…started out nice. The girls and I met Katie at Lakeview Garden Center and bought a few flowers. Then we went home and checked out the progress on our basement. We took a few pictures. We laughed at Charlie sitting on the “potty” in the soon-to-be bathroom. A few minutes later, everything went wrong. It all happened so fast. Charlie and I were in the “playroom” in the basement. We heard some bangs and looked to the stairs and saw Ryan somersaulting and cartwheeling down the stairs. I ran to try to get her in time but she hit the cement before I could grab her. The rest is a blur. I know I was screaming. So was Charlie. I know that we ran up the stairs and Katie called 911. I remember her crying. I remember me shaking. I remember the police and paramedics trying to assess Ryan and calm me down at the same time… and then we were on our way to Children’s in the ambulance.
The vision of her falling replays in my mind over and over. I’m hoping that by writing about it, it will leave my mind. I have a feeling it never will. I thought she was dead when she hit the ground.
We finally got to the hospital after a long drive in bad traffic with Ryan crying almost the entire time until she finally passed out from exhaustion. She just laid on me, a sweaty rag doll with a red goose egg on her forehead. Then triage, vitals, questions, waiting, crying, X-rays, neck brace, more waiting, no food or drink for Ryan, more crying, Elmo videos, a CT scan, and finally the words we didn’t want to hear – You are being admitted. The CT scan showed that Ryan’s kyphosis in her neck has worsened. We need an MRI in the morning. Hopefully she won’t need surgery. They will try to fit you in early. You still can’t feed her. Only clear liquids. More crying.
The vision of Ryan falling played over and over in my head the entire evening. I have a visceral reaction when I think of it. I rub my eyes to try and block it out, I shiver, I feel nauseated, I have to move. All the crying done in triage was by me. Ryan was a trooper. We were too upset to take any pictures but she was incredibly under control and well behaved. For a toddler who wants nothing else but to toddle around and explore, we couldn’t believe that she was able to lay so still in her bed. My special daughter amazes me every day.
Katie went home to be with Charlie (who was with Katie’s parents all evening) around midnight. Ryan slept well, even in her brace. Me, not so much.
This morning, Katie came back and we went down for the MRI around 11:30. She went under at 12:30. We waited for an excruciating hour and a half before she was done. She was cranky and hungry and after some phone calls we were able to get her some juice to drink. They didn’t want to take her IV out just in case they needed more testing (or surgery) and we still couldn’t feed her. Finally we got back up to our room. The next several hours were spent walking the halls and taking naps. We finally got to see the neurosurgeon around 6:00.
The news: We get to go home. Ryan’s fall didn’t cause more damage to her cervical spine. But she has a possible small fracture to T3 which will not have any negative impact and she won’t need treatment for. She can resume all normal activity. She will need to wear her neck brace until we see the neurosurgeon for a follow-up in a couple of weeks.
After a few more hours of waiting to get instructions on how to change the neck brace and the discharge papers, we got home close to 10:00 pm. It was the best feeling. Charlie was so excited and couldn’t get enough of her sister. Ryan was all over the place, like nothing happened. I had some more tears and a talk with Charlie about how scary it was to see Ryan falling. At that point she reenacted the call to 911 which made me cry harder.
Ryan will stay home the rest of the week with Katie and her mom while I finish up my last few days of school. We will celebrate Charlie’s 4th birthday tomorrow and hang out with some friends this weekend to try and get some normalcy back after this traumatic event. And then it’s summer.