For the last few days, we’ve been staying at a Guard Station (a Forest Service Cabin) in Hoback, Wyoming. Technically, it’s just before Bondurant, Wyoming but they call it the Hoback Guard Station. The downside is that it is in Sublette County, Wyoming. The only tickets I’ve gotten since 1994 are in Sublette County. I hate driving in Sublette County for this reason. If it weren’t for this new cabin we wanted to check out, I wouldn’t have gone there!
We got to the Guard Station at a decent time on Tuesday night. The boys immediately took off to start playing and running on the hill that was on one side of us. Jen and I were cleaning the kitchen in this place (as we always do in the Forest Service Cabins) and getting our stuff put away nicely. I started cooking my potato soup for dinner and Jen was putting our clothes in the newly washed dresser that had been provided when there was a loud scream.
I turned and screamed myself.
Most of the time, when the children do things, I am quite able to hold my tongue so they don’t get more freaked out than they are. This time, I could not. My full mommy alert went off and, after dropping the knife I was using, I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my baby’s finger as tight as possible. Picking him up, I yelled for Jen to get the keys, jackets and get the older son in the car. Out loud, I was rattling off all I knew of medicine. It’s effects, it’s purposes, it’s side effects.
Brendan, for the first time in his life, got curious about my Epi-Pen. This pen (shot, really) is used when I get stung by a bee. It gives me a shot of adrenaline to keep me alive until I can get medical treatment. While I was busily getting dinner ready, he took it out of its package and managed to inject himself with it.
Mumbling to myself (not very quietly), I started thinking, “Epinephrine. Adrenaline. Massive energy sent to the heart. Small child. Adult dose. Bad. Very bad.” We got out the door and into the car. I handed the baby to Jen with instructions to keep the pressure on the finger and climbed in. When we got to the bottom of the hill, I dialed 911.
Did you know, Verizon cell phones (or maybe just my Motorola) do not track 911 calls? It shows nowhere on my phone that I called 911. I’ve looked!
But, call them I did. I was greeted with a question,
“If this is an emergency, please press 1.”
You want me to function enough to press 1 on a small cell phone while trying to get the gate open at the bottom of the hill in a town I do not know (except for getting tickets) and manage to keep my calm?
I pressed 1 and waved for Jen to get the gate open. Holding tight to Brendan and his finger, she managed to climb out of Rendy, unlock the gate, open it and let me drive through and then close it again. Sometimes, she amazes me.
Sometimes. (*tease, Jen*)
When a man got on the phone, he asked what my emergency was. Very quickly, I told him my name, where I was staying and what had happened,
“My 5 year old shot himself with my Epi-Pen. I’m allergic to bees.”
I’m not sure why he needed to know that but, o’well. I said it.
He informed me I had two choices. The first was to wait where I was for an ambulance to come from Pinedale, Wyoming (30-45 minutes) or I could have a doctor call me back while I was waiting for the ambulance and instruct me on what to do.
I asked where the closest hospital was. He told me it was in Jackson, Wyoming (a good 30 minute drive or so through back hills, windy and twisty roads and some tight curves). I said, “I know how to drive fast. I’ll head that way.”
He responded with, “I’m not allowed to tell you to drive fast but be careful.”
I hung up and set out on the road. Within minutes, we had lost what cell signal we had and were committed to the course I choose.
Now, when I say that I know how to drive, trust me – I know how to drive. Except for the occasional distraction by Caiden in the back seat of Rendy (curious, scared mom worrying him, his brother hurt – yeah, distracting), we made it to Jackson in record time. Not with out another sort of bump, though.
Just before Jackson, I was about to pass two cars that were getting in my way when a trooper pulled in behind me and pulled me over. I had my license ready (thanks again, Jen) and waited for him to get to my window. As soon as he did, I handed him my license and said, “I don’t care if you give me a ticket. Let me get my son to the hospital and you can do whatever it is you want to do.”
“Well, ma’am, what seems to be the problem?”
“My son shot himself with my Epi-Pen and I don’t know what the drug will do to him. We’re trying to get there as fast as possible. We were in Bondurant. I’ve had pressure kept on it to try and cut down on how much actually circulates through his system.”
“Why didn’t you call 911?”
“I DID. They said I would have to wait a minimum of 30 minutes for an ambulance to show up!”
“Well, I’m gonna keep your license. I’ll see you at the hospital.”
I didn’t say another word. I just floored the gas and took off while he was still getting back to his car. He followed us all the way to the hospital. I did slow myself down just a little bit – mostly because we were in city limits and because there was construction and traffic.
When we finally got to the hospital, I turned in the wrong way and ended up parking in from of the office buildings and grabbing Brendan. I speed-walked to the Emergency Room entrance, leaving Rendy there with Jen and Caiden. The cop pulled up alongside me and said, “I’ll give you a warning. Be safe.”
I grabbed my license from his hand and walked away without saying another word to him. I didn’t care. I didn’t know if the Epi was going to harm my child or not. He could go hang himself, as far as I cared at that moment.
Many years ago, I watched a movie and they talked about a phrase that goes something like, “Force Majeur.” I can’t look up the spelling right now, my internet is charging so I can post this when I am done typing. In the movie, it meant, “All bets are off (legal and illegal) until the crisis is averted.” I was willing to stand on that – true or just movie-house fiction – in regards to the cop. I am a good, law-abiding and America-loving citizen. I don’t do rude to cops.
I. Simply. Did. Not. Care. What. He. Wanted. To. Do. To. Me. For. Being. Rude. And. Breaking. The. Law. This. Time.
When I got Brendan inside, one of the nurses was already on the phone with someone in the back. I’m assuming they already knew part of the story because I had called 911. They calmed me down (I was panting from the fast walking, etc) and took me and my son to the back to look at him.
He was fine.
I could drag it on for another thousand words (with a whole lot of story to it) but, seriously? He was fine. They kept him monitored for a good hour and a half to be sure. However, they believe that the needle touched his skin and he jerked, causing none of the medicine to enter his blood stream. Of course, by the time we got there, I was pretty calm about it as well. It should have had some reaction to him by then and, since it hadn’t, he should be ok.
The Epinephrine is also a vascular-constrictor. It will cause blood cells to shrink. The layman’s way of putting this is, “All energy is diverted to heart and lungs to keep the body alive, everything else is ignored until the danger is passed.” They watched his finger to make sure none of the medicine would hurt his finger and then let him go. I guess, if he actually had gotten medicine in his body, his finger would have reacted much like frost bite.
They gave me a prescription for a new Epi-Pen, destroyed the one he used and told him to stay away from Mom’s medicine. For the first time in the past 6 and a half years of having children, my child got curious. They have always respected mom’s medicine before. This was completely new and off the norm. We had a long talk about medicine on the way home.
You better believe you me!
Oh, and Jen drove. I wasn’t about to chance that cop waiting to pull me over – for legit reasons! We got Wendy’s to go and ate on the way back to the cabin. Around midnight, I finished cooking my potato soup (my new specialty, by the way) and we ate that before going to bed. Oh, and a side note? Turkey bacon with the potato soup is disgusting. Never again!
More on our adventures later…. this new cabin we’re in has no power so laptop use is minimized. Later on, I’ll try to get pictures of Brendan in the hospital, as well!