Dec. 22, 2013

Last night I was reminded of the fragility of human life and how quickly everything can change.  I was babysitting my 2 grandsons, aged 4 months and nearly 3 years.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that my night would include a frantic call to 911, an ambulance ride to the hospital, and a stressful night of poking, prodding, and testing on my oldest grandson.

My evening started by feeding the baby and playing with his big brother.  We watched some Christmas movies, changed the baby’s diaper, and played some more.  My oldest grandson was exhausted from a long day of play with no nap and became increasingly cranky, eventually resulting in my placing him in timeout for a couple minutes.  He cried when I imposed the timeout and I felt bad for causing my best friend to cry, but knew that he had to be taught to be respectful and to listen when he was told to do something by his parents or grandparents.

After the timeout, play time resumed.  As I played with baby brother, big brother played with his cars 15 feet to my left.  When he stopped making car sounds a couple minutes later, I assumed he had fallen asleep and walked over to check on him.  The sight that awaited me resulted in a feeling of panic and helplessness that I have never experienced.  My oldest grandson was lying on his side, mildly seizing, eyes wide open, his mouth moving in a chewing motion as he hyper-salivated.  My immediate thought was that he had swallowed something or ingested something that was toxic.  I swabbed his mouth with my fingers to make sure his airway was clear and rolled him onto his back to see if I could elicit a response from him.  His eyes were still wide open and he was unresponsive.  At this point, the dreadful thought that my precious grandson may be dying right before my eyes began to creep into my mind.  I grabbed my phone and dialed 911 through my tears and made the call that no parent or grandparent ever wants to make.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I could see that he was breathing and had now closed his eyes.  Now, as I waited for the ambulance to arrive, I had to make the phone call to his mother to let her know that the child she entrusted to my care for the evening was unresponsive and awaiting transport to the ER.  By the time he arrived at the hospital, my grandson was awake and crying.  After hours of tests, all showing no problems, he was released.

While more tests await him, he is at home, healthy, and happy.  Last night reminded me to never take the next hour or the next day for granted.  Let your kids and grand-kids know that you love them and treasure every minute with them.  Never let your guard down and understand that everything can change in a matter of seconds.

Christmas came early for me this year.  I still have my grandson and I don’t need anything else.