Pain in My Neck…

June 4, 2009

I guess it was that time of the month- that didn’t sound right. Let’s start over. It was time for my monthly trip to the ER last Friday- and as always the boys remained true to their method of alternating injuries. Last month it was Mack and his finger. This time around it was Cayden with a neck injury. Before I delve into the details let me start by saying Cayden is perfectly okay- 100% recovered. On to the story.

I received a call around two in the afternoon from the school health assistant informing me that Cayden was in her office complaining about a sore neck. She told me that he seemed fine other than every time he moved his head he started to cry- I’m no doctor, but that doesn‘t sound fine to me. My youngest is tough as a ten-penny nail and doesn’t cry easily, especially at school where the other 6-year tough guys would surely see him. I immediately stopped whatever obsessive compulsive behavior I was engaged in and shot straight up to the school.

I called Connie on the way to let her know what was going on. Her advice- call 911 if anything looks peculiar. Good advice, but unnecessary- having been a member of the Groah brood my entire life I don’t need anyone to remind of the magic digits- I keep those on speed dial.

The minute Cayden saw me walk through the door, tears welled up in his eyes. He tried to move into my arms, but even that simple task caused a great deal of pain- peculiar enough- let‘s call 911. While we waited, I asked Cayden what happened and he told me that at “Resuss” (sic) he was doing a bunch of cartwheels and flips and in the middle of his stunt-man routine he missed a crucial landing. It wasn’t missed as much as redirected- he landed, it just happened to be his neck that he landed on. Why Cayden believed he could perform back flips and cartwheels is beyond me. I’ve paid for a number of extracurricular activities for the guys but gymnastics wasn’t one of them. I guess when you’re six, nothing is outside the realm of possibilities- thank God he didn’t pick flying or fire eating.

Having been the recipient of several spinal injuries in the past and being a proud owner of several fused discs and a titanium plate, I took the injury very seriously. I held him still as possible until the paramedics arrived and were able to secure him to a back board. It was official, my Friday afternoon sucked. Nothing looks more pitiful than a terrified 6-year old little boy strapped to a back board with a neck brace on. I called Connie to fill her in- she was on her way to the hospital at warp speed.

During the ambulance ride the paramedics triaged Cayden and attempted to gather details on the accident. If I was a betting man I would wager that the paramedic asking questions didn’t have children of his own. The conversation sort of went like this.

Paramedic- “On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most extreme pain you’ve ever felt where would you place your pain?”

Dad’s thoughts- “Are you serious, where’s the friggin smiley/frowny face chart that kids normally look at?”

Cayden- (Obviously confused) “The pain’s in my neck”.

Paramedic- “No, no buddy can you assign the pain in your neck a number from 1-10, 10 being the most excruciating pain you’ve ever felt, 1 being no pain at all?“

Dad’s thoughts- “Clueless non-child having paramedic is going to keep questioning him as if he is a 40-year old cancer survivor- “excruciating” is not a word in a 6-year old’s lexicon- unbelievable”

Cayden. “(Irritated) Yes, THE PAIN IS IN MY NECK!”.

Both of them were starting to get surly so I stepped in and put it into 6-year old little boy terms. Cayden’s reply, more than 100. Since I am a parent I was able to translate his pain rating to mean “Holy Shit!  This hurts a lot.  Make it stop!”

When we got to the hospital, the paramedic made one more attempt at non-age appropriate humor by asking Cayden if he planned on hitting on any cute nurses. Cayden simply replied “No, I don’t hit girls”.

Once we made it into a room, we met a wonderful nurse practitioner who built an immediate rapport with Cayden.  Super lady, really caring and great bed side manner (we love you Helen Brown). Her presence immediately put Connie and I at ease. She ordered all of the appropriate tests and ruled out all of the serious possibilities. Three hours later we left the hospital with one little boy diagnosed with a pulled neck muscle. The spasms are what caused so much pain- having had them before I can honestly say that Cayden weathered the storm better than his old man.

The best part of the whole ordeal for the Nugget was that he got to keep his super cool whiplash collar. He would wear it non-stop if we let him, but Connie and I decided to limit its use. However, we did let him wear it to school on Monday so he could enjoy his minor celebrity status as the only kindergartner transported from school by ambulance while strapped to a back board. The kid was a friggin “Rock Star”.

He’s okay.

Connie and I not so much. God made kids from rubber so they would have a good chance of walking away from the stupid shit they attempt without serious injury. But sometimes little guys do get hurt- and when they do we (parents) feel helpless. It’s when we feel helpless that we ask ourselves some very hard questions. When was the last time we played catch, freeze tag or hide-and-go seek? Do I have video tape of Cayden running, playing soccer, jumping on a trampoline? Can I remember vividly the last time Cayden ran to me and jumped into my arms? What if this is it?

I know these are morbid thoughts but I share them to remind everyone to enjoy every moment. Study your child in motion- watch them run, swim, jump, ride a bike, chase fireflies, dance and act like fools. Commit these images to memory, capture them in pictures and on video tape- take nothing for granted, have no regrets.

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Tango posted the following on June 4, 2009 at 10:00 pm.

That was scary!!! I’m glad that Cayden will be okay. ….and yes, you’re right….tomorrow is not promised!!
Hugs to you and your family! 🙂

Nicki posted the following on June 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm.

I don’t think I have ever commented on your blog before, but I have you on my Google Reader, so I read every post. I just felt led to comment on this post and say I am so glad Cayden is okay. Thanks for the reminder that we are never promised tomorrow.

Mary Hanson posted the following on June 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm.

Shane & Connie: I’m so glad he is okay. Good to remember to cherish every moment with our kids, because we *don’t* ever know when this is it. Take care all…
Mary


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