Saturday, January 12, 2013

The worst day of our lives

I feel like this is going to take a lot of energy to write, and I could honestly sum it all up with a few sentences.
*Beckham's life flashed before our eyes.
*We had prompt care.
*We had a few days of hell.
*He is fine again.

But in true Holly fashion, though, I am going to create a novel.
This little blog has been a place of counseling before...
and even though this tale ends perfectly... I think I am fighting through the stages of grieving, and sharing my thoughts may help.

Lance called me from work on Wednesday and asked if I wanted to take the boys to his granny's and pick up the Christmas presents that were left there for them.
(I was on call the day they did their Christmas and was drowning with talks of flu and RSV... Lance didn't want to go without me... so we missed the festivities.)

I thought that sounded like a great plan, annnnnnd Wednesdays happen to be Tortilla soup night at the local Mexican restaurant, so we killed 2 birds with one stone and had dinner there first.

After dinner, we played at Granny's for a bit-- the boys opened the gifts and told all about their visit from Santa-- and Granny opened her gift from us as well.

Lance's dad asked if we wanted to stop by his house afterwards because he bought a new re-loader and wanted the boys to see it.

So we did.

I took a few pictures for him of some guns he is going to sell... Lance and and the boys reloaded shells for a bit, and then we started putting our jackets on to leave.

As Lance was bagging up some beef jerky that his dad had made, he looked over and saw Beckham with a bottle of pills.
I hear, "Dad, does that have anything in it." to which he calmly replied, "yes, son."

We were all within a few steps from Beckham when it happened and I immediately lept to him-- stuck my hand in his mouth-- and swept out a finger full of crushed pill fragments.  I went in for another sweep and realized that he had a mouth full.

Lance is always the calm in the midst of my storm, and I assume that is a trait from his dad, as Tony was trying to assure me that it is a very low dose medication and everything was going to be okay.

He and Lance's calm voice, though, and apathetic movements were like gasoline on my little fire.

Lance took Beckham and was trying to make him vomit and I grabbed the phone, attempting to call poison control.
I give out that particular phone number almost daily, sometimes multiple times, as a pediatric triage nurse-- but when I needed it for my own child, my mind wouldn't work.
I tried every combination the came into my head-- and each attempt brought more frustration and tears.
I texted Candace "911" but finally Lance told me the number from his memory-- just from hearing me give it night after night.

She asked me the drug name:  "Klonipin".
She asked how many I thought he had, and I had no answer.
These pills were the size of the mini M&Ms, in a tube like container-- just the way they come.
There were about 90 in the container and though my mind was telling me he had ingested 200-- reality was probably less than 10.

The poison control operator asked me how far we were from the nearest children's hospital and I told her 45-minutes-to-an-hour; to which she replied, "we don't have that much time".
In my head, she was saying, "he has less than an hour of life left"... Panic.
She asked if she needed to call EMS or if I could call them and I handed the phone to Lance.
I was useless.

Every piece of my body was crumbling in terror... and I thought I was losing half of my heart.  "in less than an hour"
Lance explained that the nearest hospital was 15 minutes away and he was stable to drive.

Most of the minutes following are a blur to me-- but I know my father-in-law got to hear a colorful array of words fall from my mouth-- tears-- and screaming.
I apologized to that precious four year old of mine later-- as he heard more curse words in those scary minutes than he has in his life... and for dragging him through a muddle puddle in his socks!  (the one thing that he reminded me about later!)

I explained to Candace, hours later, that she was probably glad that she didn't call me back.  Her virgin ears would have been trying to do an exorcism over the phone-- and Lord knows I didn't have time for that!

We strapped in the boys and I called my mom to meet me there and get Maddox but Lance had to take the phone to translate my tears.
Lance called his brother who told him to prepare me for them pumping his stomach and hours of monitoring.
I called his pediatrician at home, and she explained to me what she thought was going to happen and told me to keep her up to date with the process through the night.
And I called Amanda, my soul sister, to ground me.

