Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Baby Birds, Golf Tees, and the Emergency Room

Ever have one of those days when life just seems to get more whacked out by the moment? The last eighteen or so hours have been nuts in the Obenhaus home. Oh Monday started off just fine. Kids went to school, hubby and I worked, kids came home. . .then around dinner time, things started to unravel.

My nine year old son and his friend were playing in the backyard and came running in to inform me they'd found a baby bird. Ugh! Now I love nature/birds just as much as the next person, but I've nursed a few baby birds, one of which grew til it was able to fly away, and I wasn't particularly in the mood to take on another one. The constant chirping, feedings, and worrying whether it will make it are too much.

We watched from the inside window as momma and daddy cardinal flitted about trying to care for their fallen newborn. The dogs were chompin' at the bit to get outside. Before long, we check on the baby again. It was making lots of noise. Too much noise for one little bird. I searched. Low and behold there was a second baby not far from the first. Great. That's chirping, feeding, and worrying times two. Sigh.

Still holding out hope mom and pop cardinal could do something we left it alone. My son and his friend were ready to go swimming and I had to fix dinner. So while I'm skinning chicken, they're splashing and diving. I hear a squeal and glance out the window. My son stepped on something. He sits, looks at his foot, then screamed like I've never heard.

Certain he's over-reacting, I hurry out the door. "What is it?" I was not ready for what you're about to see.

That's a golf tee sticking out of his foot. I looked at the neighbor boy and said, "Go get Mr. Obenhaus." After several collective cringes, we scooped him up and took him to the emergency room where they basically performed mini-surgery. They x-rayed, numbed his foot, irrigated. . . The thing had penetrated a full inch and half. OUCH!

Three hours later they sent us home with crutches and a prescription for some super antibiotics. Hubby and I were exhausted from the stress/adrenaline. While we were never fearful per se, no one likes to see their kids hurt. I can't tell you how it warmed my heart when my son looked at me, both at the hospital and when I put him to bed, and said, "Thanks, Mom." I said, "for what?" He replied, "For taking care of me and worrying about me." I thought that was pretty grown up for a nine year old.

Ah but the story doesn't end there, as I'd hoped it would :-) Today my son went on to school feeling fine, not to mention proud to be on crutches. A half hour later, hubby and I went for their end-of-year awards ceremony. He got his little achievement and sat back in his seat. As one of the other classes filed along, I see him talking to one of the teachers. He stands up and she accompanies him to the door. I'm thinking he needs to use the restroom. They exit the cafeteria, the door closes, and my son collapses!

Dad and I were there in a heartbeat. My little freckle-faced copperhead was conscious, but paler than I'd ever seen him. Even his lips were white. Apparently he hadn't eaten enough this morning, causing the antibiotic to revolt. He's home now, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and demanding food :-) A good sign.

So how does all of this relate to writing? Through all of the heart-pounding, I found myself taking lots of mental notes. How my body was physically reacting, how those around me reacted. The sounds and smells in the emergency room. How my son looked as he lay on that cold tile floor this morning. While these exact events may or may not show up in a book one day, the emotions/reactions will. It's all about letting the reader experience things with the character. Eliciting that emotion. And that emotion is what adds the punch to our writing. Drawing the reader in, keeping them turning page after page.

I'm hoping the rest of the day will be much less eventful. As for the baby birds, this morning we discovered there were actually three, all fallen from the nest :-( Two of them didn't make it, one keeps begging for food. Looks like I need to get the cage ready.


  1. Oh, Mindy!! What an eventful few hours!

    That photo was hideous!! Poor guy!! Any of my children probably would have fainted when they saw it! LOL


  2. Oh sweet mercy! Poor guy. ICK--poor MOM!! hehehe

    What an adventure, Mindy! Sending cyber-hugs your way, girlie!

  3. Whew--what a horrible thing to happen to your son and you to witness. I cringed when I saw the picture. I don't like those moments, but you're right, those emotions, sights, smells and sounds, even the dry taste in your mouth, are what you need to connect with our readers. Great job, Mom.
    Hang in there gal, there's better times around the corner and probably more of the same. From a mom that's been there, done that.
    Janice Olson

  4. Well, I showed the photo to my daughter and thought she would keel over! :)

    Hi, Ronie and Janice. Thanks for stopping by!


  5. LOL! Missy, you need to toughen up. Don't you have two boys? Let's just say there was a reason I was the one who "volunteered" to take the chicken off the grill, drive, park the car, stay attentively at his side (near his head), and whatever else I could to keep me distracted.
    But y'all just wouldn't have gotten it without the picture :-)

  6. I could describe the inside of my husband's large open wound, where I can see the muscle of his back. I'm trying to decide right now whether to put it in a book or not.

  7. Oh, Lena!! Yikes. Your poor husband! That sounds so painful.


  8. Lena, I just know you'd bring James out at crit group for show-and-tell if he'd let you.

  9. Mindy, what a day !!! Glad to hear that your son is doing well. My only other comment is to whomever the golf tee belonged too.........tell them that they are using tees WAY too long, the ball will just go up in the air and they will get no distance !!! USE shorter tees !!!!!

    Cousin Golfer Wendy

  10. Mindy,
    I started reading this last night at work. Wouldn't you know, I got to the part where your son is walking out of the cafeteria and the phone rings! I had to turn the internet off and get back to business! It was like reading a suspense novel and not being able to find out whodunit!

    I'm glad life has settled down and LOL to you. The writer in us never turns off does it? Which can be a good thing.

    Pat that boy's head for me. I'm glad he's better!

  11. LOL Wendy! Funny thing, there are no golfers here. My daughter's friends from college were over last week, and they played some game where they dropped a tee in the deep end of the pool then, I guess, chased after it. Didn't pay much attention, but my boys sure did. They've been playing with the leftover tees ever since. Of course, until a couple of days ago, they never saw the need to keep the things in the box on the table. Silly boys.

  12. We had a nail through a sandal one summer. Man! That is scary because your child is in pain. I can relate it to Christ having a nail through his feet too. I'll bet your son will feel closer to Christ because he understands a small part of the way Jesus felt now.

    A rough way to find out!

    I hope he gets better very quickly. Walking is quite tender there for a while.


  13. Well, how exciting, Mindy! You have so much FUN at your house! I pray that is the most "fun" you'll have all summer. LOL!

    How's the baby bird??? :)

    love, your friend you never see...