Monday, August 04, 2008


I have not written in awhile and I apologize to my avid fans. I'm coming back now - in full force - I promise. I actually have a legitimate reason to post everyday now and provide updates on our family. (big breath) Here we go...

On Wednesday of last week Sammy was clocked in the head with a golf club while he was at golf camp. Some kid wasn't listening and got Sammy right in the head with his back swing as Sammy was reaching for a ball. The instructor called home and told Geana what had happened and suggested that Geana pick him up. She did. He came home and was a little groggy and complained that his head hurt. He laid around for most of the day but he did some things like walk to the mailbox down the street to mail a letter, and play with his brothers and sisters. All in all, he seemed in good spirits all day (considering he had gotten whacked in the head). At around 5pm he was still complaining that it hurt, which prompted Geana to call his pediatrician. They told her that if she was worried she should take him to the ER. I walked in the door at 6pm and Sammy was saying that he was going to throw-up. Geana took him to Bryn Mawr Hospital, accompanied by a tupperware bowl, while I fed the kids and put them to bed.

Shortly after the kids fell asleep, Geana called me at home and said in the most upbeat voice she could muster (as to not upset Sam the man), "Well - Sammy and I are going to get to take a ride in an ambulance to duPont Hospital in Wilmington. How exciting is that!? The Dr. said that he has a skull fracture and that he has some bleeding in his brain." My response was a little less subdued and went something like this, "HOLY SHIT - WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS... WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? HOLY SHIT - WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS... WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ? HOLY SHIT - WHAT?..."

I called my parents and had my mom come over to watch the kids. Bridget (our 17 year old babysitter) had stopped by as well b/c at first I was having trouble getting a hold of my Mom and Dad. Anyway - she stayed there while my Mom drove me to Bryn Mawr hospital to get the car. Then I headed down to Wilmington and my Mom went home to watch the quads. I don't think I'd ever driven that fast on 95 in my life. I made it there in about a half an hour.

After I arrived at the hospital, they asked me to fill out the paperwork in the ER before going back to see Sammy. Ironically enough "I Had a Bad Day" was playing on the radio. I asked the nurse if they had it on a loop, like some kind of hospital theme song. She felt bad and turned it off. I was just trying to be funny... I guess most people don't make jokes in the Children's Hospital ER... go figure. After filling out the paperwork, I headed back to the ER where there were about a zillion doctors surrounding Sammy. When he saw me he started crying. I could tell he was really scared. I learned at that point that the bleeding wasn't that bad and that they thought he had only cut a vein as opposed to an artery... or so they thought. The plan was to keep him overnight and give him another CT scan in the morning to determine that the bleeding hadn't grown in size.

The Thursday morning's CT revealed a tad bit more bleeding so they wanted to keep him another night just to be sure. It could've been the way the picture was taken or maybe the vein hadn't quite clotted yet.

Friday's CT Scan was another story. The bleeding had grown in size. We didn't know what this meant b/c the Neuro doc was still on his way from Vorhees and no other doctor would commit to telling us what it meant - saying that Neuro would have to decide. Finally - at about 4pm we talked to the Neuro surgeon's P.A. who told us that the bleeding had grown by 20% and that they needed to perform a type of brain surgery called a craniotomy to relieve the pressure. Basically what happens is that the head has room to hold only so much extra fluid (blood) and once it's absorbed it's max, then pressure starts building on the brain which could cause brain damage and even death. Sammy had what is called an Epidural Hematoma, which is when the artery is cut and does not stop bleeding, causing blood to fill his head around his brain. If you check out the wiki link, you'll see that 15 - 20% of these cases result in death, which scared the freakin' crap out of me but I kept my mouth shut to Geana until Sammy was in surgery having the pressure removed.

Sammy came out of surgery and said, "Mom - this is the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my entire life." OUR LITTLE GUY IS THINKING!! This was a wonderful thing for him to say because it showed us that he was going to be alright. Yay!

I went into the waiting room for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and told everyone the good news. Everyone took a turn coming back to see him and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. For the first time in a few days, we were able to relax and know that the kid was going to be okay. We made arrangements to have the girls accompany Geana's sister to the beach and to have the boys stay with my parents until Sammy came home (and then maybe even a few extra days). We were out of the woods!!

