The non-emergency emergency room visit due to the not-so-safety glass mishap

Well, I have to say all of this mechanical malfunctioning around here is growing a bit tiresome. It would almost be laughable... if it were happening to someone else.

The next installment in the saga of When Machines Hate You...

The day had been going fine. People were playing happily, I had made it to the grocery store, and next on my list was to put everyone in the van and return the Harris loan box to the museum, stopping by the Vietnamese market on the way. (Now what happens next may have been God's way of saving me from my own stupidity of thinking I could run these two errands with 9 children in tow with four of them under 5 years of age including one infant.) Before we could head out, we needed to install two more car seats, bring the total of car seats to five, with every bench having a five-point harness seat in it. Since M. was home and she is good at this type of thing, she moved and installed them all for me while I did things like make sure everyone was dressed and had gone to the potty and combed hair. I was finishing up and she was finishing up and so she slams the side van door closed. And the safety glass on that window completely shatters. There was glass everywhere, including all over M.'s hands and forearms. They glistened in the sun because of the amount of glass. Her first reaction was to brush it off, but when she did so, it embedded the glass a bit and it started to bleed.

Now, here is where we come to the day's logic puzzle.

  1. I have one vehicle available to me, but it is now surrounded by broken glass and an empty window frame, so it's not really drive-able at the moment. 
  2. We check with a neighbor, who also happens to be a pediatrician, and she thinks we should really take M. to the ER to have the glass removed. 
  3. Even if I had a car I couldn't go because everyone else in the house is below the age of 13 and I would have to bring them with me. See #1.
What to do?

Well, you call your good friend to see what she is doing and she comes over with a car. I secretly (or not so secretly) hope that she thinks it would be more interesting to sit in the ER waiting room rather than stay home with a herd of children. She chooses the children, so I take M. to the ER. It is now about 3:30 and because of the lack of possibility of death from her injuries, we are figuring we'll be lucky to get home before bedtime.

I'll spare you the details of the 2 1/2 hours we spent in the ER, except to save you a similar wait if you ever happen to find yourself in the same situation. (Though since these things seem to only happen to me, that shouldn't really be a worry for you.) The solution to the glass problem was actually fairly simple. Once we were called back, the ER tech had M. hold her arms under running water for a half hour while the bits of glass were slowly washed away. That's it. Why oh why couldn't they have just sent us back home when they saw what was wrong and tell us to do that there? I really just needed the information. Sigh.

The only funny part of the afternoon was when the ER doctor (at least that is what he was supposed to be, we have our suspicions) made his very brief (and no doubt very expensive) visit to the room. All the time we had been there, everyone had been telling us that M. shouldn't rub her hands or arms because they didn't want the glass to be rubbed in any more than it was. Well, when Mr. Dr. comes in, his instructions are to rub vigorously, a lot, to get all that glass out. If hands weren't doing it, then use a washcloth and scrub, scrub, scrub. All done in a sort of stand-up comedy routine manner. He then leaves. M. and I look at each other, probably with our jaws hanging open it was so odd. M. then says, "Do you remember that Psych episode where Shawn Spencer is at a hospital and he dresses up in a doctor's coat and puts a stethoscope around his neck and starts to walk into rooms and dispense whatever medical wisdom he can make up?" Yeah.

So where do we stand at the moment? I am van-less. We need to call the insurance company and see what we need to do to get the window fixed. I can't vacuum the glass out of the van because the outlet where I would plug the vacuum in is in the garage whose door broke a week or so ago and it won't open. (Need to get someone here to look at that.) There is glass all over the grass and I have no idea how to clean that up. You can't exactly vacuum the ground (and I can't vacuum anything anyway, so it doesn't matter... let's just not talk about the whole vacuum situation in general, shall we?) The Harris loan box will be late because I have no car and no time to return it today. And there are no prawn chips in the house.

It all could have been worse. M. could have been injured to a far greater extent had she been standing any closer to the van. There were no children on that side when the glass shattered. I have good friends who are willing to drop everything and loan me vehicles.

Oh, and I don't think I ever gave you an update on the roof and the hole in the ceiling. Well, the good news is it wasn't the roof. There seems to be a leak in the air conditioner compressor which is in the attic. Is that better or worse? I have no idea. I do know that our air conditioning has been off since we discovered it and that's been OK since we have been having a very mild summer. At least we had been, the forecast for the weekend is not filling me with joy. 

You know, it's not really the children who are the problem. When people say, "I don't know how you do it?" I'm not sure what they think I'm doing, but it's really not that difficult. The machines, though... The machines which are supposed to make my life easier... they are the things which very well may positively push me over the brink of sanity.


Lucy said…
Have you tried duct tape on the glass shards in the lawn? An adult-type person that can be careful and thorough could try getting the glass to adhere to sticky tape.

FWIW, we find bits of broken glass in the dirt around our patio fairly often, it sort of migrates to the surface over time I suppose, and nobody has been cut on it yet. Just tell the kids to wear shoes for a while :-)
Lucy said…
I should add duct tape & plastic will repair the van temporarily too :-) And, I've been to the ER for more worthless things, if it's any comfort.
Somebody's Nana said…
A heavy-duty clear vinyl shower curtain and duct tape will cover the window and make it drivable. $5 ?? And I love your humor/sarcasm and real life attitude. Not a fun day, but trying to see the humor in it makes it bearable, doesn't it? You have good friends (and kids!)
JBC said…
Update from J -- You'll be happy to know that I took some time off yesterday and got the glass cleaned up. Even vacuumed the grass a bit with the shop vac! AND I devised a fairly clever window-replacement-kluge of which I am justly proud. We had some plexiglass in the basement, so I cut two pieces to fit inside and outside the window, and then drilled holes in each and connected them via 4 bolts, compressing them together to hold them in place and seal the window. Another improvised fix for the machines in our life.
We had one van window randomly shatter on us several years ago, and we had a rock thrown through another van window several months ago. It's a lot of cleanup!

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