This memory started out as a very scary incident. It began as a wonderful summer day at my in-laws cottage overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Our day had been full of splashing in the small waves, digging in the sand and looking for sharks teeth. My husband and I were on the beach talking with the neighbors and our sons were playing happily while his parents were up at the house. Son #3 (4 years old) wanted to get a raft and asked if he could go up to the house to get it from the shed.
We agreed and continued playing and chatting. A few minutes later my father in law (who had been in the house) was waving frantically at the top of the stairs that led from the beach up to the house. I made eye contact with him and it quickly became apparent that he needed one of us to come up to the house. My husband went up the tall flight of stairs taking two at a time. My heart raced as I imagined that my mother in law had fallen and was hurt. Then I remembered that our son was up there and started to panic. I quickly asked the neighbors if they could keep an eye on our other 2 sons and ran as fast as I could up to the house. I quickly scanned the yard and shed and didn’t see anyone but did see the raft laying in the grass. I ran into the house and heard sobbing and a low grunting sound coming from the bathroom. As I entered the small bathroom, my nose was immediately filled with the smell of gasoline and I saw my 4 year old son standing in the shower dry heaving. I let out a cry and wailed, “What happened?!” He had knocked the gas can off the shelf and it has spilled on him, getting in his nose and mouth. I completely lost control and started shaking and screaming. I had no idea what to do and my husband directed me to call poison control. I went to the kitchen phone and couldn’t remember the number so I dialed 911. As I pushed the three numbers on the phone, everything was suddenly in slow motion. Fortunately, the dispatcher reassured me that we could flush out my son’s mouth and nose with water and that there should not be any tissue damage. She suggested that I follow up with my pediatrician. Once we all calmed down and my son stopped heaving, we were able to return to a fun day.
A few days later that same son developed a cold and sore throat. I wondered out loud if somehow it was connected to the gasoline incident. A few minutes later he came to me in tears, holding out a used tissue. I asked him what was wrong and he held the tissue out to me and said, “Look, it ripped.” When I didn’t respond immediately he wailed, “They said there wouldn’t be any tissue damage!”
Out of the mouths of babes…..