Epiblogue: Hairmica’s birthday memorable, but not in a good way
A life-long friend of Dad's, and indeed the guys' godfather, he'd experienced a string of Fourth of July disasters over the years. Most involved break-ups with women who weren't nearly good enough for him anyway. "That day gets me every time," he said one year.
He's married now, with a 2-year-old and baby of his own. When he called last week, celebrating the Fourth of July with his family sounded like a great idea.
And it was a good idea until we took the kids to a neighborhood park about an hour before nightfall, to let them burn off pre-fireworks energy. That's when the Godfather's Curse headed our way. It hasn't left since.
Big Guy made it three times around a circle of pull-up bars. The fourth time, fatigue set in and he crashed, putting his arm out to break his fall. "My wrist! My wrist!" he wailed, and this was no "I need attention" put on.
By the time I got to him seconds later, his wrist was hideously twisted. I wanted to throw up. Instead, I waved to Dad. "I think we need to go to the hospital."
The 15-minute/15-hour trip to the emergency room was a ride of recriminations.
"I should have been there. I should have caught you," Dad said.
"Dad, no one could have caught me but Superman. Even you aren't that fast," Big Guy said during a break from his angry weeping at missed fireworks and vows to never go to a park again.
Five hours later - which is pretty efficient for an emergency room - he left with a cast up to his shoulder. His right shoulder, his dominant arm. It will remain for a month and a half, then a smaller cast will take its place for that much longer.
No fireworks. No karate. No soccer. And his birthday party is scheduled for a park.
We went to bed exhausted and reconciled to a pretty pathetic summer. Six hours later, it got worse.
"I can't breathe, honey," I said when I woke around 8. It felt like my lungs ended somewhere around my sternum and stabbing pain attacked my right shoulder.
Since I could have a limb falling off and not complain much, Dad took it seriously. He called an ambulance and went to the bedroom with the guys. They still were sleeping, but he didn't want them to wake up and freak out. Or try to climb in with me.
A few hours later, an emergency room doctor was inserting a chest tube: Collapsed lung. I have no idea how it happened, though it's tempting to blame the chest-jarring roller-coaster.
About 5 the next morning, just as I was comfortably numb in a morphine haze, my phone rang. "Big Guy's puking up water. What do I do?" Dad asked.
I guess they didn't cover vomiting kids in boot camp. And I guess my mom's merit badge for vomiting kids' care is revoked, too, because there wasn't single saltine, a drop of chicken broth in the house. The best I could do was soda left over from Boots' birthday.
"Give him that. Little sips," I advised.
By last night, I was home and Big Guy's tummy was better. We settled in, only to wake up a few hours later to the sounds of Boots wretching. The scenario repeated itself ever hour, on the hour until 6 a.m.
So now we have a one-armed kid with plaster up to his elbow, a mom with her right side taped up to her arm pit and orders not to lift anything and a pile of linens that smell like pizza puke - we just couldn't wash them fast enough. Oh, and we're moving sometime, to somewhere in the next few weeks.
I'm not about to ask "what else can happen" - I know better than that. But I am hoping the Independence Day Ick finds somewhere else to land next year - like, maybe a vacant lot somewhere in Antartica, where it can't hurt anyone.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.