• Labor Day 2013

    |October 19, 2013

    Labor Day is an automatic day off for me from work. As you have read in past posts, a day off is a special time for the family. We do many fun and special things when Daddy is home.

    But a majority of this day off was one that was not filled with much fun. It started out great. I made homemade doughnuts. I would match my doughnuts against any doughnut maker around. Melts in your mouth! Anyway, that was our special breakfast. We invited the grandparents over to sample the delicacies.

    After breakfast, we kind of hung around the house and didn't do much of anything. Then, after much begging by the kids, we prepared to go to the park to play. I had it already planned, but they wanted to go much sooner. We were getting ready to go. The three older girls were wanting to ride bikes while the rest of us rode in the van. There was some fussing going on about the bikes. I threatened not to go to the park at all if this fussing kept up. Things toned down a little.

    We arrived at the park with kites, tennis rackets and a container of beverages. Marchel and I played tennis a while. I had the urge to fly a kite and a few of the kids went with me while the others stayed with Marchel playing tennis. I'm not sure who was with me attempting to fly the kite (with five kids, you kind of lose track where everyone is at times).

    What happened next changed the course of the day and the fun. One of the girls yelled saying that Harmony (the youngest) had falled off the slide. I quckly looked over to the slide. Lying on the ground and beginning to scream and cry was helpless Harmony. She had fallen off the steps of the slide and had landed on a concrete slab at the bottom of the steps. I rushed over and picked her up in my arms. I looked at the side of her head and noticed a patch on her head that was scraped and beginning to bleed a little.

    I ran over to the tennis court where Marchel was and told the kids to get Momma. Marchel came over and by that time, Harmony's head was beginning to swell in places with goose eggs. She was still screaming. We had no cellphone with us. We decided to make the 14 miles trip to Fairfield to get her checked out.

    We loaded up one of the bikes, but had no room for the other bikes, so we left them at the park. I began to quickly drive to the hospital. The 14 minute drive seemed like 8 minutes, in reality, that is what it was. I noticed that the van drives very smoothly at that rate of speed. The other girls were all crying in the back. Not sure if it was because of the trauma that Harmony went through or because of the speed I was driving.

    We arrived at the hospital (safely) and Marchel took Harmony in while the other girls and I stayed in the van. I tried comforting the girls best I could. I told them the only thing that we could do was to pray for Harmony. Humanly speaking, there was nothing to do. It was all in God's hands.

    A nurse came out after twenty minutes or so and told us to come in. The nurse led us back to where Harmony was. She was still crying, but to make things worse, she was now strapped into a brace onto a small stretcher. She looked very pitiful. Seeing her in that state, as a parent, makes you want to take the pain for her and take her place. She couldn't move her little head and was crying for Momma and for the girls.

    The decision was made to airlift her to Iowa City for better care and for testing. With a head trauma, it is very delicate. No one was allowed to ride with Harmony. The girls went with Grammy and Marchel and I went home to get the phone and then up to the hospital to meet Harmony when she would arrive.

    While traveling to Iowa City, yes, I did get pulled over by the police. Amazing how they can just come out of nowhere and you see lights in your mirror. He asked for driver's license, etc. and before he went on, I told him my little baby was just airlifted to Iowa City and we were on our way to meet her. He cautioned me to slow down and let me go ahead. Let me pause right here and say a big thank you for law enforcement officers and what they do! Not because he let me go, but because he had a genuine concern for the safety of my family.

    We met Harmony as they were doing tests on her. She was now quietly lying, still in a brace and on the stretcher, but calmed down. As with all tragedies with children, a social worker was quickly on the scene asking questions. It's kind of like being on trial as they ask you all kinds of questions. It's almost like they are trying to catch you in your words to somehow convict you of something.

    Harmony was wheeled into a room. Many tests were done to see if there was blood on the brain or any other problems. Tests showed there was a small fracture on her skull. Later, a test showed some blood, but not something to be too concerned about. On the MRI, Harmony and I went into the tube together. Kind of like something on Star Trek. I had been in one before, just not like this, holding her legs while lying on my stomach.

    That same evening, the brace was removed after tests showed there was no damage to the neck or spine. Marchel and I spent the night in the hospital. The next evening she was released from the hospital. The first day home, Tuesday, Harmony had some bruising around her eyes and head. On Wednesday, she started to swell in the front of her head. By Thursday, the swelling went down.

    By far, of all the five girls, Harmony has the record for the most money spent since being born. They told us that the hospital stay for Labor Day was free because it was a holiday. What little was saved there was made up in other ways!

    It was a very stressful day overall. But, in it all, we could see God's hand. It could have been much worse! Many people were praying for Harmony that day. That made the difference. A sober thought as we were traveling up to Iowa City, not knowing the outcome, what if God would decide to take Harmony? I asked God for peace because I didn't think I had that peace at the moment. I struggled with that, but I was willing to accept whatever God had in store.

    Harmony just had her followup appointment. Things looked good. The fracture was not pushed in but was pretty much level and should heal well. She is very active, like nothing ever happened.

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