Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Medical Emergency on Main Street U.S.A.

If any of you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you might have read that my mom had a medical emergency our very first day of vacation, which resulted in us taking an ambulance to Celebration Hospital. I figure some of you might like to hear about what exactly went on that very scary night.

Our first day was really REALLY incredible. Everything seemed to be going right. We didn't have any issues with our flight, checking in at Pop Century, and using our MagicBands at Magic Kingdom. My mom and I didn't do the typical mother/daughter bickering that can happen with us. It was just, as my mom later put it, too good to be true.

We didn't eat any lunch that day, and when we got to Magic Kingdom we decided to share a meal at Columbia Harbour House. By about 11:00 p.m. we were both starving. We'd thrown around the idea of going to eat at the Polynesian Resort, but we ultimately decided to go back to Pop Century, grab a bite to eat, and go to bed so we'd be ready to get to the Studios at park opening.

The Main Street Electrical Parade was going on, so we were taking our time walking through the crowd, stopping to take pictures here and there. Mom and I were walking to the left side of the American flag, on our way to the left exit, when my mom fell over a small curb. I was two steps in front of her and only realized she fell because I heard a PhotoPass photographer say, "Ma'am, are you alright?!" Immediately, I turned around and saw my mom on her hands and knees. My first thought was, "Oh shit, she has osteoporosis." I helped her up and she seemed totally shaken and distraught.  I think I asked her if she was okay, and that's when she told me that she hit her face on the concrete. She said she wanted to sit down.

We made our way across the street over to Town Square to sit down on a bench. When she said she was getting really warm and sweating, I knew what was coming. I squatted down in front of her, took off her sweater, grabbed a water bottle, and made her drink. I kept saying, "Mom, stay with me", but within a few minutes, her face went limp, water flowed out of her mouth, and her eyes closed. No cast members were within earshot, so I aggressively nudged the guy sitting on the bench with us (who clearly just ignored what was going on), and told him to go get a cast member right away. He looked startled as I was holding my mom up, keeping her from falling over. It was all a blur for a bit after that, but I know eventually we were surrounded by a couple cast members. I asked for a cold bottle of water and napkins. When a cast member asked me if my mom was breathing, I instantly thought, "Oh my God. I didn't even think of that." I internally panicked and started searching for a pulse. I finally felt relief when I saw her inhale and exhale. Soon after I began putting cold, wet napkins on her, she came to. She really couldn't form sentences, but just sat there with her head in her hands. The bridge of her nose was bleeding and she had a big red bump on her forehead. At that point, a few medics showed up and had her lay down on the bench while they hooked all sorts of wires and machines up to her. I sat on the ground right in front of my mom and one of the medics told me that her blood pressure was very low. Her glucose level was only a little high.

I probably explained what happened to at least five different people. Guest Relations, Disney security, a few medics, and then EMTs when they showed up. Before I knew it, my mom was on a stretcher and hooked up to a bunch of things. They told me that they would need to transfer her to Celebration Hospital. At that point I started calling and texting family. Surprisingly, I was really calm, cool, and collected on the outside. I wanted to make sure that I kept my composure and handled the situation like an adult.

All I could think about at this point was how my mom was feeling. Not medically, but emotionally. She gets embarrassed easily and deals with guilt when things like this happen. That was the worst part of this whole ordeal, by far. I knew there was nothing I could say to my mom to make her feel better as she laid on a stretcher in the middle of Magic Kingdom.

You'd think that I would have been really interested in looking around backstage at Magic Kingdom as we walked to the ambulance, but I wasn't. I actually don't remember a thing except for watching my mom's face as they lifted her into the ambulance. She looked so angry and disappointed. I just got in the passenger side of the ambulance and waited to leave. The guy driving the ambulance was really nice and kept making small talk until we reached the hospital.

Once at the hospital, it was a slow process getting into a room. The nurse had me help mom get into a hospital gown. They ran blood work, did a chest x-ray, and a CT. Mom was freezing, and so was I. The hospital was like ice. We waited forever for an update on anything. The nurse forgot to take her IV out. She was hooked up to nothing, yet had a huge needle in her arm that was throbbing. After 20 minutes of silence, I was getting worked up (not at all like me in public situations), and walked out to the nurse's station in search of my mom's nurse. He was just casually a clickin' on his computer. I somewhat aggressively asked what was going on and what we were waiting for. He was like, "Oh, everything looks good. Just waiting on her CT results." As I started to explain that she was cold, tired, and uncomfortable from the IV, the doctor came up behind me and asked how she was doing. Right away he came in and talked to my mom and told her that she most likely had a mild concussion and probably passed out from trauma and stress of falling. After getting the IV out, getting mom dressed, and going through billing, I called us a cab to take us back to Pop Century.

I think it was around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. when we got back to our room. The food court was closed. I ended up paying $2.25 for a little bag of Sun Chips. Mom was not in the mood to eat. I made her chug a bottle of water before I'd let her go to bed. I was really scared to let her sleep, but the nurse assured me that it was okay. Still, I stayed up until about 4 a.m. watching her sleep. Even once I got to sleep, every single time I woke up I pointed my phone over to my mom to light up the area so I could make sure she was breathing.

The next morning she was feeling better. We took it slow all morning. We figured we'd get to the parks whenever she was feeling like it. Around 11:00 we went to the food court to get lunch and she soon realized she didn't feel well. She was very nauseated and weak. I quickly panicked, grabbed food without paying first, and got her in a booth to sit down. I made her chug water and eat a sandwich. My goal was to prevent her from having to go back to the hospital. Once she ate and drank what I wanted her to, we went back to our room. Mom took a nap and when she woke up, she was feeling a lot better.  We walked around the resort to make sure she felt up to going to a park. She did great, and around 5:00  we were off to Epcot.

Aside from my mom getting sick at Hollywood Studios the next evening, the rest of the trip was free of any illness or medical emergencies. Thank goodness.

In case you were wondering, yes, I am looking into getting my mom a helmet for our next Disney trip. :p

I really appreciate the kind words and well wishes that were sent to us when all of this was going down. It was really touching and a little surprising to see people reach out that hadn't talked to me in months or years. To those people, really, thank you so much. It was super scary at one point and I felt very nervous playing nurse the following days. Kudos to my mom for putting up with me and my demands for her to drink water every two seconds. She was such a trooper.

My next post on my blog will be about something much happier and less depressing. :) Promise.


  1. How scary - glad they treated her and it worked out after!

  2. Oh no! I'm so sorry that you and your mom had to go through this! I'm so glad that she is okay and that you were both able to enjoy the rest of your trip. You are such a good daughter! Looking forward to living vicariously through your pics and report :)