Grace screaming is no big deal. She does it four or five times a day.
What she said after the scream made my whole body go numb and the air suck instantly from my lungs.
“ALLIE IS EATING YOUR MEDICINE!” she cried, standing in the bathroom door.
I’d been sick for a day and a half, and I’d run to the bathroom a few minutes earlier under duress, naked and still wet from a shower with Allie.
“Take it away from her!” I told Grace. “Get it out of her mouth!” To say I finished my business in a hurry would be a pathetic understatement.
When I got downstairs, I swept Allie’s mouth, nothing. I noticed a slightly blue toothpaste-looking foam around one side of her mouth, and I knew. She had chewed up and swallowed one of my bipolar meds.
I googled and called poison control, and they told me to call 9-1-1 right away.
It’s a good thing I was numb because those instructions would have otherwise left me an anxiety-filled mass of blubber weeping on the floor.
I called; county control dispatched. I hastened to find clean clothes to cover our naked bodies.
As the minutes ticked by, Allie laughed and ran around the house, unaware of the time bomb slowly digesting in her belly.
Even now, four whole days later, I feel nauseous just to think about it.
While we waited for the paramedics to arrive, Grace cried. Hysterically. “It’s all my fault!” she sobbed, as if she were the responsible adult left in charge.
“Grace. It’s not your fault at all. It’s Momma’s fault for leaving the pills where Allie could find them.” I told her, looking right into her eyes and thinking about the moment hours earlier when I saw the pill box on the end table. The little voice in my head (that can only be God) said, “Put that up on the bookshelf.” I didn’t get up and do it right then, and it slipped my mind.
I had just enough time to get dressed before my mom, a police officer, and the paramedics arrived.
Everything happened quickly after that. The ambulance ride, the ER, the vital signs, the toxicology consult, the charcoal drink she eagerly gulped down right up until she lost consciousness.
I sat, rocking my limp baby, trying to coax the unnaturally black liquid down her gullet a few drops at a time.
There was another whirlwind, heart monitors and breathing monitors and pulsox and EKG and I don’t know what else. There were nurses and doctors in and out.
And then she started to cry and reach for my neck.
Awake, uncomfortable, and wanting only Momma and the iPhone, Allie was back and back to stay.
I called Poison Control at 1:43 in the afternoon. We walked out of the hospital at 6:47. It felt like ten minutes.
I am thankful to God who gave me the peace that passes all understanding and the grace to be strong and calm when my family needed me to be.
I am thankful to the hundreds of family and friends and acquaintances and strangers who were praying for Allie and sending us notes of encouragement through Twitter, Facebook, and by text message.
Most of all, I am thankful that God didn’t take my baby away from me and that she will have no lasting consequences from the drug.
Who needs a $540 million lottery? Last Thursday was the luckiest day of my life.
© 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.