Sunday, July 3, 2011

He Didn't Even Know What Hit Him...Literally

I haven't posted in a while because I've been in the hospital with Liam.  He's home now, and well on his way to a complete recovery but it was pretty touch and go for a while there.  So, here's what happened:

CJ got to attend a local baseball camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (another blog post soon to come with LOTS of pics), and the last event the camp offered was for the campers and their families to attend a minor league baseball game.  We looked around, but had no luck in finding a babysitter for the three littlest ones so we opted to just bring them with us. Besides, what could possibly go wrong, right? Ha!  These are SuperMom kids. Something will ALWAYS go wrong because that's just how we roll.

The kids were doing okay, but were certainly nothing short of wiggly worms. They were all over the place.  One of the things they were most interested in were the promotions going on at the platform above the first baseline.  Byron and I decided to go ahead and let Liam out of the stroller and put his backpack leash on him so he'd still be safely by my side.  We went up to the platform where there were performing dogs and a few other booths that he could look at.  When we got up there, we were talking to some of the other parents from the baseball camp when we noticed in a split second that people around us were ducking.  Instinctively, we both ducked and covered our own heads. Neither of us covered Liam's head.  That's a split-second choice we will both regret for a very long time.

The ball bounced off of something and hit Byron in the knee.  He was really sore and rubbing it for a fraction of a second before we realized people were running at us at full speed with looks of horror in their eyes. That's when we noticed Liam laying on the ground by me.  It took no time to understand that, in that split-second, the ball had hit him head-on in the forehead before bouncing off of him and into Byron's knee.

One of the team's management staff saw the whole thing happen and rushed us off into the backroom for ice and to be sure Liam was okay. I carried him and he whimpered a tiny bit, but really didn't cry much.  I filled out an injury report while they got him some ice and someone else brought him the ball that had hit him.  Apparently another spectator caught it, but felt that Liam had earned it more.  In the time it took me to fill out the form, Liam acted fine. That didn't last long, though.

Within about ten minutes of being hit, I noticed he couldn't pick up his ice pack and he was staggering. He wasn't able to stand up straight at all.  I quickly picked him up and noticed that his eyes were going back and forth. It looked like they were having seizures or something.  I went back to the management guy we first met and said something was very wrong. He called 911 and his wife, who was at the game and a nurse. At this point, I was starting to panic a little bit.

The nurse was the first one to help him, and she could also tell something was wrong.  He was responsive at that point, but was in need of medical help. Luckily, the ambulance was there within five minutes of being called.  The paramedics put him in a neck and body brace and then strapped him to a backboard before loading him onto the ambulance.  I went on the ambulance with Liam while Byron made arrangements with some friends who just happened to be there to help get the other kids home and taken care of so he could meet me at the hospital.

That ambulance ride was the scariest parenting moment I've ever had.  He began to quickly deteriorate in his status. He lost conscienceness and his respiration rate went down to 6 breaths per minute.  The paramedics couldn't wake him, so they bagged him to help him breathe as the ambulance screamed down the road.  His blood pressure went sky high and then dropped very low.  At that point, there was some debate about whether we'd make it to the trauma center in time.  We opted to keep driving with the plan to go to a closer hospital if he got any worse to stabilize him and then get him to the trauma center possibly via life flight.

When we got to the Children's hospital, Liam was immediately rushed to a trauma room full of about 20 waiting care providers and I was taken to another area with a social worker to give information (and keep me out of the doctors' way while they assessed him.)  Liam was then taken for X-Rays and probably some other tests while I waited for him.  He still wasn't really with us at that point, and couldn't be wakened but he did respond to pain by pulling away.

Byron finally made it to the hospital and joined me while Liam sat in the hospital and he was taken from the trauma room to his own ER room with monitors all over the place.  He was on  an IV, but I don't remember all the details about why.  I think they were providing fluids since he wasn't able to wake up and eat or drink himself.  Over the course of the several hours we were in that room, his heart rate kept dipping for a few seconds at a time.

Around three in the morning Saturday morning, he was finally given his own room on a highly monitored unit and we just had to wait and see what would happen.  Liam continued to sleep until late Saturday morning when he finally woke up.

Almost immediately upon waking up the vomiting started in full force.  For the full day, doctors opted to take all food and drink away from him until the next morning.  Sunday morning, teams of neurologists came to see him and ordered another CT scan of his brain.  That CT showed what looked like a stroke.  In addition, we noted that Liam wasn't able to stand at all and sitting always resulted in falling far to the right.

Because of the CT results, and MRI was ordered for him the next morning (Monday).  Because of the way he was acting (unable to hold his head up very well, vomiting, etc.), there was legitimate concern that he'd had a stroke.  Some priesthood holders from church came and gave him a blessing on Sunday night and we just sort of held on to faith that the blessing would at the very least bring him comfort and keep him free of fear.  The MRI results came soon enough and showed no damage at all.  We were very blessed.

From that point, ENTs were brought in, an audiogram was done to be sure he didn't lose anymore hearing with the hit (he didn't, by the way), and we just watched and waited. Each day, he got better and better.  Doctors kept looking for clues as to what was causing so much trouble with walking, but at least we knew he was continually improving.

Finally on Wednesday morning, I was talking to an ENT and told him just what I had been seeing in him. He ran a quick test at the bedside and finally saw the nystagmus in his eyes.  That was all we needed to confirm what was wrong.  A neurologist followed shortly behind and ran the same test with the same results.  Basically, the otoliths in his ears were not in the right position and were throwing off his balance. It's expected that they will eventually fall back into place.

He still is a little "spacey" and doesn't always seem to be totally with us, but he is walking and running on his own.  His wild and crazy disposition is returning, and I'd see he's doing great.  He just can't seem to walk with shoes on.  The pediatrician saw him Thursday morning and thinks he's grinding his toes into the ground to help him find a center of balance.

He also got a visit from the baseball team's mascot and president who brought him a team autographed bat from the game, signed his ball, and gave him a team bobble head toy (how ironic, right?).  They also invited him to throw out the first pitch at a home game WITH a helmet and seats safely behind some nets.

All in all, we are feeling very blessed that he's still with us.  We were lucky to have so many people help with the other four kids and bring in meals, etc.  I had no idea how blessed we truly are with amazing friends who care about us and our crazy children.

As for Liam, it's safe to say that he didn't even know what hit him. Thank goodness!


  1. Wow, what a frightening experience. I am glad to hear that Liam is recovering nicely, but that would have definitely shaken me up!

  2. Oh my goodness - what a day! My husband plays softball for a church league, and we've had a few close calls in the stands. Luckily, no one has ever been hit - I am SO glad that Liam is happy and healthy again. He is definitely blessed, but what a scary time!