When I was a kid, I imagined that when you had a scull fracture, you’re brain would spill out of your head. It was a constant fear when I stumbled – that I would hit my head, crack it open and my brain would come out. As an adult, these fears have subsided, but have been replaced by fears for my children and the unseen injuries they may sustain; particularly when they are so young that they cannot explain what happened.
Last night, I went to my sister-in-law’s Tupperware party. We were in the middle of a game when the phone rang. Alaina handed me the phone and I already knew it had to be Mike (who else would be calling me there?) calling from our friend’s place where he was playing a game. I don’t remember his first words, only what came next: “Elias fell down the stairs.” Heart pounding, I told him that he couldn’t just say something like that without explaining himself. I was imagining my son, unconscious or bleeding at the bottom of our friend’s steep basement stairs. He quickly explained that he was conscious but not acting normal and was very upset. He had fallen backwards off a bench at the arena a month ago, and after that, we just gave him some time and he went back to normal. I told Mike to watch him for ten or fifteen minutes and then call me back. I went back to the game and after awhile, Mike called back and said that Elias didn’t seem quite right. I left Jenny and Erik with their grandma and aunties at the party and went to pick up Mike and Elias. They dropped me back off at the party and went to the hospital on their own. Judging from the way Elias was acting when I saw him, I figured he was probably fine, so I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying at the party. When Mike finally came back to pick us up, he said the doctor said everything was fine. Elias was still acting pretty tired, but then it was hours after his bedtime, so we thought that might explain it.
I went to check on Elias twice last night – once just after they went to bed and once this morning at six. He was breathing both times and that was enough for me. This morning, he and Jenny came into my room and snuggled a bit with Erik and me. Elias moved at one point and cried a bit, saying, “Ouchie, head.” I asked him to show me where his head hurt – I thought maybe he had a goose egg or something that was hurting him. What I found was a huge soft spot on his head – I had never felt anything like this before and it freaked me right out. I jumped into action as quick as I could, getting the kids something to eat quickly and getting clothes picked out. I called Mike, his mom and my dad to explain what was going on, ask for prayer and figure out arrangements for Jenny and Erik (they went to McDonald’s with my mother-in-law and Mike’s grandma). As soon as we were all ready, we sped off to McDonald’s and then to the hospital.
It wasn’t a terribly long wait at the hospital and because I only had Elias, it was very easy to just focus on making sure he was alright and try to relax and not worry too much about him. Being alone with me seemed to help him to be well behaved – he sat still to have his blood pressure and temperature taken and came along with me just fine when we needed to go in. The doctor came straight away when we went into the emergency room and had an answer for me very quickly. He said that because children’s skulls aren’t forged together yet – they are in nine different pieces – if there is an injury, a hematoma often forms over the injured piece of bone. Elias has a traumatic subdural hematoma, which the doctor said is really not a huge cause for concern. They cannot be treated, because if the fluid is drained, it just fills up again, so he said we would just have to wait two to three weeks for it to go away. He then said that he wanted to do a head x-ray just to check for fractures, which made me feel much better – they had not x-rayed him last night and so there was no way for us to know if he had any fractures. Elias sat through the x-rays beautifully and the technician only had to do them once or twice each, which was very quick. At the end, she said, “The pictures look beautiful,” which I at first took to mean there was no fracture. Then I realized that she was just a technician and wouldn’t be able to tell me if there was one. As we went back into emergency, the doctor said, “Fracture?” and the tech just nodded slowly. My heart took up its pounding again for the next few minutes while I waited to find out how bad it was. Thankfully, it is only a linear fracture and is not depressed. If it had been depressed (pushed in towards the brain), things would have been much worse, but the skull had not moved in at all. Thank the Lord! I breathed a huge sigh of relief at that news and was just told that I needed to watch him for signs of trauma (vomiting, excessive sleepliness, etc) and keep him safe from any more head injuries for the next two to three weeks. Based on the number of times Elias falls over in one day, we are going to have our work cut out for us in the next few weeks. But I’d take being watchful and careful over anything worse any day.
On top of all of this, I suspect I am sick with another infection. My throat hurts again and my tonsils don’t quite look normal, which may mean tonsillitis again. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions, but I am going to keep an eye on my throat today and tomorrow. If I get any more spots, I’m going to march in to the doctor and demand to know why I could have tonsillitis three times in five weeks and not have my tonsils taken out.
Anyway, that’s all for now from our sick and injured family. Maybe someday we’ll all be healthy again and I can get this house looking healthy, too, but for now, I think I’m just going to sleep as much as I can.