Give Ellie a bath, put her in pajamas, feed her, rock her, read to her, sing to her, and hope beyond hope that she will fall asleep easily tonight.
But like almost every other night, she wasn't going down easily. If you've ever taken care of a baby, you know. Trying to get them to sleep is hard work. And it's tiring. But thankfully I have a partner-in-crime. Tim spends just as much time as I do every night helping Ellie to fall asleep.
I needed a break. Tim took Ellie from my arms, and I went to the other room to collapse on the bed and read blogs for a few minutes, just until he needed to switch again.
I heard a loud, thumping noise. Then my baby started screaming. I was halfway down the hall before I'd even given it a conscious thought. Then I heard Tim call out for help. Were they both hurt? I wondered, my heart racing. I opened the door to find Tim on the ground, groaning in pain, and wordlessly handing a screaming Ellie over to me.
"Is she ok?" I asked, voicing my first concern.
"Yes," he groaned, but I couldn't help assessing her myself. No visible bumps on the head, at least.
I could tell he was still figuring that out in his own mind. He reached down and touched his knee.
"There was a loud pop, and...and now my kneecap is way over here." Panicked, he pointed to the side of his leg and kept groaning. I'd never seen him in so much pain.
"What should I do? Can you get up?" I asked, panicked myself.
"No, no I've already tried."
"Should I call 911?"
"Call somebody!" he said, crying out in pain.
With trembling fingers, I called 911. I should have been relieved that nothing about our situation was life-threatening, but with my husband in so much pain, I remained in panic-mode. They promised me they would be there in just a few short minutes.
Tim spent the whole time trying to get up, groaning in pain, and frustrated with himself. Frustrated that he couldn't get up and that this was going to cost so much money.
"I'm like an old man!"
"'I've fallen and I can't get up?'" I offered helpfully.
We laughed, despite the situation. Tim has an odd habit off laughing when he's in danger or in pain, but this time I could tell he was just trying to make me feel better. I should have known. It would be just like him to try to make me feel better when he was the one in pain.
When the paramedics came, they assessed the situation and recognized, as I kept reminding myself, that he wasn't in immediate danger. They decided to give him some pain meds and wait for a few minutes before they tried to move him, hoping the meds would kick in. And then, a few minutes later, they gave him more meds. This cycle continued for what felt like an eternity, because Tim was still in so much pain.
Ellie had finally calmed down and was flirting with the paramedics. My heart rate slowly dropped as my helpless little baby stopped screaming and started smiling. Tim started joking with the paramedics, which I took as a good sign.
"Can we come up with a better story about how I hurt my knee than 'I was rocking my baby to sleep'?"
"From what I saw, you fell down the stairs," the paramedic responded with a straight face. We all laughed.
Finally, they were able to lift him up into their chair. Getting Tim down the stairs was quite the ordeal, even in their special made-for-stairs chair, because any time Tim's leg moved, the pain came back in full force. Ellie and I paced the floor helplessly, unsure what to do.
Somewhere along the line, my brain had shut off. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how I was going to go to the hospital with Tim. One of the paramedics kept suggesting that I have my neighbors come and watch Ellie, but I knew Tim would rather I just take care of her. Tim kept telling me to just stay home and get her to sleep. I knew that there was no way I'd be letting him go to the hospital all by himself, so I called his brother Jeremy. Jeremy never even gave it a second thought when he promised me he'd meet Tim at the hospital in just a few minutes.
In fact, here's a picture he took as Tim arrived:
Our sweet neighbors came over as Tim was on his way to the hospital and offered to take Ellie, but again, I knew Tim would rather I just take care of her. And I knew that if I were separated from Ellie in the middle of this predicament, both of us would be having separation anxiety. It wasn't until I was on the phone with my parents that I realized I could just take Ellie to the hospital with me. I couldn't figure out why I hadn't thought of this sooner. She could handle one late night.
I loaded up Ellie in our truck, as our car was at the mechanic, and headed for the hospital. Tim was getting x-rays when we got there, so we waited with Jeremy in the waiting room for a few minutes. In true small-town hospital fashion, we were the only people in the waiting room. And Tim was the only patient in the Emergency Room. Not a bad problem to have.
The nurse led us back to Tim, where a doctor was telling him that he would need to go see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. A very drug-induced Tim told us that they'd already reset his kneecap and given him pain meds to take home.
The nurse instructed Tim about how to use the crutches, and a clumsy, dizzy Tim hobbled around the room with them. Jeremy and I laughed silently. We couldn't help it. He looked so funny.
It took us a few more minutes to leave the hospital, since Tim kept getting nauseous from all those meds he'd been given. Thankfully, Jeremy drove him home since we didn't have room for Tim and his huge leg brace in our truck. Then it took even longer to get him inside the house once home because of all that nausea. Poor guy. Ellie fell asleep almost immediately, and I helped Tim up the stairs to our bedroom, where he fell asleep almost immediately.
My body and my brain were too wired to fall asleep. I was still awake the two times Tim "woke up", looked around, remembered that he had been at the hospital but that he was now at home, that Ellie was in the other room, and that I was laying right next to him. Really. He said all of that. Two separate times. And he doesn't even remember it now.
Good to know he still worries about us even when he's drugged.
[Disclaimer: You didn't hear all of this from me. As far as you're concerned, Tim was kicking a bear or fighting a ninja when he dislocated his knee. But never just rocking his baby back and forth. Because that would be embarrassing.]