him where a helmet! We are going to put some outdoor carpeting by our back stairs as concrete and toddlers aren't a good combination.

What a weekend! I laughed to myself as I drove Brady home tonight. Before we left I had prayed and asked God for safety on our trip. I guess I forgot to mention safety on our own back porch:)


  1. Oui! I read right until the end and oh my goodness, poor Brady, poor Mummy and Daddy and thank God that he's ok. We never know when something innocent is going to tilt our lives on their side do we? Prayers for a boring, dull and uneventful week at your place :)

  2. Oh my gosh Meg-your life is like a 3-ring circus! Love the humor re:your hotel room-been there, done that! One Hotel 8 we stayed in had a big hole in the bathroom ceiling that dripped from the upstairs neighbor's toilet....nasty! But you know-these are the things that make life interesting!
    So glad little Brady is ok...will keep him in my prayers for a little extra hedge of protection! And you too girlfriend!


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