Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Concussion

Well, not really. But not for lack of trying!

We decided to do something different this Christmas. We wanted to have a little holiday--just the four of us. Not a trip connected with a medical treatment. Just something relaxing, rejuvenating. So we made plans to go to one of our favorite places--Santa Barbara.

Aaron made reservations at our favorite Fess Parker Doubletree. Moira loves the chocolate chip cookies they provide. Mo, Aaron, and I love the hot tub. We hoped Soren would enjoy it too.

So, Christmas morning, we opened gifts. We had a leisurely morning eating breakfast, cleaning ourselves and our kids up, eating lunch, packing up. We headed out around 2:30 and made it to Santa Barbara quite easily. Things were going smoothly. We should have known better for the storm was brewing.

We checked into our ground floor, wheelchair accessible, pool adjacent room. First hitch. Moira's bag was missing. As in, we forgot to pack it. Oops! No worries, right? Mo and I headed off to the gift shop and got her a new swim suit and a couple new T-shirts--for sleeping and for the next day. With two new toothbrushes in hand for the kids, we were set!

Back in the room, we all changed into our suits (Mo in her new one--a perfect fit, no less). The sun was setting. Families who were at the pool when we rolled our luggage by were now mostly gone, getting ready for Christmas dinner. One last mom was left drying off her sons.

Mo got into the hot tub. Aaron stood by on the side while I, as I've done many times, picked up Soren and headed for the steps. There's a hand rail there to hold onto, just in case. I held it. I put my foot down on the first step. My foot slipped. I tensed my arm to prevent Soren and I from falling. But having stepped down and with my short stature, the distance to the side of the hot tub was also short.

THWACK!!!! I heard Soren's head hit. I screamed. Aaron grabbed Soren and cradled him as Soren started to scream. Aaron held Soren against his body where his head hit. We were both fearful of seeing the wound. The mom and her sons who had lingered had fled from the screams of terror.

Finally, when Soren was more calm, Aaron moved Soren so we could see. It was a forehead hit, which we knew from our time of Moira learning to walk, was one of the strongest parts of the head. Poor Mo's forehead was covered in goose eggs back then. We feared other parents would suspect abuse. Really, she just had poor footing on our screwy backyard bricks.

Soren's wound was red, a bit scratched. We feared it would swell to an awful purple. He dangled his foot in the hot tub. He seemed happy to not be disturbed. A man from the hotel wandered by. Asked if Soren was sleeping. I explained the situation--the slip, the fall, the thwack. He happened to be a security officer and sat down to take a report. He was very kind and we were happy to oblige, giving our information. Within the information he asked, "Does he have any disabilities?" Um, well, yes, he's physically disabled. Uncomfortable pause.

Hospital information was given, in case we needed it. I should mention here that we have a rule--NO HOSPITALS ON CHRISTMAS.

Now, usually, folks don't need to make this an actual rule. It's kind of understood, right? But 2 Christmases ago, Soren actually almost landed in the hospital. I can't remember clearly, but I think it was a few days before Christmas that Aaron and I ended up in the emergency room with the boy. We made it through Christmas that year but then Soren ended up admitted in the hospital with aspiration pneumonia (he had inhaled milk into his lungs) for New Years! He was stuck at Huntington in Pasadena (home of the Rose Parade) two days before and into New Year's Day. If you don't know Huntington, to get there, you actually have to cross the parade route. NOT a good place to have your kid stuck in the hospital!!!!!

So this is where our rule came from. Fortunately, we were able to stick with it. After Soren had calmed, I took him back to the room to make sure he stayed awake. Once I got him out of his wet clothes, he was happy as a clam. Kicking, smiling, and pooping. Three times for Pete's sake! And not a hint of concussion.

He ate well, drank well, pooped well, and frankly, had a hard time going to sleep. Since we'd forgotten Mo's stuff, we had forgotten her favorite blanket, Bobby. So Aaron slept with Mo while I slept with Soren. I think I passed out before him, the stinker (literally).

So, that was our "Merry Christmas." Teaching us, don't ever get too set in your plans, 'cause life will come in bite you in the ass. But all things considered, it wasn't a bite. Only a nibble. Our boy is fine. Our girl had fun in the hot tub. And that always makes things more merry.

Still, we're hoping for an uneventful New Year. We're staying home, spray-dying Mo's hair. Maybe Soren's too. Heck, maybe we'll do ours as well. Just no hot tubs.


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