It was raining, but we seat belted in, put the flashers on, and sped towards Decatur.

Lance dropped me off at the ER door and went to park the truck.

Before he made it back in, they already swept us in front of the crowd and into triage.
Within a few minutes, (if that) the doctor was standing at our attention and taking action.

Around this time, my phone starts blowing up with texts and phone calls.
As I am turning the phone on silent, I read a text from Wendy.  "What's going on?!?!  I am freaking out!!!"  "Your mom's post on Facebook."

To be honest, I was irritated.
Facebook was at the bottom of my care-list-- and I had no idea how stable or unstable our situation was at this point and didn't really want everyone to know the details...
But it was a fleeting thought, though, because we were in game plan mode and focusing on fixing our baby. 

The doctor explained that since we were within the hour of ingestion, we could do activated charcoal and it would have an over 90% rate of working.
The charcoal binds to the pill fragments and doesn't allow any more medication to absorb any further and then we would monitor his oxygen status as respiratory failure would be our biggest concern with this med.

Two male nurses entered the room and the younger one said he would go get the set-up for the NG tube while the elder one mixed the charcoal.

I was a roller coaster of tears and I think the idea of holding my baby down to insert a tube through his nose and into his stomach was too much for me.

The older gentleman came back in with 90cc of activated charcoal in a syringe the size of my arm and said he was willing to try it by mouth before they tubed him-- but he had never seen a child take it without force-- and did not have high expectations.

Take note here::
I am a believer in prayer and I found out later that my mom had simply asked for prayers for Beckham in her status.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) at the exact time that over 50 people stated they would pray for B, my little biscuit opened his mouth and ate 18 teaspoons of dirt without one tear, fight, vomit or attempt to spit.

He made the record books.

From there it was just a waiting game...

Hours of sitting and staring at him, with red cheeks and a listless response.
Maddox finally crashed around midnight, but Beckham refused to sleep.
I went into shivering mode, which is what I do when I am really nervous-- and felt the need to tell my mom of the one time I snuck out of my friend Kelsey's house when I was young.
It was the first time I did this over-dramitic cold and shivering response-- and it was July-- in Texas-- so I was sure I was dying!
I'm too old to be grounded now.  At least I cleared my conscious. 

I also realized, some time around this point-- that Maddox was still holding 2 empty shells-- Beckham looked like he was bathed in tortilla soup with his hair in all sorts of pitiful directions-- I looked like I had just got off tour with KISS, with mascara all over my face-- and we all smelled of cigarettes.


Though Beckham hated his monitor, he maintained great oxygen levels over the next few hours, and at face value-- he looked perfect.

Around 1:30 or so, the doctor came in to tell us that we were past the peak of the drug and they were going to discharge us.

A few minutes after he left the room, however, Beckham became very agitated.
He was hitting and scratching and screaming.
We passed him between us and tried to soothe him.
The nurse brought him some apple juice but he was pretty hard to console.
Even his Pop, that to him hung the moon, was no match for his reckless behavior.

I then thought that maybe he was just tired of being held, so I removed his monitor and put him down so that he could be a toddler for a minute.

Except he couldn't stand.
We tried a few more times and he had no center of gravity, and fell each time.

I grabbed his nurse in the hall, but he said that was to be expected and his discharge paperwork had been written and he could go home.
I wasn't ready to leave.
I was terrified.

Understand that I have never been to the ER as an adult, (even through 2 pregnancies and severe post partum hypertension) nor have I taken either of my children...
So if I decide that something is bigger than me, I want to stay in the presence of people smarter than me until I feel back in control.

We weren't there yet.

Nor would we be for a few days.

We left around 2:00 and Beckham finally screamed himself to sleep around 2:30.
Lance's alarm went off at 6:00 which woke B to the manner he went down in.
A rage of furry.

