It has been twenty hours since the ordeal began and I am still feeling the mix of adrenalin and relief flushing through my blood.
For two terrifying hours last night, my son writhed in pain, screaming for me to help him. And all I could do was hold him and pray that nothing serious was wrong. I helplessly carried him from the car to the clinic and then back to the car to go to Children’s Hospital. He continued with his ear piercing screams as I phoned my husband and then my mom on my cell phone to let them know where I was going.
But then, as I talked to my mom while driving down the freeway, it was suddenly quiet. I looked back and saw my son slumped over. “Jackson – Jackson!” I frantically screamed at him. He opened his eyes slightly, mumbled something, and then shut his eyes. “Jackson – wake up honey!” I kept screaming, but he wouldn’t wake up.
“Mom – I think Jackson is unconscious – I have to go.” I hung up and phoned the ambulance. In tears now, I frantically explained, “Please help me – I am on the highway taking my son to Children’s Hospital for severe abdominal pain, but I think he has passed out in his car seat.”
“Okay ma’am, we need you to pull off at the next gas station. We will send an ambulance to you.” As I pulled in I saw an ambulance across the street. “Wait,” I told them, “There is an ambulance across the street at the other gas station.”
“Okay – head over to them and we will radio them and let them know you are coming.”
I reached the ambulance just as their radios alerted the paramedics. Jumping out, I flew to the over the side of the van and opened the door to get to Jackson. He was alert now and crying that he didn’t want to go in an ambulance. I was just thrilled to hear him crying.
And then the strangest part of the night began. Jackson got out of the van – without yelping in pain. He stood up and talked to the paramedic. You have to understand – he hadn’t been able to stand at all for the last two hours. He hadn’t been able to move without screaming. I hadn’t even been able to get him to lie down on the table at the clinic because he had been in so much pain.
But now he was fine. He was just scared about the ambulance.
“I am so sorry,” I gushed to the paramedics, “I don’t understand. He seems fine now…” I tried to explain to them what had been happening with him.
“Don’t worry, ma’am, this is our job,” they reassured me, “Lets just bring him into the hospital to get him checked.”
I was rattled. One of the paramedics parked my van and Jackson and I got in the ambulance. Jackson was crying and scared, but we talked to him and calmed him down. His vitals were fine. He chattered away to the paramedic about Star Wars. I laughed and began to breathe. Total relief.
By the time we got to the hospital, it was clear that my little boy was completely healthy. Now my biggest concerns were embarrassment over bringing in a healthy child – in an ambulance no less – and not getting contaminated with the stomach flu virus that has been raging around our city.
I apologized again to one of the paramedics for bothering them. Again he assured me that it was not a problem. I am always amazed at how kind paramedics are. Whenever I have encountered them – usually in very terrifying moments of my life – they have been so wonderful. I have never met a grumpy or unkind paramedic.
After we finally got to see the doctor, he agreed that Jackson was okay. Shrugging, he said, “It could have just been a bowel spasm or something. We tested his urine and since he seems fine now, we won’t bother with any blood tests or anything.”
I was overjoyed. I couldn’t stop kissing Jackson – actually I don’t think I had stopped kissing and hugging him all night.
“Oh Jackson – you gave me such a scare tonight.” I hugged him even tighter. “I couldn’t live if something happened to you.”
“Yes, you could,” he calmly replied in his wise way, “You wouldn’t want to, but you would.”
Driving home, I was in shock. I felt dizzy with relief. I couldn’t believe that Jackson was totally fine and asking for food! I had been sure he had had appendicitis, food poisoning or worse. Jackson has never had a stomach ache like that before, let alone been in so much pain. I had had no idea what was wrong or what to do. And then when I thought he had gone unconscious! I had gone from terror to total relief in a matter of hours. And now, I was on my way home, with a healthy, happy child.
I couldn’t believe it. Total euphoria.
Now, he is bouncing around the house – his usual crazy self. And as he leaves to go to the YMCA for a quick swim with his dad, I feel overwhelmed to let him out of my sight. He turns and waves to me. He looks so grown up and yet so fragile. I can’t bear how much I love him. It hurts. I breathe in gratitude to have him healthy and plead with God to keep him safe. I need my sweet boy.