Last night my son put the scare in me so badly, that it ended 24 hours later with me ripping a toy off a wall and hiding it from my sight!
My 3 year old insisted on a shower last night. I hadn't planned on it because my husband was away for the night, and I didn't want to juggle a baby and a 3 year old in baths. The baby, being a messy, new eater, was sticky regardless of my several attempts at cleaning him off after dinner. He was the chosen one for the bath. But my 3 year old wasn't having being left out. He hopped in the shower, and I started the shower head when the water warmed up, but it was on a strong spray. He is afraid of the strong spray, so I always switch it to a lower pressure. I did that, but he was sure it was still on the strong spray and as I started to rinse him he scrambled backward, and as the words "Stop! You're going to fall!" came out of my mouth, he was suddenly up in the air. I dropped the shower head in an attempt to grab him, and he slipped past my arms and cracked his head on a tub toy that was strongly mounted on the back of the tub. He then bounced off and slammed his head into the bottom of the tub. The way his head/neck/and back hit, I thought for sure there would at least be blood. I was also pretty sure something was going to be broken, and I was praying it wasn't his neck or back. It was a brutal fall. It sucked the breath right out of me, and his screams were gut wrenching. I grabbed him up, inspected him, consoled him, and found nothing wrong but an abrasion on his butt cheek. He calmed down, but was the screaming about how the water on his knee hurt because he had a scrape from previously in the day on that knee. So, I quickly finished washing him up so he didn't have water on his knee much longer. When I got to shampooing his hair, he started screaming and sobbing that his head hurt. I rinsed it off, and he wasn't crying anymore. I got him out and started drying him, and he started screaming again because his head hurt. So I looked at it again, and still saw no bumps, cuts, bruises, or even a red spot on the back of his head. So, when I got him on his bed and was putting his jammies on him, he laid back and again with the screaming and crying about his head. So I closed my eyes, and felt all over his head. At the base of his skull, where it starts to turn under and the spine meets it, was a huge bump. I looked at it, and it was severely bruised, looked like a horn coming out the bottom/back of his head, had a small split in the skin, and was as thick around as a golf ball. On a 3 year old's head that is pretty large. Immediately I felt extreme guilt for not seeing it before. I always thoroughly inspect him when he's hurt, so I still do not know how I did not see that. I also was contemplating if he needed to go to the ER. Lucky for me, a neighbor is also a nurse. As a nurse, I can think quick and help OTHER people who are hurt or sick. When it's my own kid, forget it. I forget a good 75% of what I know, and just feel overwhelming guilt and pain for them. So I asked my neighbor to come over to assist me with our emergency. She remembered to check his pupils for reactivity, and that they were even and not out of their round shape. Then I remembered the dizziness, nausea, I asked him his age and name.... So with her help, my son and I both calmed down (I had to struggle not to cry for him, and every time I go in that bathroom still I feel sick. I really thought he was going to be terribly injured, then was relieved he had just a scratch, then found the actual injury and was horrified and extremely guilt ridden. What a rollercoaster.) So we got ice for him (which he mostly kept on the top of his head because he didn't want to touch his "boo boo", and she helped get him dressed while I got the baby, who was now crying, and started to re-situate everything for winding down for the night.
My neighbor remained on call if we needed her, and my sister just automatically got ready to come and came over once we spoke on the phone about it. The doc had said it could take 24 hours for symptoms of a brain injury to show up, and I had to wake him every couple hours through the night/day, so my sis and I thought it was good to just have someone else here just in case. I kept him in my bed with me so I could carefully monitor him. He seemed normal, aside for the pain he was in (even with medication!). He was so difficult to wake through the night, but I'd get scattered, small responses from him as he tried to open his eyes or speak when I asked him to. I hardly slept, as I kept listening for his breathing. After Natasha Richardson's head injury that seemed okay and then she suddenly died, I was still very shaken and worried.
We made it through the night, and he was still very low key in the morning. Then he started to pick up with his activity. It seemed like he was a magnet for falls, and almost fell backwards off of a neighbors deck several times. I was contemplating hooking him up with a coloring book and crayons in a small room and deliver his meals to him until his Dad came home today because I couldn't handle one more injury! I kid about the room part, but not about not being able to take another injury.
At this point, it has been more than 24 hours. He has mentioned seeing some strange things, but I couldn't tell he wasn't pretending. He has an active imagination, and loves to play pretend. So I quizzed him on visual things through the day, and tried to figure out if he was just playing. It seemed like that was maybe the case. I'm still going to keep an eye on that.
So, I'm considering us very lucky. My kids are my world. I have no idea how parents go on when something tragic happens to a child. I made sure to give all the extra hugs and kisses I could today. He wanted extra ones, so it really worked out. When bath time came tonight, he was afraid to get in the tub. I promised him, no more showers for a long time. Sitting only! So he accepted that, and we washed the dirt he was storing all over his body from happily playing outside with his friends throughout the day, and enjoying the gorgeous day. I'm thankful for this day, another day with my beautiful boys.