Shaken to my core
Yesterday evening Shane gave me one of the biggest scares I’ve ever had in my short time as a parent. One that, even 24-hours later, still leaves me shaking as I think of just how wrong it could have gone. I had to call the poison control center for the first time in my life.
And it was my fault. Completely my fault.
I left the diaper bag on a table right inside our front door. Something I’ve done just about every day since we first brought him home from the hospital. It’s within reach if I need something, and easily accessible if I need to leave in a hurry.
Unfortunately, it was also easily accessible to Shane, as well.
I was on the phone with my husband, who was finally on his way home from work. We were talking about dinner. About his plans to see a friend that evening. About how his unexpected day of work went. And then from across the room I heard Shane exclaim “Nummy!” and turned to see him holding the dropper from a bottle of infant Tylenol drops in one hand, and the bottle in the other, and a slight pink sheen on his bottom lip. As I ran toward him, he smacked his lips together and began to bring the dropper back up towards his mouth. I snatched it away, screaming “NO!” so loudly, so utterly terrified, that he froze, stunned, and then just crumpled into sobs.
I had forgotten that bottle was even in there. The last time he needed Tylenol was around this time last year when he cut three molars within a week’s time. There wasn’t much left, as far as I remembered. Maybe a few doses-worth, give or take. I remember buying a brand-new bottle (which is still sealed in it’s box in the cabinet) because this particular bottle was just about done, but then the worst of the teething was past, and it wasn’t needed anymore.
A Tylenol overdose is serious, potentially deadly serious, and I had no idea how much Tylenol a 24-pound toddler would have to ingest to be considered a toxic level.
I called the poison control center, and the woman who took my call was wonderful. She told me that a child Shane’s age and size would have to ingest about a third of a 30 ml bottle to cause an overdose, and it just wasn’t possible that he could have swallowed that much, seeing as that it was a nearly empty bottle.
I’m still stunned that he was able to open it. He actually popped the dropper itself right out of the child-proof screw-on cap. I pushed it back into place in the cap, screwed it back onto the bottle, and then gave the bulb a tug, and sure enough, it popped out of the cap. I never should have left it in his diaper bag, in a place where he could get his hands on it, but it unnerves me that a child-proof cap came apart that easily when a toddler tugged on it.
Just typing this all out has left me shaky again. This could have been bad, horribly bad. Thankfully it was a practically empty bottle, but regardless…it shouldn’t have been anywhere within his reach. It’s a horrifying, nauseating thought — that my carelessness could have caused my son serious harm.
As I settled Shane down to sleep last night, I cuddled him on my lap as he nursed, breathed in his sweet after-bath smell, rocked with him as he eased off into dreamland…and quietly cried. Even tonight, a full day later, I found myself standing beside his crib long after he had drifted off, just watching the rise and fall of his chest, and silently promising him — promising myself — to be more careful. More aware. More diligent.
He’s fine, everything’s fine…yet I still feel shaken to my very core.