He wanted off our bed, but his feet still would not hold him.
He dropped to his hands and knees but immediately face planted.
He couldn't even crawl.

Three hours of off-and-on sleeping was just enough to send me over the edge here.
I haven't seen this boy in the crawling position in at least a year, and even then he had more coordination.

I called Dr Hayward at home.

She contacted Cook's and found out all the pertinent info on this particular drug and asked that we come back to be re-evaluated.
She said that if his oxygen had dropped or his blood pressure was too low, that she would have to admit us.  But if his vitals were stable, she would send him home again, to basically sober up!

Thursday was a very long day.

His O2 levels were good and his BP was within normal limits.
The drug could take up to 50 hours to leave his system, but since we were past the half-life the threat of danger was now minimal to none.
She said the the threat of kidney, liver or brain damage was not on our radar-- and that any decline from this point forward was not expected but would be visible.
He ate well at Chick-fila, but still had not passed the stool containing the medication.

I think my exhaustion, mixed with the thought that a lethal amount of drug was still siting in the GI track of my baby, added to his explosive fits, frustration, and inability to walk...
Made Thursday tough.

Friday Beckham pooped.
And he slept.
Almost the entire day.

He did started walking better, although he was more confident than his feet were-- and he crashed a few times.
(once, leaving a bonk above his eye).

He began to get control of his emotions Friday, and by the evening, he was 90% back to normal.

Maddox hurt my feeling though once I sat him down to talk about all that he had seen in the last few days.
He explained that he was scared for Beckham because he knew the pills were dangerous.  I told him that B was going to be fine now and asked if he trusted me... to which he curled his lip to his knees, and said, "yes momma.  But I am still so worried about him."

I did my best to include Maddox and praise him for being the best big brother.
But I was really tired.  And emotional.  And I could have done better.
He really is such a mature and amazing little boy.

I felt a weight being lifted from my chest when he took a shower late that night.
Beckham found his smile.

Throughout these 3 days, he took more baths than the city of FTW water department probably allows.
But water makes my kids happy.
And I was desperate for joy.

Alone in the shower (his 2nd cleansing for the day) -- with me making funny faces through the glass-- he started laughing, and squealing, and then Maddox joined him and he was yelling "bubba!" and  clapping and dancing with glee.

49 hour mark.

We made it. 

He slept great last night and I had to work this morning.

It was my first time since Wednesday to lose sight of my baby.
He had literally been touching my body, now, for days-- and I had to trust that Lance would be attentive and focused on any changes or behaviors that would be pertinent to his well being.
Lance is a ridiculously amazing dad.
But I am a control freak.

Though work was fine... my drive home was a mess.

I talked to Amanda, who finally shared with me her true (and hidden) emotions from the night... and the information the she found in her research of the drug.
How grateful that we are to the quick medical attention, and how differently this could have played out.

I think I let that set in.

This could have been so different.

In a matter of seconds, I could have lost half of my will to live...  My reason to breathe...  the other bump of my heart beat.
My child.

I was emotional thinking about all of the friends and family that reached out to us-- over and over.
We, honest to God, have the greatest friends in the world... and an amazing network of support.

I was thinking about Randi and my brother, and how they just both just sat in silence-- unable to talk to each other-- after my mom told them.  Scared.
And how Weeder offered to come pick up Maddox, late at night-- because it is all he knew to do.
About random strangers, that do not know me from the man in the moon, but stopped in their day and prayed for us. 
Every text, email, phone call, prayer and request for a visit were moving and helpful.

I was emotional thinking about Lance; my rock.
And how Maddox told Dr Hayward, "everyone was scared.  But not my daddy.  He was brave."
No one on this planet loves that child like I do.
Except him.
No one in this world, besides Lance is invested in that child like I am... or understands the depth of fear that Wednesday night layed upon us, and threatened to steal from us, but him.
And yet he held firm and encouraging... even through my mini panic attacks I have had each day since... for our protection.
Or maybe his, I am not sure?

