Last Monday was a day off from work. A day to relax and spend time with my family. I spent the better part of the day seriously contemplating having Elise take me to the emergency room.
We took Maly the neighborhood pool that morning. We played and laughed as it was Maly’s first time to be in a big pool.
As Elise swam laps, Maly and I played in the free swim area of the pool. I kept giving Maly inches of freedom and she eventually wanted to pull herself up out of the pool. I finally let her pull herself onto the concrete by the edge of the pool and she immediately started walking away. I immediately got out of the pool to follow her as I didn’t want her to get trampled or trip and hurt herself.
As soon as I got out of the pool, she circled around and headed right back for the pool. I jumped into the pool ahead of her and turned in time to catch her as she lunged herself at me.
Whew. A little stressful, but fun in the same breath.
I held Maly in the pool for barely a minute before she decided she wanted to be at the edge of the pool again. Given our previous experience just moments ago, I decided to let her pull herself out of the pool and I would just wait in the water for her to walk away and turn around to jump in with me again.
She pulled herself out and up to her feet. She walked a couple steps to her left and stuck her arms out in front of herself to push against the mesh canopy of her baby flotation raft that was sitting on the concrete. What she thought was a solid, rigid object that would support her full body weight weight was actually a flimsy cloth held taught by bendable plastic dows. She fell face first through the canopy and onto the concrete.
I heard a little pop that I think only a parent can hear when they witness their child’s face hit concrete at terminal velocity. I watched in awe as a part of my brain was attempting to convince me that she would be okay. That part of my brain waited until it heard the cry. Not the I’m Sleep, I’m Poopy, I’m Hungry or I’m Angry cry. It was I’m really Hurt, Something is Probably Broken and it’s All Your Fault cry.
I immediately reached out from the pool, picked her up and held her against my chest while holding her head down on my shoulder with my right hand.
She cried and cried and cried and tears of pain poured from her eyes.
Elise heard the crying, jumped out of the pool and took Maly from me. When she took Maly from my arms, a mouthful of blood fell onto my shoulder.
I followed quickly behind over to the chair where Elise was sitting and holding Maly so I could provide whatever support was deemed necessary. My support role became Emergency Popsicle Fetcher.
Maly cried even harder when she saw that I was walking away. That sound made the lump in my throat grow ten-fold.
I came back with a strawberry popsicle and that, we have learned, is the emergency fix for a busted lip.
Now that Maly was intent on her popsicle I was able to take stock on my daughters facial anatomy. It was at about that time when my anxiety attack started. Although we were able to determine that her top tooth was still intact and firmly mounted to her upper jaw, I just couldn’t get over the fact that my daughter was hurting.
Her upper lip was busted very badly which made it swell to point where Maly just didn’t look like Maly. In my heart of hearts I knew that she was going to be okay, but my mind ran the gamut of “what ifs”. I knew she was in pain and I wanted to take that pain away from her. I suppressed my desire to panic and just sat there and watched Elise hold the popsicle for daughter.
Even though things were going to be okay, I was still flooded with emotions and fright. She didn’t need to go to the doctor. She just needed to finish her popsicle and we could all go home and she could take a nap.
Still sitting there I looked at Maly and almost wanted to cry. I didn’t, but it suddenly became very hard for me to breathe, the base of my head, just behind both ears started to ache and my entire body began tingling.
We took Maly home and I put her down in her crib for a nap. An hour later she woke up and she acted and felt perfectly fine. We fed her lunch (which included another popsicle) and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon shopping for furniture. Before we headed out, Maly’s swelling had gone down almost completely and she looked almost normal sans a red upper lip and a bruised nose.
I still had a hard time catching my breathe for the remainder of the day. Elise later told me that she caught a glimpse of me watching Maly while we gave her the emergency popsicle poolside. She said I turned white.
The only other time I have experience what I think was an anxiety attack was when my family was waiting in the car for me to drive us all to Dad’s memorial service.