Saturday, March 21, 2009

Too much information

While I have already shared the punch line, now I am going to bore you with the nitty gritty details. I was talking to my husband on the phone and trying to follow his toilet unclogging advice to the letter. After banishing my boys to the outdoors (seriously I didn't think I could stand to hear them say "coooool" one more time while I was trying to ignore my gag reflex) I continued probing my toilet with a wire hanger. All of a sudden the water in the toilet bowl started rising so I panicked and started to siphon out the water. Then I heard a loud whoosh, I ran out of my bathroom and into my children's bathroom. There I found water pouring out of the toilet bowl and onto the floor. Please note that their toilet has never worked and the water has been shut off for close to two years now. A loud and unpleasant meow from downstairs indicated that I had more problems. Sure enough, a pissed Persian with wet paws and water streaming out from underneath the downstairs bathroom's door confirmed my suspicions. Before I could have a panic attack or start to cry I heard my son scream...a bloodcurdling mind emptying scream.

I flew outside to find Hercules on the patio, ball at his feet, crying. I knew, before I picked him up, I knew. I scooped him up and tried to comfort him, but, I knew. I tried to lie to myself when he calmed down for a moment, but, the entire time I knew. His left arm was broken. In my heart I already knew this. My older boys kept trying to tell me how he tripped over the ball, but it was just a buzz in my ears as the panic took over. I called my husband and told him to start driving now. I grabbed the baby, the diaper bag, and my car keys. In a feat that I could probably only repeat if the house were burning down, I picked up the bag, my 23lb daughter in her car seat, and my 50lb toddler and carried them all to the car. I yelled for my boys to get in the truck (daughter was spending the night with BFF) and I made haste for the nearest urgent care center.

Again, I carried the baby and Hercules inside and ponied up my insurance card (thank God that after a year without, we once again joined the insured last month) and my available cash. We were shown into a room where the doctor took one look at his arm and declared a fracture and told me that I needed to head 25+ miles downtown to the children's hospital. I was already on an adrenaline high, so I demanded that if they weren't going to do a damn thing to at least make my son more comfortable, weren't going to x-ray it, that they give me my money back. The doctor then suggested that they put on a pressure splint to alleviate some of the pain, take x-rays so that the hospital could review them, and even gave the child a dose of Motrin. After the films were done, the doctor suggested that I find something to do with my other kids because it was going to be a long night. Hercules had broken two bones in his left arm (future money making, NFL class quarterback arm) and that he wasn't sure that the orthopedic specialist would be able to set it.

I called my Aunt, who was three sheets to the wind, but, she called my Grandparents who agreed to help. I drove to their house (in the dark even) and my Grandmother (mom to 8) informed me that she would be driving to the hospital and that my Grandfather and my other Aunt would be keeping the other three children. *Thank God for my Grandparents last night. I don't know what I would have done without them. My son broke his arm around six and we didn't get home until almost two this morning.* I was pretty happy with this arrangement, while this was the first injury in my decade plus as a Mommy that required medical intervention (seriously no stitches, dislocations, sprains or breaks) my Grandmother has tended to literally dozens of broken bones when her children were children.

I cried. Nearly nonstop, I cried. More than my son. I just couldn't stop. I was so worried about him. I also felt like the world's biggest parenting failure. Night blind, terrified to drive, completely inept to deal with ouchies, anxiety ridden, hormonally challenged, pathetic excuse for a mother. I couldn't help wondering what would have happened if my Grandparents hadn't been there. The possibilities scared the crap out of me.

When they finally showed us to a room, the doctor assured me that they would be able to set his arm, then in the same breath told me they would have to put him to sleep. OMG. Panic attack (pardon me doc...any Xanax at a Kiddy Hospital) commenced and I watched as they put an IV in my son's arm and put him to sleep. After the longest half hour (including when I was in naturally delivering that same nine pound wonder) in my life, I was allowed back in his room and we got to go home.

My Grandmother stopped at their house and we got my baby girl and then she dropped us off at home where my husband was waiting. I was so glad to see him...until my Grandmother left. Then after tenderly carrying my son to bed, Hubby exhausted himself complaining about the state of the house. Eventually, I slept.

This morning Hubby got up and started Operation Bitch, Piss, Moan, Plunge. After retrieving several feet of chain link from our toilet (we so didn't own any of this, so it can't be blamed on my kids) miraculously the water started to go down in all the bathrooms. Suddenly...we could flush! Then the bathroom cleaning/carpet cleaning/tub and tile cleaning was underway. I sat back and watched as much as possible.

Tonight we are able to flush. We can also walk on the bathroom floors without fear of contamination. Hercules is playing. He is mostly cheerful. Still awake and behaving badly at the moment. He is aware of his parents renewed patience and unwillingness to punish him in light of his "new arm band-aid" and while he may not be throwing things with much accuracy, he is happily pushing boundaries in other ways.

Hubby isn't just grumpy, he is downright mean. I still feel like the biggest Mommy failure in the world. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.


  1. Viv, you are not a failure. You cried and cried because it was scary and upsetting and because the one-time 9-lb wonder who used to be inside of you was hurt. I think that's harder for a mom than being hurt herself. Just imagining being in your shoes today makes me feel like jumping out of my own skin. Crazy-making.

    Don't worry about your house. I say this while trying desperately to write a manifesto that will free the mothers of the world, mostly myself, from the tyranny of having to be perfect, and organized, and patient, and loving, and creative, and cheerful, and flexible. Just imagine for a moment what you would say to a dear friend who had the day you did, and say those words to yourself. You know you are much harder on yourself than you would ever be on a good friend, on whom you would bestow all manner of kindness and compassion. Save a little for yourself. We are doing an impossible job, and raising children who are somehow still happy, healthy, mostly normal, and kind. (And yes, I can tell that by seeing the St. Patrick's day picture of your gorgeous children.)

    No broken bones over here yet -- not looking forward to that possibility. Two events requiring stitches.

    Take care of yourself...

  2. Viv, my God, what do you expect of yourself?? I am so pissed at your husband (but don't worry -- I will forgive him as soon as you are over it) and I'm sure his bitching doesn't make it easy to give yourself a pass on not being Donna Reed.

    If you have that many kids, that many BOYS, and have never had any major medical issues you really should be patting yourself on the back. Freaking impressive. And just the fact that you have matching clothes for ALL of them that appear to be stain-free, and you manage to get them all photographed, indicates you are a much better woman than I could ever hope to be.

    Oh, back to Donna Reed. Would any of these super-moms from the 50s have plunged a toilet? Hells no they wouldn't! They would have called their husbands home. Daggum feminism, forcing us to plunge toilets.

    I'm so sorry.

  3. I love Jen's comment. I agree with the fact that you obviously have it together. 5 dressed, matching kids. Come on, I can barely pull that off on a good day with just 3. I have sent Miles to school on occasion without any underwear. I am awesome.
    Also, yes please note that while I will rant about your hubby I too will forgive when you see fit.
    Seriously, chain link in the toilet? That is a new one.
    I am sending you all of my 'you will get through this' vibes.