Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Deer in the headlights

Last night, as I was about to fall over from exhaustion, my sister-in-law called us. She was crying and apologetic. She then told us that Grendel was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance, that he had complained of breathing problems, and then passed out for about ten minutes.

This was one of my worse nightmares. Grendel is spending the summer with relatives nearly two and a half hours away from home. I had no idea what I was supposed to feel or do. I calmly asked K, my sister-in-law, what had happened. She explained the days events, and we identified a few things that could have brought on the breathing problem (which he apparently developed nearly six hours before telling anyone about). She said that all the neighborhood kids had been thoroughly grilled within an inch of their lives regarding possible drug ingestion. All claimed that Grendel never took anything that they were aware of.

K was on her way to the hospital, after having stopped at home to get some insurance paperwork and power of attorney stuff I had provided them with. She promised to call from the hospital when she located everyone and give us an update. About half an hour later she called with an update and let me speak to Grendel.

He was relatively lucid and said that he was feeling better than before he passed out. One of the things I said to him, in my sort of autopilot parenting mode, was that he should have told someone he was having problems breathing hours before he did. We said a few more things to each other, and then he passed the phone back to K. K said that she could see that his eyes were filling up as we talked. She thought that it had been because he had been scared and was glad to hear my voice. I didn't tell her, but I guessed that he was hurt that I would pick the scariest time in his life to scold him about something.

We got off the phone after K promised to call us to let us know if they were going to admit him to the hospital or not, based on the results of his toxicology screening. She called back around 1 am and said that the tests came back clear and that they would probably be releasing him.

This morning, I dragged my exhausted butt to work. After taking care of some bare essential activities, I called where Grendel was staying. He answered the phone and sounded like himself. I apologized for scolding him last night. He chuckled and said "no worries". We talked about our theories on the cause of the problem.

Grendel is taking a mild amphetamine for ADD. Yesterday afternoon he was working with acetone to clean nail polish off a deck at his day camp. After, he had half an Amp energy drink before eating dinner. He started having problems breathing while working with the acetone. The situation got worse by the end of dinner. We think that the acetone irritated his respiratory system and that the energy drink magnified the stimulants in his ADD meds, making for a near deadly combination. This theory is based on Internet-based research conducted by my father-in-law and myself. The hospital had no theories, other than maybe he was having an anxiety attack, and that he should talk to his counselor back home about it. (WTF?!?)

If you know Grendel at all, you know that the last thing anyone would suspect of him would be an anxiety attack. He is an OVERLY laid back person. Prior to the ADD meds, it would take a large lever and a lot of verbal prodding to get him to care about much of anything. The meds get him up to the 'normal' level of teenage apathy.

Needless to say, we are extremely relieved that the situation turned out fine. Grendel is due back home for a 'visit' at the end of the week; we are a stop over for him on his way to a youth camping trip in central NH. We plan to take him out to dinner and to put forth extra effort to get along with each other. I'm sure he'll be a little smuggly spoiled by the time he returns to RI on Monday afternoon.

So, how would you do if your child were two and a half hours away and you got a call that they were being rushed to the hospital with breathing issues, and that they'd passed out for ten minutes? I hope I did ok in the great cosmic grade book on parenting.


Cobwebs said...

Holy crap. I'd be completely beside myself.

Sorry you *both* had to go through that.

Summer said...

My oldest went to college two and a half hours away and thankfully we never had to go through what you did. It's hard to say what I would do in that situation. My first instinct would be to go to him or maybe the next day. But since Grendel was in good hands with trusted adults I most likely did as you did. I'm glad he came through the scare okay.

barbie2be said...

you passed that test with flying colors. kept a level head and all that. good for you.

briwei said...

I'd say you handled it pretty darn well. I'd have been in my car and driving as soon as I heard the news.

I would also not just accept the doctor's say so. I'd want a second opinion.

Glad Grendel is better though.