I decided to head home and get some clothes and toiletries for Geana and I. Then I was going to come back and stay at the hospital with Sammy and Geana for the night. Sammy's old babysitter, Chris, was at our house and she was willing to stay as long as we needed her to. As I'm cruisin' down 95, finally feeling a bit of relief, my mother calls. "I don't want to alarm you - and everyone is alright - but your house is on fire. Chris and the kids are at Rhonda and Sandra's house across the street." I had a brief conversation with her but I don't remember much of it. I hadn't slept Wed. or Thur. night b/c I was on a wooden rocking chair so it's all pretty much a blur at this point. I sped up 95 (only slightly slower than on Wed. night when I drove down there) to get to my house with five fire trucks outside and 2 ambulances (that I saw). They weren't letting traffic up the street b/c of the fire. I told the policeman that it was my house so he let me up the street and I parked about a half a block away. I ran like the wind (and I don't often run) to Rhonda and Sandra's house where the kids were, indeed, all safe. I walked in and they were all SUPER excited to see me. I gave them all a hug and kissed their little faces more than I ever have. It was then that I got the story from Chris and Rosemarie and all the other's at the scene.

Turns out that the freezer in the basement had been on top of the wire and had frayed it enough that the wire was meeting the metal part of the freezer. That must've caused a spark which lit the fire. Rosemarie (Geana's sister) was at the house because of Sammy's surgery. She was just heading home to pack for the vacation when the fire ignited. All of my kids were in bed. Roe and Chris had heard a faint beeping. Both thought it was some sort of video game that the kids were playing. Kelly (8 - Chris's daughter) and Justin (5 - Roe's son) were still awake. They realized that the beeping wasn't coming from a toy, but from the basement. Roe opened the door to be engulfed by flames and smoke. She quickly shut the door and screamed FIRE and called 911. They got Kelly and Justin out and then went to grab the quads. Chris got Anna and Ella and Roe grabbed Robby and James. Before you knew it - they were all across the street, safe, and in Rhonda and Sandra's house. The fire dept. was there shortly thereafter and were visibly concerned b/c the 911 call said that 6 kids were in the house ages 8 and under. When they got there Chris told them that the kids were all safe and the fire dudes went about their business, breaking our windows and soaking our basement to put out the flames.

I'd like to take a minute here to say THANK YOU to the two women who saved my kids' lives. The only reason they were at our house, in the first place, was out of their love for Sammy and their want to help us out in a difficult situation. Then they saved my other 4 children's lives. I will never be able to thank them enough.

We're going to be out of the house until November, they say. Most of the damage is smoke damage, rather than actual fire damage. Who knows how much they will be able to salvage. We'll just have to wait and see. The bottom line is that all of our kids are safe and alive and I don't give two shits about the other stuff. At the end of the day - it's just stuff. I have five wonderful kids who are alive, coherent, and NOT in the hospital.

Sammy came "home" today and has been a bundle of joy. (We'll be staying with my parents for the next three months.) One of Sammy's friends came over today with his brother and sister (they are twins - the quads age) and you could see him light right up. It was really cute, actually. He had a blast telling people that he had brain surgery and lived to tell about it. And just as he's done telling about his adventures, Robby, Ella, James, & Anna chime in about the fire and smoke that they were carried out of. They followed the evacuation plan and, they too, lived to tell about it. August 1, 2008 will be a day that will forever be remembered as one of the worst days of my life, no doubt, - but at the same time... it was one of the best because I have all of my kids and I appreciate them that much more.

How many people get to say this, "Yeah - 3 hours after my son's emergency brain surgery, my house went up in flames with my quadruplets inside."


Anonymous said...

Kurt, the blog made me gasp, cry, laugh and say a prayer of thanks all at the same time. I'm so glad everyone is well and "home" and safe and alive and well!!! I will be in touch to see exactly how me and my other friends can help. By the way, I'll direct them to your blog because NO ONE will believe it unless they read it from you.
For now, you are all in our prayers.
Maria, Gino, Colette & Vincent

evilsciencechick said...

holy crap! glad everyone is alright! I think you're done with drama for a while. maybe post a sign? "no drama thanks: we're full."

Nicole said...

You have a great way of writing and telling a story...sad or tragic you bring some humor to the situation. I have enjoyed learning about your fun, great family. Thank you for sharing.