Life &… Late Night ER Visits


Last night Kaycee and I decided to watch a movie all by ourselves, like a date night at home.  Delaney was working until 7 pm and Addie is still at school, and in fact this weekend she was in Sacramento at a regatta for with her college crew team.  We made a nice dinner sat down and turned our phones on vibrate and relaxed, no distractions. See one thing I hate is watching a movie with people when they constantly check their phone. Do you really need to be electronically so attached that you can’t be without it for a few hours? We have a loose rule that you need to turn your phone to vibrate and turn it over if we are watching something.


The movie was a good one and although we had stops and starts, for cleaning up dinner and bathroom breaks (the beauty of the at home movie), we were getting through it. Then at about 8:55 pm I heard my phone vibrate.  Ignoring it, I focused on the movie…we were at the end and it was the climax…. buzz… buzz.  Who could it be? Focus on the movie, it is nothing that needs my immediate attention, I am sure. Buzz…buzz. By now Delaney was home from work and was snuggled on the couch next to me, all my people were accounted for… buzz…buzz… BUZZ.


Little did I know that Kaycee’s phone was buzzing equally as much.  He was the first to reach for his phone and when he did he started murmuring, “um, what?”.  Something is happening… turn off the movie, “Something is wrong with Addison.”


My heart sank.  That statement, “something is wrong…”, holds so much daunting power. It is a phrase that could change, might change, may change EVERYTHING… but EVERYTHING is still the unknown in that moment.  


The texts were coming from Addie, in Sacramento, having a medical emergency.  She had been a little shaky after her day racing and thought her blood sugar was low.  It had started in her right arm but after 2-hours and food and Sprite she was shaking all over, uncontrollably.  TWO hours?!?!? That is a long time to wait to call but she is adulting…. in a hotel… with her college crew team… in Sacramento… remember?


I immediately when to the phone to call her and as the phone rang a sort of pall seemed to blanket me.  I had immediate flashbacks to when Kaycee was sick, the calm, unemotional demeanor, that was needed so often during urgent situations, took over.  I knew that my nervousness needed to be shelved while I spoke with her, I needed to put my mommy-fix-it-now-energy away and embrace the stoic fact-gathering persona I have used in the past as I spoke with her.


Addie had called her coach by now, wise girl, because when she answered I was on speakerphone with her, her two roommates for the weekend and her coach, Mike.  Coach Mike is a paramedic and therefore knows a thing or two about what to do in a medical situation, for sure. This gave me the slight edge of comfort I needed to maintain my investigative manner and make a plan.  My one question to Coach Mike, really the only question I needed to ask to know what needed to happen next was, “If this was your kid, what would you do?”  His answer… go to the emergency room… and so off they went.


This situation is not ideal.  It is yet another new challenge in the process letting go of children as they learn to navigate adulthood. Let’s be real, you want to be with your kid when things are scary and urgent and medically unknown.  You want to fix everything while holding their hand, rubbing their back, calming their nerves. But when your child is 19. learning to adult and they are hundreds of miles away, it is wonderful to know that there are other adults who can step in; other kind souls that care for your kids in nerve-racking, uncertain times.


I texted my brother and sister-in-law, who live in the Bay Area, and put them on alert in case she needed family sooner than we could be there.  We started looking at flights and times for the next day out of Seattle, if necessary. What I didn’t do, what I learned from three years of living with cancer in our home, was go to the internet and google all the possible reasons this could be happening.  


(PERSONAL ADVICE NOTE: People… do not do this, EVER!  It is a black-hole that will have you so twisted that you cannot call upon your calm when you need it most.  Let the professionals do their job and then when there is a diagnosis, that is the time to do your research…not before!!!)


Once at the ER Coach took over the texting and was so great about letting us know what was going on: IV, blood work, labs…etc.  All came back good and in the end they concluded she was severely dehydrated. After two IV’s she was discharged and sent back to the hotel.  Poor Pacific NW girl is not used to the sun. Although she said she drank a lot of water clearly it was not enough.


After speaking with her this morning she reports she is exhausted and very sore, but fine.  Five hours of shaking leaves your muscles pretty worked out and tight. She is moving slow but said she feels SO MUCH better.


While I don’t want things like this to happen ever, I am thankful for the support and levelheadedness of my girl, her coach and in the heat of the moment, myself.  I have had more practice than I want with honing this skill and yet I feel that I am better able to cope with and clearly examine what is needed, energetically and emotionally, to better deal in crisis.  


I don’t want my kids to grow up and grow away from us… it is an uncontrollable situation that is moving at what seems like lightening speed.  I want them to stay small and innocent and unharmed, forever. Remember that scene in Father of the Bride, when Steve Martin hears his daughter tell him she is getting married and looks over to her and sees an eight-year-old little girl, I want my kids to stay young forever.  And yet I am loving the adults, the grown-up humans they are becoming.


In some ways they will always remain young, in my memories, at least.  But in real life I know they are growing up, adult-ing, finding their way in this crazy and unpredictable world,  All the while they are working hard to learn the skills they need to cope with these type of situations without us present. They are working to understand and strengthen the skills they possess to solve their own problems.  Meanwhile they are learning to recognize the good people they are surrounded by; people who can support them, not just mom and dad. (Thanks Coach Mike, Teammates, Uncle Terry and Aunt Lisa, friends, medical staff ,etc.)


Yes, this was a long night of worry.  Yes, it was hard and scary and unfortunate.  Yes, it was emotionally exhausting and extremely hard to not be available and present for my kid.  BUT I am proud of her strength, her steadiness, her determination and drive that she has developed.  Last night is just another reminder that, no matter what our age, we are all growing-up and adult-ing together, because honestly it never stops, right? And as far as keeping it together in stressful times, the immediate need for that demeanor has passed. I am off to have a good cry a hot shower and squeeze and love extra hard on the people in my life today.

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