Paradise Lost

We made it to Kauai a few days ago and have gotten settled in. Yesterday was about idyllic as a day in paradise can be. We started the morning with football (that time difference though) and pancakes. The trade winds had returned, so there was a cool breeze blowing. At lunch, my grandparents came down and we all had deconstructed turkey tacos and Cowboys football.

After lunch, the kids from across the greenbelt came over and invited our kiddos to play with them. All day long, the air was filled with childhood laughter. They drove a go-cart up and down the green belt hills, nicknamed “Scratch Mountain” for all the scratches it gives you. They swung on the tire swing, played in the sprinkler, ate starfruit and bananas fresh from the tree by the dozen, and hid out under shady trees talking of things that little kids talk of… They traipsed home hours later, sunburned and tired, grins plastered on their faces.

Reghanne and I had gone to scope out a hike we hadn’t tried before that promised to take us to a local beach. When we got home, all the girls hopped in the van to grab a quick dinner at the local grocery store.

While I stood at the deli counter contemplating corn dogs and rotisserie chickens, my daughter’s phone rang. Her face immediately registered the urgency of the caller. She said “Mom, Clint said to drop everything and come home right now. All I could hear in the background was Denton screaming.” This is a thing that just doesn’t happen. He would never call or say that unless it was critical. I threw the carefully selected corn dogs on the floor and ran to the car. It is probably a mile or less to the house, but it felt like an hour before I pulled in the driveway.

The first thing I saw, was Michael laying on the driveway on a pillow with a towel over him. He was disoriented. He and his brother had decided to come in, but he wanted one more trip up the tree on his way to the house. We think, he jumped to swing down from a branch but swung to hard and lost his grip, falling around 8 feet to the concrete.

He asked me “Why was I in that tree?” and I told him he was climbing. He said “Why am I on the sidewalk?” I told him he had fallen. He asked me if his arm was broken and I told him it was and he started to cry. A few seconds later, he looked up at me and said “Why was I in that tree?”, and started the line of questioning over, and over, again.

It felt like decades before the ambulance arrived, but when they did they went right to work. After a CT and some x-rays, they determined his brain looked great and arm was broken, but it was minor and would just need a cast.

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All the people who helped us on island were amazing. The neighbor, Dylan, is a certified emergency responder, and helped us access him, kept everyone calm, and gave the pertinent information to the EMT’s. His wife, Michelle, took Denton over to their house to hang out so he wouldn’t be so upset. These strangers hugged us through tears, cared for our children, and jumped right in. The ambulance drivers played all the siren tones for him. Dr. Conrad was kind and gentle, he was never rushed and always explained everything in full, allowed us to ask any questions we wanted, and he was quick to get back to us with information when he had it. All the Aunties and Uncles (aka nurses) treated us well and were attentive.

All in all, it was about the best hospital experience we have ever had. The spirit of aloha is real. Mahalo to every single person we encountered last night. Excellent care made this traumatic experience a little more bearable.

In a previous post about traveling with kids, I suggested always being roughly acquainted with the emergency medical care in your area, and I will repeat that here. We did call 911, but the neighbors told us it is faster to call the local ambulance number because it bypasses the switchboard. Once she called them, the ambulance was here in no time.

This morning, Michael is his usual self, just a little more banged up. We are having a little  harder time recovering emotionally. He was alone when it happened, and as parents, it is hard not to feel responsible… even when your kid is doing something they’ve done 100 times.  We are hoping to salvage our trip, we will be here for 2 more weeks. We see the ortho tomorrow, so maybe we can get a special cast and still be able to hit the pool.

Today, we are resting and being thankful for the minor injuries that truly could have been so much worse. Keep us in your thoughts.