A week ago Friday, July 20, Kurt, Clayton and I were at the local pool/aquatic center. After a 20 minute ordeal to convince Clayton to go down the big tube slide with me, I was relaxing in the summer sun and Kurt took Clayton to the zero-depth-entry, 1.5 foot kiddie pool (don’t worry, we sufficiently checked that the drains had covers).
I had been laying down for about 23 seconds when the energy around me changed substantially. I opened my eyes and turned to see 5 lifeguards hauling ass to the kiddie pool and one shouting, “CALL 911!” I turned a little farther in my chair to see many families being hastily ushered from the area. I made one more turn into the sun, squinted and saw Clayton sitting on the pool floor, in about 3 inches of water, Kurt towering over him and no less than 4 lifeguards in their bright red swimming suits, all trying to hold Clayton’s head still. Clayton was screaming for his daddy and wildly fighting the lifeguards’ clutches. As my sun-bleached brain put 2 and 2 together, I decided I better go see what all the fuss was about. I hesitated for a moment (what kind of mother am I, anyway?!?) knowing the guards at the gate would say something like, “I’m sorry ma’am, you can’t go in there right now.” Then I thought, well, duh, it’s not an operating room and we’re not in the pentagon (where, while on a High School social studies trip, I had to be escorted to the restroom and was scolded when I looked down a hallway we walked past), surely they won’t give me a hard time. Sure enough, though, I was told I wasn’t permitted to enter the gated kiddie pool area. Once I told them that was my son there was nothing to justify my daydreams (again, what kind of mother uses this time to daydream?!?) During this whole time, I was more and more sure that Clayton was really okay, and what the heck did they need to call 911 for? He was speaking clearly and moving all of his body (it takes a lot for a 2 year old to fight off 4 full-size people), I didn’t see any tell tale signs of a head or neck injury. All of this took about 45 seconds and the whole time I was wondering, “can we call the ambulance and tell them ‘Nevermind’?”
I made my way to the place where the will of a startled, scared 2 year old was in a furious war with 4 very dedicated teens. Needless to say, Clayton won. By the time I reached them, Kurt had been permitted to pick Clayton up, who immediately laid his head down, accomplishing the stablilty of his neck they had unsuccessfully been working for the entire time. Amidst the very high stress level and Clayton’s continued wailing, I ascertained the cause of it all: Clayton had slipped walking into the pool and bumped his head. REALLY?!? You called 911 for a 2 year-old’s bumped head?!?! Clearly, these people are not parents!
Kurt’s primary concern was keeping Clayton’s neck still (juuuuuust in case of a neck injury; always the first responder he is) so it was my job to try to help Clayton to settle down. I felt his head and he surely did have a nice goose-egg. After some low-tone encouraging words of his bravery he managed to stop crying (which surely was making his headache worse).
Then the ambulance and firetruck showed up, lights and sirens all for Clayton. We tried to make it a fun adventure for him. “The firemen and doctors are coming to see you Clayton! How fun. What color are he lights on the ambulance Clayton?” He wasn’t interested in anything but hugging his daddy and being grumpy to the lifeguards. The paramedics somehow got the message that the victim was probably fine, so they came calmly to the site. I can’t imagine what a nightmare it would have been if they had come rushing in, poking and all talking to Clayton at once. Clayton likes doctors these days, so he was okay with someone gently feeling his head and rubbing his small back and neck just to be sure everything was in the right place. We told them we didn’t think it was necessary for him to go in and we got a 2 minute run-down on the symptoms of a concusion so we could bring him in if there seems to be a problem later. We signed a legal document saying we refused treatment and it now resides appropriately in Clayton’s baby book.
A dose of Tylenol and Motrin when we got home and 30 minutes later Clayton was running, jumping, laughing and singing just like usual. He was a little cautious with laying down and table corners for a few days, but overall it was a pretty mild injury.
Lifeguard training should include a unit called “God makes small children out of rubber for a reason.”