Camp Savta 2014 – Day 2

Since I live 45 minutes from the supermarket, meal planning takes a lot of thought and organizing.  I really wanted to avoid making a supermarket run when the grandkids were visiting, since that meant a minimum of three hours taken away from their vacation time.  The week before they came, I procured a list of non-perishables from my daughter and did a huge shopping of stuff I would never buy for myself (sickening neon-colored  breakfast cereal, potato chips, fruit roll-ups, pasta, Twizzlers, ice pops, etc.).  Then when I was in my hometown for my grandson’s bar mitzvah, I stocked up on kosher items that I cannot easily get in Maine, such as chalav yisrael cheese, milk, bread, hamburger patties,  glatt kosher hot dogs, and kosher marshmallows (s’mores!).  These items we brought in coolers in the van.  That still left a shopping trip for a week’s worth of eggs, fruits and vegetables to feed 3 adults and 9 children.

I guess the excitement of the trip finally caught up with the kids, because they slept late.  That gave me my window of opportunity to run into town to fill in the necessary supplies.  Fortunately, because we are at the height of summer, there are plenty of farm stands within 20 – 30 minutes of my home, so I was actually able to buy what I needed without the 45-minute supermarket trek to North Conway NH.

I got kale and 4 dozen organic free-range eggs (my grandchildren had never seen brown eggs, nor blue eggs, nor small eggs from a bantam chicken, so this was a curious novelty), and at another farm a little further up the road I managed to complete my purchases with green and red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, melon, peaches, plums, onions, potatoes and corn.  I was headed home when my husband called my cell phone.

“Uh, listen . . . one of the kids fell and I can’t find the ice pops.  Where are they?  Ok, can’t talk – – gotta go.”

His panicked voice betrayed his attempted calm.  Something was really wrong!

I tried calling back but he wasn’t picking up the phone.  I hit redial and my husband finally answered.

“Look, I cannot hide this from you – – there has been an accident.  We’re getting ready to take “S” (the youngest, age 2) to the hospital.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“Uh . . . he fell out of the window!”

Just then I arrived at the house and ran out of the car.

My husband recounted the terrifying sequence of events:

He had been downstairs in his office.  The grandkids had been sitting at the dining room table upstairs, eating their breakfast.  My daughter was sitting across from my grandson when my grandson decided to get down from the table and look through the window.

Then he leaned forward.

My daughter was only a few feet away, and she quickly reached out to grab him.  But it was too late.  The weight of his little body popped the screen, and he fell through the window onto the gravel-packed ground, 12′ below.  My husband was there within seconds of his screams, since his office door is only a few feet from where our grandson landed, on his back.

My daughter rushed downstairs.  The little boy would not stop screaming.  At least he was breathing!

She examined him thoroughly.  Nothing appeared to be broken, although there was a small scrape on his back from the gravel and impact.  Still, we were worried that there might be internal injuries.

Now here is where they made their mistake:

The first thing they should have done is to have kept him in whatever position he lay.  If he had a spinal or neck injury, moving him could have caused permanent damage and/or paralysis.  The second thing is that they should have called our town’s Volunteer Rescue.  Even though their response time cannot match that of a big city, the trained EMTs could have immobilized him properly and transported him to the hospital, which is located 35 minutes away.

But it’s very hard to think straight in such dire circumstances.

G-d was very, very kind to us and performed a miracle.  Other than a small scrape on his back, the child was completely unharmed.  I dropped my daughter off at the Emergency Room in Bridgton, where they performed a CT scan and determined that all was normal.  The only discomfort for my grandson was having to immobilize him with a thick plastic neck collar for the duration of the scan, with him screaming the entire time.

“Good,” remarked the nurse.  “We like them screaming.”

Versus dead.

Yes, we liked him screaming.  Thank G-d.

The dining room window

The dining room window

The view from the edge:  it's a long way down

The view from the edge: it’s a long way down

The gravel below.  Thankfully he didn't land on the cement.  That's my husband's office door adjacent to where he fell.

The gravel below. Thankfully he didn’t land on the cement. That’s my husband’s office door adjacent to where he fell.

Of course, when something like this happens, you go over and over and over it in your mind.  Ironically, the year before when this grandson had visited us and he was only 1 years old, we had opened the window from the top instead of the bottom for the precise reason that we wanted to prevent a fall.  I had incorrectly assumed that at age 2 1/2, he would not require such extra cautionary measures.  Wrong-o!

My husband was ashen.  He looked like he aged 10 years in those few minutes.  It took my daughter and my husband many hours to calm themselves and recover their equilibrium following the accident.  We just kept repeating, “What a miracle.  What a miracle!”

Originally I wasn’t going to write about our careless accident.  After all, it is supposed to be about a fun vacation with my grandchildren.  It’s not easy to admit that but for the grace of G-d, a tragedy was narrowly averted due to our mindless, careless act of leaving a large window open.  The outcome could have been irrevocably, horribly different, and  I don’t know how we could have lived with ourselves.

But I decided to write about it, because I am hoping that my readers can learn from our extraordinarily stupid mistakes – – the open window and our first-response actions – – and avoid a completely unnecessary tragedy.  Days later, we still can’t believe how fortunate we are – and we are still shaken.

Three hours after the fall, my daughter and grandson were back from the hospital, and my grandson was truly – unbelievably and amazingly! – no worse for the wear.  So we decided to proceed with the day’s planned activity of swimming and kayaking.

My daughter mentioned in passing that she had a strange rash on her abdomen, and would I please look at it.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but I was thinking it might be a deerfly bite, which can be quite painful, swollen and angry-looking, and suggested she try hydrocortisone cream along with some arnica gel.

We have two solo kayaks, and there really isn’t room for two people, even children, in a kayak like this.  So standing in shallow, calm water on Kewaydin Lake, I taught each child how to hold the paddle, how to stroke, to turn, to stop, to go forward and reverse.  I was amazed that even the four-year-old caught on immediately and was extremely adept at kayaking.  I restricted them to an area up to 75′- 100′ from shore, depending on their ages, and of course they were wearing life jackets.  The life jackets turned out to be a fantastic purchase, because they wore them even when they weren’t boating.  It enabled them to “swim” quite far out into the lake without tiring.  The water was unusually warm and they swam for 1 – 2 hours without stopping!  They LOVED it.

The kids were able to swim quite far out with their life vests on.  The kayaker on the left is only 4 years old!

The kids were able to swim quite far out with their life vests on. The kayaker on the left is only 4 years old!

An 8 year old kayaker showing off her strokes

An 8-year-old kayaker showing off her strokes

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7 years old

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Some of the gang, taking a break

Around 5 pm we decided to call it quits and head home for a cookout.  The boys started the fire and my husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

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After marshmallows for dessert, he took the 4 oldest boys over to the campsite for a Boys Night Out sleepover in tents.  The girls and younger kids stayed home and had movie night –  – we watched Mary Poppins on my computer.

After an emotionally exhausting day, we were grateful that the day had ended well.

My daughter’s strange rash seemed a bit worse, but after such a crazy day she was too tired to drive to the walk-in clinic, which is open only from 5 pm – 9 pm.  She said it could wait until the following evening, and we happily headed for bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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