Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Most Important DIY Project You Will Ever Do

I have been thinking a lot about this lately and really feel like it s a story that needs to be shared.

This is very important. Please read and then follow the tutorial.

Last October 13th I was 7 months pregnant with my baby Bryce, I had an almost 2 year old (Logan), a 3 year old (Alan), a 5 year old kindergartener (Emma), and we had been living in our new home about 1.5 months.  At 3:45 I was standing with my children watching as the school bus stopped to let kids off in front of our house and by 4 o'clock I was racing to the hospital not sure if my Alan-boy was going to make it.

(this picture was taken Oct. 3rd, 10 days before his accident)

That Tuesday afternoon, just after watching the neighborhood children get off the bus, Alan went into his room to play with dinosaurs and I took Logan and Emma downstairs to the family room to turn on the TV for them.  I was sitting in the family room with Logan on my lap when I heard a terrified yell and something slam into the side of the house right next to where I was sitting.  It was followed by the unmistakable sound of Alan crying in pain.

Then next few minutes are a bit of a blur.  Instantly I was up and moving faster than I would have thought a pregnant lady could move.  My mind couldn't fully compute what it had heard, so my first thought was to run up to Alan's room, but I knew he wasn't there so I ran out the back door to find Alan standing in the window-well of the basement.  To this day I am haunted by what I could have found in that window-well.  I had to get down on the ground and lift him out of the window-well and I carried into the house, laid him on the couch and started to check for damage.

Alan fell over 18 feet from his second story bedroom window into the basement window well below.

Since Alan-boy was a little baby we had always joked that he was born with super healing abilities.   He never got hurt and if he did somehow get hurt any scrape, bruise, or bump was gone by the next day.  As I surveyed the damage I found no noticeable broken bones and only a few scrapes.  I was shocked.  But Alan looked very bad and I knew he needed to get to a doctor quick.  In a panic I called my husband.  He called ahead to the ER while I loaded the kids into the van.  That was the longest 15 min drive of my life.  The whole time I kept trying to keep Alan awake, afraid that if he closed his eyes, he would never open them again.

As soon as we got to the ER, I carried Alan in with Logan and Emma in tow and was grateful that they were ready for us.  My husband arrived shortly from work, followed shortly by his grandma.  Grandma took Emma and Logan  so we could focus on Alan. 

At this time we didn't yet know the full extent of Alan's internal damage.  Almost immediately, they realized that their ER was not going to be equipped to properly care for Alan's injuries. So they did some preliminary ultra sounds and CAT scans while they waited to get word from Primary Children's Hospital that they were ready for him.

It wasn't until Alan was in the imaging room and I was standing in the hallway completely helpless while my baby lay hurt and scared in the other room that I finally lost it.  Much like right now, the tears spilled over my eyes.  It was so scary.  Once they knew he was stable enough to move, an ambulance took Alan and me up to Primary Children's Hospital.  

( I took this picture with my phone in the ambulance, I thought someday Alan might like to see himself riding in an ambulance.)

Once we were there, there was more imaging.  It had been hours and we still didn't know the extent of the damage or how long we might be there.  I will never forget the feeling when someone came with images in hand to show us and explained to us that Alan had damaged his liver and kidney.  She told us that they rank liver damage on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the worst, and that Alan's injury was at a 5.  They wanted to move him to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he would have a nurse constantly monitoring him in case the bleeding suddenly got worse and he needed immediate emergency surgery. 

Alan was in the PICU until Friday afternoon.  We were lucky.  His super healing abilities kicked in and he was able to be moved from the PICU to the trauma unit.   Those days in the PICU were horrible.  As long as he was there, I felt like I could loose him at any moment, and he was constantly being poked, prodded, and tested.   Although Scott and I were grateful for the care Alan was receiving, Alan was not.  He hated the doctors and would get very upset every time one came in the room.  The poor kid was totally traumatized.

Alan got to come home on Sunday October 18th (Logan's birthday).  Thanks to my in-laws, while Alan was in the hospital, Scott and I made sure one of us was always there with him and we also made sure that Emma and Logan both saw each of us every day.  Once Alan came home, things got even harder.  Scott had to go back to work, Emma had school, and Alan was not allowed out of his bed (except with help to use the bathroom).  The biggest danger was that if I turned my back and Alan's now 2 year old brother got in his room and jumped on him or something like that, it could compromise his healing liver and he could end up back in the hospital.  The strangest thing was that by the time Alan left the hospital, by just looking at him you would never know anything was wrong.  The few scrapes he had were completely healed.  He was still kind of pale from blood loss.

