"Mom-nesia", or, Of Pyramids and Panic

  1. All of you nurse-moms out there will get this, and perhaps even a few of you dads. Mom-nesia, for the uninitiated, is a phenomenon that occurs whenever some medical crisis threatens your offspring, instantly rearranging your priorities and rendering you completely ineffective as a clinician. Like when your 17-year-old son falls off the top of a human pyramid, slams into an inch's worth of foam rubber, feels OK for the first few minutes, and then.........isn't.

    "Mom-nesia", or, Of Pyramids and Panic

    I was just leaving for my 3-11 shift the other day when the phone call came. Now, this almost-grown son of mine hasn't missed a day of school in three years; indeed, this is a kid who refused to stay home from school when he had bronchitis, simply because he knew he couldn't afford to miss a single day of classes if he wanted to keep his grades up. He never complains about anything physical, even when he beats himself up doing silly stunts on the trampoline or goofing around with his friends.

    And now he was saying, "Mom, I think I'd better come home. I saw stars when I hit the floor, and now I'm feeling kinda nauseated---"

    Suddenly, I couldn't get to him fast enough.

    Now, I pride myself on managing my family and personal responsibilities so as not to interfere with my job; in fact, it had been only the day before that I'd posted here about my perfect attendance record (no call-ins, no tardies, not even the occasional "mental health" day).

    None of it mattered just then, though. All I could think of was actress Natasha Richardson, who had also felt OK right after falling on the bunny slope, and then........wasn't. So I called in, and for once I couldn't have cared less who might be inconvenienced by my short notice. My baby needed me!

    I don't remember how many red lights I ran or how many speed limits I broke on the way to the school, but the Lord must have been looking over my shoulder because I neither ran afoul of the law nor met with an accident of my own. All the way there, my thoughts alternated between cursing the teacher who had allowed the kids to do this stupid stunt in the first place and suing the school district for not having a nurse in the building to assess and treat my injured child.

    (I'm sorry, the office secretary is a nice lady, but she doesn't have an R.N. behind her name, she's not even CPR certified---what qualifies her to decide whether he's OK or not?)

    And to my surprise, I was no longer the calm, cool professional: I was merely another mom, terrified for my child and madder than a wet cat at the forces which to my mind had caused his accident.

    I've been a mother for the better part of thirty years. I thought I was past freaking out at things like this, especially in light of being a nurse; in fact, I'm the one who always says "Nothing is ever made better by panicking".

    It wasn't until I'd actually arrived at the school and laid eyes on my six-foot stringbean that my visions of throwing him in the car and screaming down to the ER on two wheels dissipated in light of the fact that he was alert and oriented times three, if a little shaky from the experience of falling from a height of almost 20 feet.

    He admitted he still felt a bit queasy and agreed to be evaluated at the local urgent-care center, but he was more upset about smashing his cell phone than anything else. He was diagnosed only with a mild concussion and advised to take it easy for a week or so...........not difficult for a kid who's more into Facebook than football.

    I'm happy to report that six days after this incident, my son is fine, and my famously cool, calm exterior has returned. I'm still ticked off at his teacher, but he said that she is no longer permitting the students to form human pyramids in her gym class, so I guess some good came out of it after all (although I do wonder why it never occurred to her that Ben, or another kid, could have broken his neck instead of his cell phone). Better yet, this is another reminder to me that work is not the be-all and end-all of my existence on this planet.........sometimes, it matters less what we do for a living than who we are. And as it turns out, I'm a mom first.

    Thanks, Ben.
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 18, '18
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    About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,953; Likes: 44,682
    RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych

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    8 Comments

  3. by   icejo
    you're a 100% nurse and 200% mom.
  4. by   lilcajun
    Quote from icejo
    you're a 100% nurse and 200% mom.

    couldn't have said it better!
  5. by   cmawrule
    Been there...except in my case it was a phone call from my 18-year-old saying,"You don't need to clock out or anything, but I'm with Dad downstairs in the ER, he was having trouble breathing."
    Calm and cool flies out the window when the people you love are involved.
    I am SO glad that the ED staff were their usual sharp, competent selves-because I truly wasn't.
  6. by   paganoid
    Quote from cmawrule
    Been there...except in my case it was a phone call from my 18-year-old saying,"You don't need to clock out or anything, but I'm with Dad downstairs in the ER, he was having trouble breathing."
    Calm and cool flies out the window when the people you love are involved.
    I am SO glad that the ED staff were their usual sharp, competent selves-because I truly wasn't.
    My call came from the scene. A bystander said my husband had been knocked off his motorcycle and would be taken by ambulance to the ER with a broken neck. This was three months into my second year of NS.

