The children played "collapse" yesterday.
It's a new game, just started this week. One lays down on the driveway and the other runs inside to say they've "collapsed" and need ice packs in their armpits. I've been urged to call an ambulance three times this week.
"He needs a ride in the pecial ban to da hopital" my daughter says in her whimsical four-year-old voice, too excited to enunciate appropriately.
Where did this game come from?
It came from Monday.
Was it just that long ago? Was it that far away?
On Monday it was warm. Very warm. We played in the pool and I took out the Slip'n'Slide we had won on a Frugal Family Fun Blog giveaway. The day before the kids had been up late. Too late. And then Teaghan had awoken screaming that her stomach hurt. Her legs. My ears; my brain.
We were all tired and too warm.
After lunch the kids wanted to draw with chalk on the driveway. They had just changed from their swimsuits. I was rushing to get my column finished before my 5pm deadline.
I didn't make that deadline this week.
Harrison came back inside. Teaghan stayed out. I checked on her, asked her to come in.
"I'm having fun Mommy!"
It was easier to let her stay out.
I looked out at her as she dipped her chalk in a remnant water puddle. So tiny stretched on our expansive driveway, surrounded by the flowers she had drawn.
"I'm making a field of roses, Mommy!"
The baby tugged at me. I sat at the computer, nursing him and revising my column. I looked up. I thought to myself, "she should come in soon. It's hot out there."
I saw the construction workers from across the street walking into our yard. I dreaded the news they were going to delivery: the electricity needs to be cut; the water is on boil orders; they need to turn their truck in my driveway.
Three loud bangs on the front door. Too loud and violent. It's hot. I tuck my breast back into my bra. "How rude," I think. "Why did all of them come over?" I think. "What's going on?"
Where did I put the baby? I think I was still holding him. What did they say? I have no idea.
All I remember is looking out and seeing that tiny girl collapsed on the expanse of driveway. Three burly men stand around her: hardhats and orange vests to protect them. She is a vulnerable heap, unprotected and unconscious.
I run to her. I shake her. I gently try to awake her. Then more aggressively. "Teaghan! Teaghan!" I yell as I shake her little body, press my fingers on her throat.
"Sissy! Sissy!" Emerson repeats as he rubs her head and pokes her cheek.
"I'm going to call 911" one man says, pulling out his phone.
"Could you. Could you please?" I ask. Strangely calm though she hasn't moved or opened her eyes.
She's breathing. She's breathing. She's breathing.
I check under her. I rub her head. No bumps. No blood.
She's breathing. But her eyes won't open. She won't move.
I have to call my husband. I can't take the other two in the ambulance. The ambulance is on it's way. She'll be fine. She's breathing.
Her eyes open. Her hand twitches. She doesn't move. She doesn't talk.
My husband comes. Her runs to her. I put the other two in the van. The ambulance comes. They ask questions. How long? How long as she been like this?
I don't know.
They check her blood pressure, her temperature, her respirations, her pupils. Reactive. Thank God.
They talk to her. She stares at them. She looks at me. "Is she shy?" they ask.
I cling to that. She's shy. That's why she won't respond.
I tell them she's being investigated for stomach problems. Maybe she has diabetes. They prick her finger. She doesn't move. Doesn't scream. This is not my Princess Pea. She would kick and scream if they did that to her.
Where is my daughter?
Everything is fine. Her blood sugar, her blood pressure. The blood pounding in my skull.
She didn't hit her head. She peed herself. What happened?
They put ice packs on her and she moves. She snuggles into them. They ask her if that feels better. She nods. She responds. She's come back.
She's still quiet. Still confused. But she's responsive. She doesn't know what happened, but she's talking. Ina quiet, raspy, uncertain whisper she asks where we are going.
To the hospital. Where they find nothing wrong. Except some abnormality with her liver function test. We have to follow up with our family doc. She jumps up and down on the bed. She plays. She cries. She whines. She says she's hungry.
My daughter is back.
She was gone for far too long. Five to ten minutes. For heatstroke that's a long time. For seizures even, it's a long time.
We don't know for sure what happened. Heat? Exhaustion? Some other, sinister, heavy thing?
If those construction workers hadn's seen her. If they hadn't thought to check and see why a little girl was lying unmoving on a driveway. If they hadn't swallowed their own dread and checked on her. It would have been at least another five minutes before I finished nursing Emerson and checked on her again.
We were lucky. This time. And we're praying there isn't another.
My little girl is back from wherever she went. And she plays "collapse" with her brother on the driveway. Our trauma has become a game and she screams and she whines and she cries and she demands and I am so, so, very lucky that she is with me.
Don't ever go away again, Sweetheart.
"I won't Mommy. I will stay with you forever."
Writing Workshop. I chose prompt 5: Lucky.