Last night when I was giving the kids a bath, I had Sully tip his head way back to rinse his hair. He will never keep his head tipped up so I always put a thumb under his chin to keep his head back. As soon as I was done rinsing his hair, he grabbed the back of his head and neck and started crying, saying that it hurt. The rest of the night, he would cry every time he tried to move, but seemed fine if he held himself still. I thought maybe he just strained a muscle but I had kind of a nervous stomach about it. At one time during the night, I was up with the baby. After I put the baby back in his crib, I crawled in bed with Sully and stayed there the rest of the night, I just felt like I wanted to be close to him.
This morning, he was still complaining of pain and he was guarding his neck; he wouldn’t look to the left or up at all. I thought that seemed pretty weird for a three-year-old to still have pain the next day, usually they bounce right back. I suddenly remembered that he fell out of bed last week sometime and had hit his head on the toy box. He had seemed fine at the time, but I started worrying that maybe he had really hurt himself in the fall and it just wasn’t noticeable until I had him looking all the way up to rinse his hair.
I don’t really trust my own instincts because I tend to overreact. I took the kids to my sister-in-law and went to work, planning to call the doctor if he still had pain tomorrow. After an hour at work, I still couldn’t shake the nervous stomach. I decided to talk to my boss and get his opinion (he doesn’t overreact like me.) He thought I should take Sully for an x-ray to rule out neck fracture or ligament rupture, both of which would be really bad. So then I was really freaking out.
I left work, picked up Sully and took him to the ER. As soon as they checked us in, they put a collar on Sully and made him lie flat on his back. This amused him for about 20 seconds. He then wanted to sit up and he requested a sucker (because that’s what you get at the doctor!) I explained to him that he had to lie down until they could take pictures of his neck I entertained him for quite some time with my work badge. He stretched the retractable badge across the stretcher and I pretended that my hand was a spider walking a tight rope. This amused him for about five minutes.
The doctor came in pretty quickly and recommended a CT scan; he said they would take us down in a few minutes. Sully was no longer amused by my work badge and was demanding to sit up again. I entertained him with made up stories about Thomas the train and a scary forest. This amused him for about 10 minutes until they came to take him for a CT.
The woman explained to me that he had to lie very still during the CT and that it would take “two or three minutes.” False. It was at least ten minutes, which probably doesn’t seem very long, until you try to keep a three-year-old lying flat on his back, with his arms at his sides, while a CT is going. He was moving a little bit, but I silently prayed that he was still enough to get a good picture.
By the time we left the CT, Sully was done with the ER. He just wanted to go home. They brought him stickers and a little toy ring. That kept him happy for about 30 seconds. He started wriggling around on the bed saying he had to pee. The doctor would not allow him to get up until after the CT results were in so I asked the nurse for a urinal.
“Look,” I showed him, “Wanna pee in this cool bottle?”
“Noooooooo,” he was crying now. “I pee in potties!”
“I know you do, but wouldn’t it be fun to pee in this cool bottle?”
“That’s a weird thing to say!” He was still crying, but I’m pretty sure I heard the nurse laugh on the other side of the curtain
He refused to use the urinal so he was forced to wait it out. By this point, there was no entertaining him, so we just sat.
The CT results came back pretty quick, maybe 20 minutes, and were (thankfully) NEGATIVE. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved. Sully was able to sit up and take off the collar and we were free to go.
I took him to the restroom. I sat him on the potty, but in my haste, I didn’t completely disrobe him. He didn’t scoot back far enough on the toilet, so when he started to go, the pee ran down the front of the toilet, all over his shorts and underwear. They were soaked. I didn’t have any extra clothes with me because who would have foreseen such a toileting SNAFU?
I asked the nurse if she had anything he could wear out of there and she gave me a diaper. He was not too pleased with that option, but I guess he preferred it to walking out half naked because he let me put the diaper on him.
We left, I bought him a happy meal for being such a good boy, took him back to my sister-in-law’s and then went back to work for another six hours.
What a day! (And it’s only Monday.)