Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Last evening, as ol’ Robbo sat drowsily over his book shortly after dins, he got a phone call from the pool where the youngest gel has her twice-weekly swim practices.  It would seem that the gel had been working on her backstroke when, because she was wearing flippers and going much faster than usual, she had lost track of her stroke count and rammed head-first into the side of the pool, and could I come get her, please?

To quote the great Ray Magliozzi, “Aw, Jeez…”

Nipping over (it is, fortunately, no more than about a five minute drive), I found the gel slumped on a poolside bench, a bag of ice pressed against her temple but otherwise having the look of rayther having been discarded.  She was clearly loopy, crying, babbling and lolling her head about in a manner that I confess never having seen before.   When one of the coaches finally appeared and explained what had happened, she said they had considered calling 911 first but thought that we might want to handle things ourselves instead.

Well, yes.

I’ve probably seen dozens of bits in teevee shows and movies where a character gets a concussion and the first thing said is, “We’ve got to keep him/her awake!”  I’ve never really known the medical reasoning behind this, but it seemed like good enough advice to me.  Calling Mrs. R (who had been out with her mother) to meet me back at Port Swiller Manor, I bundled the gel into my jacket (of course she hadn’t brought her own), bundled her into the Jeep and then took her home, all the time keeping up a stream of shakes and prattling in order to keep her focused.

Once we got home,  the middle gel and I (mostly the middle gel) got her out of her wet swimsuit and into some warm jammies.  Just as we finished, Mrs. R appeared, so it was into the Honda Juggernaut® and hey! for the Emergency Room.  I sat in back with the gel and kept up my efforts to keep her awake, asking her various questions about her day and her schoolwork.  For her part, she spent most of the time complaining about how much her head hurt, but at least she was still talking.

There was quite a log-jam when we got to the hospital driveway.  Rayther than wait around until we could get right up to the doors, I simply got out with the gel in my arms and hoofed it until we could hunt up a wheelchair.  (Ol, Dad – Just like Rooster Cogburn.)   I will say this for the ER folks – when they realized we had a bonked head on our hands, they didn’t waste a lot of time,  getting the gel to a bed, braced up and wired in ahead of several other childs who seemed to have little more wrong than a case of the sniffles.

Well, to cut a long story short, they eventually did an X-ray and a CAT scan and yes, indeed, the gel was in what the doc called “a concussive state”.  (It was my guardian angel that prevented me at the last second from saying, “As opposed to her usual cussed state.”  Just so.)  At that point, she still couldn’t  walk without help, had a hard time hanging on to things and still had a skull-splitting headache, but we were assured these were all temporary and that she would bounce back quite soon enough.

Of course, by the time all the hoopla was over, it was well past 1:30 ack emma.   I have been blessed not to have to spend very much time a-tall in hospitals either for myself or for loved ones.  My chief impression of the visits I have made is of the incessant waiting…..When we finally bundled back into the Juggernaut, all I could think of was Bedtime for Robbo, coupled with the awful knowledge that I was going to have to be back up at 5 in order to get today’s round of biznay off to a start.

The gel is scheduled to go to a dance with a friend of hers this evening, an event I’ve been dreading because of the amount of time it’s going to involve my driving hither and yon across the ‘burbs in my capacity as chauffeur.  I confess that the silver lining I thought I could glean from last night’s adventure was, “Well, at least we’re out of that blasted dance thing.”  No such luck.  After sleeping in this morning, the gel is as spry and clear-headed as ever, drat her, with nothing much left so show of her war wound other than her ER bracelet and a heck of a story she’s absolutely determined to spread far and wide.

I, on the other hand, am working on sleep-deprivation that reminds me intensely of the bad old days of infancy.  Heigh, ho.  Well, I suppose that’s why they pay us parents the good money, isn’t it.

What? It isn’t…? Hey, WAIT a minute!!!!

UPDATE:  This is what I get for posting before reading the headlines.  God help those poor kids and their families in Connecticut.

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