    I credit my training for the next forty hours. I don't remember them, except when the traveller pushed 2mg of MSO4 all at once and he stopped breathing. But everything else went well, even though I went to the wrong hospital ER at first. THAT was real panic! (Ohmigawd, he's gone!)

    My biggest problem was the ER staff failing to understand the validity of my marriage, which is legal and on file with the county (still to this day). If my nursing instructor hadn't happened by, I'd probably still be standing there arguing with them!

    Hoping all families of RNs will be safe and live forever,

    paganoid
  7. by   LockportRN
    VivaLasViejas, you came up with yet, another good one. This is so true for me that I almost did not follow through with becoming a nurse.

    1rst time while still getting my prereques, my newly married husband was in a car accident. He came home, ate dinner then went to shower. I heard a noise and upon investigation, found him in the bathroom unconscious. I noted that he had thrown up as well. Ok, so what do I do? He was 6'4" and I was 5'. I panicked when he wouldn't wake up. So did I call 911? Did I call the doc? Noooo, I went to the phone and called...my mommy! Yes that's right, who else would know better what to do? Lol.
    The second time just after I started the first semester of nursing classes, I got a call from my sister-in-law who was babysitting my 4-year-old. Apparrently while having a pillow fight, my daughters ear got bopped and her ear lobe was swelling aroung her earring. So I picked her up and saw a bloody swollen mess that she wouldn't allow me to touch so I took her to the Ergent Care Center. Once there, they injected her lobe with novacaine as I held her. I immediately felt nauseated and was sure that I was going to throw up so I started to breath real fast to get over it. Then, once it was numb, they took pliers to remove the earring. No problem. But after that, they began to vigorously sqeeze her earlobe and blood and pus started coming out, my daughter was screaming "Let my mommy do it, she's a nurse!" but staff seriously had doubts when I turned white and they had to lay me on the floor to keep from passing out! LOL! Definitely not my finest hour! Thankfully, this seems to only happen with my family and even better, I can now manage their minor injuries without too much of a problem and it has never affected my like that in my general nursing practice!
  8. by   susanthomas1954
    Yup, been there. Had to drive 30 miles back to town with a 10 year old (two close friends in tow) because "Justin did something to his wrist while we were skateboarding." NEVER< EVER vomitted when seeing a closed displaced fracture BEFORE, but when it was my kid, I did. Luckily the other moms met us at the hospital and took their kids home, but my (then) husband had the brilliant idea to videotape the closed reduction. Woohoo, got to watch grandpa throw up when he watched the video.
    Oh, and BTW it never ends. My 25 year old came over at about 1 am a few months ago and started off with, "the policeman at the scene wanted to take me to the ER." He of course would prefer ME to take him to the ER, so he rode his bike to my place (same general direction as the nearest hospital.) CAT scan was negative, just a little concussion, and the requisite amount of bleeding.
    I'm glad I'm not a grandma yet.
    ST
  9. by   LockportRN
    Quote from susanthomas1954
    Yup, been there. Had to drive 30 miles back to town with a 10 year old (two close friends in tow) because "Justin did something to his wrist while we were skateboarding." NEVER< EVER vomitted when seeing a closed displaced fracture BEFORE, but when it was my kid, I did. Luckily the other moms met us at the hospital and took their kids home, but my (then) husband had the brilliant idea to videotape the closed reduction. Woohoo, got to watch grandpa throw up when he watched the video.
    Oh, and BTW it never ends. My 25 year old came over at about 1 am a few months ago and started off with, "the policeman at the scene wanted to take me to the ER." He of course would prefer ME to take him to the ER, so he rode his bike to my place (same general direction as the nearest hospital.) CAT scan was negative, just a little concussion, and the requisite amount of bleeding.
    I'm glad I'm not a grandma yet.
    ST

    Lol, I guess I better practice breathing now. I just found out this week that 'we' are expecting our first grandchild!! I can't wait...uh...well I couldn't wait...now ....hmm maybe I better just sit in the waiting room huh? Thanks for making me smile!
  10. by   nurselori001
    Mine came as a nursing student and I almost passed out when my son needed 3, OMG 3! sutures in his knee. I must have gotten over it after I passed my boards though. My son hurt his knee on a trampoline and called his ortho nurse mom. After asking him x 3 if it hurt "No, it just feels funny" I said "that's sooo cool! That is the most dislocated patella I've ever seen!" My son still thinks I'm a very sick person !

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