A night at the ER

Namine fell and hurt her head and back this evening. We’re finally back home from the hospital, and she’s only suffered a minor concussion.

After work today, I joined Jessica and Namine at McDonald’s. I carpool to work with my dad, and while usually he just drops me off at home, tonight we (Jessica and I) wanted to visit Jessica’s mom, who is still in the hospital. So we met halfway at a McDonald’s.

Jessica and Namine were inside when my dad dropped me off. They’d already eaten something, so I bought myself a sandwich before we left to get our evening errands done. After I got my food, I sat down between my two girls. Jessica was sitting in a chair, while Namine was sitting on a stool — a colorful round thing with no back.

Namine must have forgotten that she was sitting in a chair with no back. She leaned back, and lost her balance. I saw her fall. It seemed to happen in slow motion, but it was over too quickly. I was out of my chair, reaching to catch her, when she hit the floor. Namine is so short that she didn’t hit the back of her head — she landed perfectly upside down, with a sickening crack on the hard tile floor.

When she struck the floor, I froze for a moment. What broke me out of that state was my daughter screaming. I picked her up and got her into the car. Jessica drove as I called the ER and Special Needs to let them know we were coming.

The worst possibilities were running through my head as I sat next to Namine in the back seat. But for her part, she stopped screaming fairly quickly. She was in pain, visibly in pain, but her ability to manage that pain has always been nothing short of remarkable.

When she had calmed down, I asked her questions to keep her mind working, questions to ascertain whether or not she had a concussion. On some points she could not recall, such as what she’d had to eat. But most — like her name, our names, where we had been — she knew.

Namine informed me that it was both the top of her head and the middle of her back that hurt. They were a throbbing pain, not constant. She never lost consciousness, and she was able to recount what happened.

When I was in college, I got hit pretty hard on the head in a sledding accident; the events immediately preceding and following the accident are still blank spots in my memory. Namine, on the other hand, had no such problems. While I am still uncertain how exactly I hit my head, Namine was able to describe in perfect detail precisely what happened leading up to, and following, her own accident.

When we arrived at the ER, we found that we had quite a wait in front of us. That was no surprise; still, we waited patiently. We needed to know the extent of Namine’s injuries. As it turned out, they weren’t nearly as bad as what could have been, but there was no way we could have known that.

At last we were brought back and seen by the nurse practitioner. She explained that while she agreed with us that an x-ray on Namine’s back was a good idea, she thought that a CT scan for her head was a bit much. Monitoring her for a few hours in the hospital, she said, ought to be enough. Then she left the room.

When she came back, she revealed that she had been on the phone with the Special Needs department. They felt that a CT scan was not overkill, so both a CT and x-ray were scheduled. A nurse came by shortly after to escort us.

Namine performed beautifully in both scans, as I knew she would. It was not, as they say, her first rodeo. She knew exactly what was required of her, and she did not disappoint. She did, however, recount the evening’s events in great detail to each tech. They were all impressed by her lucidity and vocabulary.

The results of the scans came back in fairly short order — as hospital time goes — and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Namine did not break anything in her fall, nothing was bleeding (outside or in), and she suffered nothing more than a minor concussion on her head and some bruising on her back.

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