I feel like I am going through the steps of grieving...
except we lost nothing.

I have moments of anger.
Not at my father in law, this could have happened anywhere...
But at the situation...
at some people in the situation...
And at myself.

I get angry thinking of other situations that we ignore and my children escape every day.
How careless we can be at times and how stupid we can be in regards to the safety of our babies.

I have had moments of random fear and anxiety and sadness-maybe?... that dumps like a bulldozer.
Like today at a birthday party when they called all of the kids to the front of the jump house and Maddox didn't immediately come.
Lance was with him... and my conscious mind knew that...
but the whipped and exhausted unconscious part of my mind thought he was gone too.
Which had me crying in front of strangers like an idiot.

It has certainly brought some things into perspective for me that will be fixed.
Like the pistol that Lance and I fight about on top of the refrigerator.

And the many expired meds and samples that will never be used but are just sitting there in the medicine cabinet, waiting for their next accident..

This accident has brought to light a few positive things too, like me being thankful for the opportunity that I have to work from home.

Wednesday was actually my "first day" at a little side gig in social media for a little extra cash each month.
Already quit it.
I called in Thursday night to my real job... and I will let the girl know Monday that I am out on the new one as well.
I don't need the cash.
I don't care that I will never own a Louis Vuitton, a pair of Louboutins, or even buy groceries without looking at our account first, to know what's fair to spend.
I don't care that the brakes on my car squeak or that my house is small.
I stay home.
With 2 beautiful children ...and the most supporting and loving husband ever created.
I work minimal hours...
Doing something I enjoy.

I got to watch every breath of Beckham's recovery...
with my hand on his chest feeling the rise and fall-- and beat of his heart...
I was able to push his hair out of his confused little eyes...
And tell him he would get better.
It was me who got to kiss his lips all day...
And tell him I loved him over and over and over as he raged and fought,
And eventually came back to us.

I don't guess I have a smooth transition or an ending to this little saga.

He is better and we are thankful...
so very, very, very, thankful.
To God.  To the ER doc.  To the nurses.  To Dr Hayward.  To our friends.  To our families.  To the prayer warriors.  And to Beckham.

But my feet aren't firmly planted into feeling confident and beyond this just yet....

I think that will just take time. 
and more prayer.


  1. I am so glad that B is ok. I can't imagine what those 49 hours felt like!!! Thank you for opening up and sharing such a personal story. You truly do amaze me, as a mother and writer! I'll keep praying for sweet B and for you! With time all things heal! <3

  2. Oh Holly, I'm so glad that he is ok!
    I can not even imagine that situation. So so scary.
    When Hannah was three, my mil was here visiting and since we don't have an extra bedroom, her suitcase was on the floor in the livingroom. Hannah was going through her stuff one morning and we told her no, but Grandma said oh she's just fine, so we let her continue. And then a few seconds later she was behind a wall and we hear her choking and coughing. We ran over and she had found Gma's pill pack and was foaming at the mouth with some blue pill. Jake swooped her mouth and as he tried to get her to vomit I was screaming at my mil WHAT WAS IN THERE! HOW MANY BLUE PILLS?!?! HOW MANY BLUE ONES DID YOU HAVE?! WHAT WERE THEY???!!! turns out, she had one blue pill. It was an ambien and as soon as H bit into it and realized how nasty it tastes, I think she tried to spit most of it out. And thank God my husband is a pharmacist and told me over and over that she would be just fine and if anything absorbed into her blood stream she might just sleep for a few hours. Oh my gosh it's such a scary feeling though. I'm so glad that it was ok in the end, as you I am sure. And we learned a lesson. After that I moved all the medicine in our house and now if we have guests we ask them if they have any meds to please leave them on top of the refrigerator as a precaution. You can just never be too careful. So glad all is well. Hang in there and rest up my friend. xo


