Thursday, February 01, 2007


I had worked the night before until 2AM and was tired. I am wrapping up the kids to take them to McDonald's for a midmorning cup of coffee and a run through Playland. I am praying that the playing/exercise will bring them both to the point where they needed a nap as much as I do.

Yard men are outside reseeding our yard. We have been waiting for them for months and now it's winter, cold and dry. Doubt the grass will grow. What a waste.

I hear pounding on the door and assume it's the yard men. The pounding is loud and I am getting bummed. "Geez. I'm sure you just need to use the bathroom. Give me a sec".


I open the door, and my neighbor runs in and makes a mad dash to my sink.

"I was mixing chemicals to treat the pool and they exploded in my face".

Crap. This could really be bad.

Even more crap. I'm so tired my brain is moving in slow motion. Come on Amy. You're a nurse. Pull it together. Water. Start to flush her face, eyes, etc. Water is on. This is a step in the right direction.


Hmmmm . . . crap again! It's time to call 911.


Ok. She is yelling which is a good sign. I need to respect her wishes. I doesn't matter that I am the one with the level head and the nursing degree. I'll just hang up.

Double crap. The phone is ringing. I know why. Two years of EMS training is coming back to me. "Respond to a 911 hang up". Hang up. Which is what I just did. I'm now one of the hang up losers I used to curse during the middle of the night as I pulled on my EMS boots.

"This is 911 calling. Is there an emergency at your house?"

My head has cleared by now. The smell of chlorine has jolted every one of my brain cells awake. This woman has burns on her face from an unknown explosion, she is having trouble breathing, and you feel like you could puke yourself.

"YES! I need an ambulance!" Good. Help is coming.

The smell. I can hardly breathe without my nose and throat burning.

My kids. I need to get them outside. "Go outside kids and stay in the garage for just a minute." Please God. Don't let them run in the street and get hit by the ambulance as it comes screaming down the road.

"But Mommy, we aren't dressed and it's cold out there."

You're right. It's 25 degrees and you don't have shoes on let alone clothes. I need to get them out of the house. I need to get out of the house. We all need to get out of the house!

But I need to stay with my neighbor. She is still rinsing her red face and eyes, screaming that she can't see and that she is having trouble breathing.

Those yard men. The ones that I cursed and thought they were useless. God bless them. They began to open my windows. They took my kids outside. They directed EMS to our house. Today was the perfect day for them to reseed our yard.

"Here comes the fire truck Mom! This is sooooo cool! Can I go look in the truck?"

Argh. I'm so tired. This house smells so bad. I really need to get my haircut.

I walk with one of the EMS workers outside. While standing in the garage, one of the firemen brings me my telephone.

"You have a phone call Ma'am."

Wow. He answered my phone while his partner was listening to my son talk about Thomas the Tank. That's the South for ya. Full service.

My poor friend. "WHAT IS GOING ON!?!? ARE YOU OK!?! WHY IS A FIREFIGHTER ANSWERING YOUR PHONE??" I briefy explain while waving my neighbor off to the ER.

It's finally quiet. Time to regroup.

"MOM! There is a bird in the house!" No way.

Sure enough. Through the one window in the house without a screen, a little wren has shot in the living room.

"I want to keep him Mom! Let's get a box and he can be my new pet!"

So much for the quiet.

So we run around for awhile and Mr Wren takes off out the back door. My four year old starts to cry.

So what happened? Someone had messed with her pool things as a "joke". Vandalism has been a constant problem at the neighborhood pool, and I guess this was another funny. The yard men and another neighbor heard what sounded like a gun shot at the time she was mixing the chemicals. Something nasty, and downright dangerous,was added. Nice. What a loving neighborhood.

Now I had to clean up the mess in my kitchen. "The stuff" was all over my counter and I was worried about cleaning it with my normal Lysol. So I called poison control and learned a few new things.

Chlorine/bleach does not like to be mixed with ammonia. Guess what has ammonia? Shampoos. Anti-bacterial soaps. Where do people tend to use bleach? In areas that have these items. So the lesson of the day is to be careful, careful, careful whenever you use a bleach based product. I never would have thought about everyday items that have ammonia in them.

OK . . . now where are we!?!? That's right. We're heading to McDonald's to get some exercise . . . Never a dull moment!


Trisha said...

Never a dull moment- I would say not!! I hope that you managed to get a nap in and that your neighbor is doing well. Please keep us updated.

Val said...

Awwww...between the naked-toaster-boy, un-peaceful baths, and neighborhood trauma, you get all the fun.

I'm glad you are all ok, and that your expertise kicked in.

Dunn Family said...


I am so glad all of you are OK!

How did your neighbor fair?

Sounds like you were calm and collected, you are a good nurse and Mom, hope you enjoyed that coffee break at McDonalds!

Rach said...

Oh my girl, what a hectic morning. You need some sleep! I was wondering what happened to you, haven't heard from you in a while. I'm glad everyone was okay. Hugs!

Heidi said...

OH my word! I'm going to read the post above this now since I think it has an update about your neighbor who I hope recovers quickly.