Who Do You Call When Mommy is Lying On The Floor?
I thought I had emergencies covered when it comes to my kids. We have a meeting place in case of a fire. They have memorized my cell phone number in case they need to call me when I am not there. In case they have performance anxiety, my number and Spouse’s number is also written on our white board. In addition, they know to call 911 in case of a true emergency (and not just to find out “what would happen.” Sorry Alabama 911 system).
But a recent kitchen incident made me think that I might want to revisit our Emergency Response Plan.
It was a school morning and Numbers 1 and 2 were already off. I was cutting carrots for Numbers 3 and 4 and I accidentally cut the tip of my thumb. It bled a lot and a big flap of skin was hanging off. I ran it under water and wrapped a paper towel around it. It wasn’t a terrible cut, but my stomach was starting to churn so I sat down at the table.
I asked the kids to get me a band aid and watched trepidatiously as they hauled a chair over to the refrigerator and balanced on tiptoe to dig through the topmost cabinet which I had commandeered as an out-of-reach medicine cabinet.
They bandaged my thumb but I continued to feel nauseous and light-headed, so I put my head between my knees.
It did no good and I realized I was either going to be sick or pass-out. I lurched to the bathroom yelling at the kids, “call someone and get me a Pepsi!” (I guess I thought if I was only going to be sick a Pepsi might settle my stomach.) I sat on the floor of the bathroom, grabbed the porcelain bowl and then lost consciousness briefly.
I woke slumped against the wall with Number 3 standing over me holding the phone. “I can’t get the phone to work,” he said. I tried to get up but felt like I was going to pass out again. So I took the phone from him, dialed Spouse’s number and handed it back. I heard Number 3 say, “Mommy cut her finger, she’s lying on the floor and we have no Pepsi!”
I can’t imagine what was going through Spouse’s mind, but he told Number 3 he would be home soon and then called a couple of times on the half hour drive to ask Number 3 if I was still awake. I was, but I was shaking from head to toe, sweating and lying on the bathroom floor.
I am writing this blog post, so obviously, except for a huge case of embarrassment, I am fine. And I did learn some things, so these are my recommendations for refining an Emergency Response Plan.
Put some medical supplies within easy reach. I thought I was being safe by putting all our medical supplies in a high cabinet. But when I watched the kids standing on tiptoe on a chair to get to the band aids, I realized I have been short-sighted. There are some things they should be able to get to on their own. And if they really want to, they can get to the medicine.
To Number 5’s glee, we now keep some band aids and antibiotic cream in the silverware drawer. He happily plasters himself with band aids whenever he can, but I think the flagrant misuse of bandages is worth it (I just hope his preschool doesn’t think all those band aids really cover injuries).
I am also trying to talk to the kids more about medicine and how dangerous it is to take some without an adult’s permission. They are older now and I don’t have to worry about them eating a bottle of pills like I would a 2-year-old (I just have to worry about the dog). I think the worry now is that they might try to treat themselves and take the wrong medicine or too much of the right one.
Make sure your kids can use all phones. I had this one covered, or I thought I did. My kids use my cell phone all the time. No big deal.
When we moved to our current house, we briefly considered not installing a land-line. But then decided that we needed to have one in the house for the kids in case of an emergency. What we didn’t realize, is that they wouldn’t know how to use the phone. Number 3 didn’t know he had to dial a “1” before Spouse’s number and he didn’t realize he had to push “talk” before dialing the number.
Can you imagine what would happen if they encountered a phone like this?!
All my kids have now been schooled on the ‘old-fashioned phone’.
Have a number of someone close by that your kids can call, or have a plan for them to go to a neighbor’s house. After I was feeling better, Spouse said, “you know, if I was in the middle of a surgery, I wouldn’t have been able to come.” And a friend in town said the kids should have called her, she could have been there in 5 minutes.
I really wouldn’t enjoy a friend coming in the house finding me hugging a toilet, unable to raise myself up, wearing my ugly pajamas, but she had a point. It is a good idea to have a number of someone who is close that the kids can call. Or talk to them about going to a trusted neighbor’s house.
Make sure they know how and when to use 911. Through most of the incident I was able to communicate with the kids, so I don’t think a call to 911 was necessary. But we have since talked about when it would have been appropriate to call: if I hadn’t been responsive or if they weren’t able to call anyone else. Also, I have stressed the importance of staying on the phone with the 911 operator.
And hopefully you won’t have a child like Number 3 who is so curious he just has to call 911 to find out what happens (he also didn’t get off the bus one time because he had to know where the bus went after his stop).
Luckily it didn’t take a drastic emergency for me to find the gaps in our Emergency Response Plan. And hopefully now that we have planned better, we will never have to use it again!