  3. Holly, this morning with tears runing down my cheeks, I read your blog about the terror you and Lance went through last Wednesday evening. I wish I had known about it at the time. I know there was nothing I could do to help you, but I could have prayed for all of you.
    When Randy came over Friday morning and told me about how you had been at the hospital almost all night, and how you had to deal with taking Beckham home still scared to death that the worst wasn't over, it broke my heart...and it brought back memories of a night when Randy was about the same age as Beckham that I stood by his bed in the ER, frightened out of my wits for him. I still remember that hopeless, helpless feeling and the feeling that surely there must have been something I could have done to have prevented it.
    Mothers always feel they could have done something to prevent the accidents their children are involved in, when in reality, unless we have the power to see into the immediate future, we usually can do nothing. As Randy grew up, it seemed like standard procedure to make a run to the ER to have something sewn up or dug out, especially in the summer months, but everytime was a tramatic experience for this momma. That is probably why almost all of my hair is white.
    I am so glad that Beckham is back to normal and dancing in the shower with his big brother. Beckham probably won't remember the whole episode but
    I'm sure that Maddox will never forget it, and as he grows up and has children, maybe it will save the life of another child. Although we can never predict what a child will find to get into, or why they will chew up foul tasting pills when you have to wrap their vitamins in a piece of candy to get them to take them, just knowing what to do will stay with him forever. It sound like immediate reaction and quick response played the major role in getting Beckham the help he needed. I thank God for Lance's cool head and his training in EMT and your training as a Pediatric Nurse. I know you think your part was diminished because of the emotional state you were in, but that isn't true. You were there for Beckham and no matter how bad it got, he could look up and see his mommie and daddy there beside him, and that had to make a huge difference. Just imagine how scared and alone that baby would have felt without both of you there.
    I feel helpless now because I wasn't there to be supportive for you and Lance and I want to help you any way that I can. I don't know if you have any kind of insurance to cover ER or not but I can help with that if you need it. Just let me know.
    I know you can't stand the thought right now of being seperated from either one of those precious boys, but soon I would like to keep them for a while if you have errands to run or doctor visits for yourself or them, please keep me in mind and please let me know how Beckham is doing.
    Maddox will go back to school next week and tell them all about it, maybe take Beckham for 'show and tell'. He grasps things so quick and has such a mature understanding of situations without having them explained to him. I'm sure next year he will teach his own class on what to do in an emergency.

  4. God bless you guys...what a horrible ordeal to experience. I am so relieved to hear that everything is okay, and that you are getting back to normal at home with the boys. I do know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him {Romans 8:28} and love the perspective you have already gained from this. Hug those babies tight and get some rest. Hugs to you Holly.

  5. I'm so glad I already knew the outcome, because reading this brought me to tears. I'm glad you wrote it all out, I praise God that the outcome was a good one, and I just want to give you a big hug. I had a scare with Boyd a couple of summers ago in a swimming pool, one I will never forget, and I cried and felt terror about it for weeks....I pray you find peace in all of this. You are such a wonderful and precious mama to those boys!

  6. Oh Holly how horrible! I could feel tears in my eyes as I read this. I am so happy that everything turned out ok but am so sorry what you had to go through. I know you are all changed from it.

  7. holly, i knew this post would be an emotional one. i couldnt help but to imagine if that had happend to wyatt. i dont know of any mother that could read this with dry eyes. im so sorry this happend to your family and im so happy beckham made a full recovery, you have been on my mind constantly since thursday morning! i hope things get back to normal for you guys soon. ~leslee

  8. Wow Holly, I had no idea. It scares me and makes me think I need to watch my kids better while I'm at home. Sometimes I will let them play in their toy room while I cook, or Whatever.... Anything could happen at anytime. And I, like you, have gone over every horrible scenario in my head of how they could be hurt. I'm terrified of losing my kids, or my husband. Thanks for sharing... Tomorrow will be different around here
    ~~~ Jacqueline G.