During Alan's hospital stay I stayed with him for the first 24 hours, but then I had to go home and put Emma and Logan to bed and be there for them.  The drives back and forth from Primary Children's were painful.  I couldn't keep my mind from wandering down worst case scenario paths and I spent my sleepless nights at home preparing Alan's new room (I couldn't stand the idea of him coming back home to the room with that window looming over him).  Luckily I was already planning on moving him to a new room before the accident and had already started working on it.  Those nights were spent painting sharks, painting his new (sister's old) bed, hanging curtains, and moving in furniture.  It was all ready for him when he got home.  

The most important thing we did was install window locks!!  I wasn't really worried that any of my kids would be going near a window anytime soon, but for my peace of mind, I needed them up and I needed them up right away.  Often when I warn people of window danger they say, "oh maybe in the spring when we are opening our windows more I will have to put some on."  But that day when Alan was playing in his room, the window was closed, "locked", and there was a screen in place.  He had also recently been warned about the dangers of playing with, on, or in the windows.

This brings me to the tutorial....

Install extra window locks!!!

step 1.  Buy the locks.
These are the window locks I got.  I bought them at Target.  They come in a set of 2 and were about $15 for the set.  At first, you might think that $7.50 a piece is a little pricey, but trust me it is A LOT less then 5 days in the hospital.

Step 2.  Screw the locks in place in your windows.

I used longer screws than the ones that the locks came with and we put them about 3 inches out from the window so them the windows can still be opened a little, but not all the way without first being unlocked.

Today Alan's liver is completely healed.  The liver is one of the only organs in the human body the completely regenerates.  1/4 of his right kidney was severed and died.   The emotional effects run a little deeper.  Alan is definitely not the same little boy his was before.  Taking him to the doctor for anything is a nightmare and he is still afraid of a lot of things he wasn't afraid of before.

There were also many tender mercies that came to us during this trial.  One was that for some reason I thought to run up and grab his blanket.   It felt good that when he was asking for it in the ER I had it there to help comfort him.  Another good thing that came out of this was the out pouring of love from neighbors we barely knew.  We had only lived in our home about 6 weeks.  I had met many of our wonderful neighbors, but within hours of finding out about Alan's accident there were get well gifts delivered to Alan's hospital room.  When I got home after that first 24 hours there were boxes on my porch filled with coloring books, sticker, toys, treats, other food and supplies, and cards to help get us through coming days.  And my in-laws were there at every turn ready to help us take care of everything.  (This was during the time when children who were not patients were not allowed in the hospitals, so Emma and Logan didn't get to see Alan those 5 days he was in the hospital).  And when we got home there were people all ready to bring us meals for days.  I still grateful to all those who gathered around to lift us up.  There were so many I am sure I don't even know who all helped me when I was in need, but a am so thankful I am raising my children somewhere where people truly do love their neighbors.

I would love never to see another story on the news about a child being hospitalized due to falling out the window and I would never want another family to go through what we had to go through so please follow this tutorial and spread the word.


I am linking this post to the parties in my side bar.


  1. Thank you for sharing this experience and hopefully it will encourage others to have more safe homes. Also, I would like to suggest you looking into taking Alan to a counselor for play therapy. After a child has experienced any type of trauma, the only way they can process and heal from the trauma is through play since their language and cognitive abilities are not fully developed to allow them to process through talk therapy. I have studied and witnessed the healing effects that take place through play therapy with children. Play therapy can have a huge impact on him current doctor phobia. Look into it, feel free to contact me with any questions! And I love reading about all your creative projects!

  2. Thanks for sharing and trying to prevent this tragedy for others. It was very difficult to relive, but we're SO grateful for his recovery.
    Love always,
    Mom Hilton

  3. i am sobbing! that was just SO grateful for his recovery. love you guys!

  4. oh, wow... so so so so glad he is okay!!! That must have been hard to share... thank you for finding the courage to do so!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I can't imagine what you went through and know that every moment must have been painful. I am so thankful that your beautiful little boy is well and that you all made it through, stronger I'm sure. This is a great thing you are doing.

  6. I'm so glad to hear that he is doing well. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. So glad he is OK and thank you for sharing your story. It's such a simple preventative measure that anyone with small kids should do. I never even thought of the possibility of my daughter opening and falling out a window. So scary!!! She's older now but I might do this anyway just in case we ever sell our house to someone with little ones!

    Thank you so much for linking up.


  8. Wow, that is sooo scary. I'm glad he is okay.

    Our windows have locks kind of like that. I need a chair to reach them and most of the time, the windows are so heavy, I need my hubby to open them. Now that doesn't seem like a good thing!

  9. I just sat here...with tears streaming down my face ... completely in shock. as a mom of three boys all who have bedrooms on the second floor, I can't imagine your life for those few moments, days, weeks... and still. What an awesome outcome and what a brave little fighter you have. Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. this is really nice to read..informative post is very good to read..thanks a lot!
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