Trampoline Lover to Hater in One Jump- The Birth of M.A.T.

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Her sharp scream filled my ears as the cold feeling of dread ran through my veins.

It’s amazing how one jump can change you forever. It can alter your day, your body, summer, and life.  She is one of the lucky ones to come away with her life, and that is huge- and hopefully that makes up for the loss of yet another summer.

We lost my father last year to brain cancer and we lost the summer too as a result. In a fog, we walked around- numb to life and coping with each moment.  Our entire family stopped our lives for each hospice nurse visit and each medication.  Insert shameless plug for my bereavement book coming out this fall!  Cloud City

As this summer approached, we all continued our healing journeys and I found joy again.

Looking at my children’s laughter at the perks of summer, made life worth it again.  My son swam farther and passed his swim test.  This allowed him complete independence at the pool. My daughter, now in a pool allowing swim vests, jumped in the pool and got her face wet each time (a HUGE accomplishment) – yes life was sweet!  Both kids cared for each other in the gym playroom, allowing my husband and I our first taste of independence and fun in years.  The pool had healthier Popsicles and gluten-free options, so as a family, we spent afternoons swimming and snacking.   Tons of growth and happiness to benefit the whole family unit happened this summer, and it felt like we began making up for last summer.

Perhaps it’s better to say, I chose joy again.  I exercised with glee and put myself first again for those moments on the treadmill or holding the kettlebell.

This joy and togetherness came to a grinding, screeching, cold, halt on August 4, 2013. I reflected on the event at 2 am, nights after it happened.  Holding her in my arms all night, tears slid down my cheeks silently as I asked, “why?”  I wrote this blog and fell asleep at 4 am, only to wake up with fresh tears on my cheeks.

As her high-pitched scream filled my ears that fateful day, dread and denial moved into my heart.  My daughter didn’t hurt herself on the trampoline. That only happened to other people’s kids.   After all, she’s jumped on trampolines since she could walk.  I held her and didn’t see anything majorly wrong.  She refused ice and screamed harder when were continued to attempt it- typical of my Gabi.  She wanted what she want when she wanted it and when she didn’t want something, everyone knew it- typical 3-yr-old behavior.

A trampoline jump wouldn’t crush her spirit, but it slowly crushed mine.  Let me throw in a stat here!
“An estimated 98,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Head and neck trauma account for 17 percent of injuries.”  <—– click here for the full article.
I wish I read articles like this before putting our trampoline up.  Our friend’s daughter twisted her knee on the trampoline and she never allowed her to jump on ours.  Now I wish we never owned one.  I’m sure you can understand my feelings after these last few days.
We left the family gathering with a crying Gabi.  Did we need X-rays? Hospital? We weren’t sure, so we headed home.  Within minutes, Gabi was asleep in our bed, settling in for what turned out to be a so so night of sleep.  If you have children, picture a night where she sleeps somewhat restlessly, tossing and turning yet not waking or crying.  In other words, she slept and I didn’t.
We debated what to do in the morning. I pretended everything was fine, to avoid triggering her crying at the mention of her painful trampoline landing.  However, she couldn’t walk on her foot and cried out in pain.  We paged our trusted doctor and chose to use the pediatrician walk-in hours. and taking his advice, we headed to an orthopedic doctor for X-rays and a full evaluation that afternoon.
Let me not gloss over the screaming drive to the pediatrician, the screaming walk from the street to his office housed in a carriage house behind his main living house.  Surely he heard this mess on our long walk down his driveway.  This was followed by the screaming and crying in the waiting room, office, and car after.  The crying was her protests against seeing the doctor and then further protests about seeing another doctor later for x-rays.  The pain cry when he felt her foot was of course expected but it was hard for the other moms in the waiting room to understand that most of her cries were from anger at seeing a doctor (especially a man).

My mind began to unravel at the sound of her continued screaming on the way to get my son from camp and then the 20 minute drive for the Orthopedist.  “My leg is better! Nooooooo doctor! I wanna go HOME!” I felt bad, and wished I felt numb. This was killing me.  With my son in the car, it was killing him too.

He told her she had to calm down and he wished he were getting an x-ray.  God help me, let that not happen.
Knowing my daughter wasn’t one to be easily bribed with mommy tricks, I held her as she protested and did everything I could to keep myself together.  The continued screaming in the Orthopedic waiting room, treatment room and x-rays and eventually her cast application, were almost more than we could bear.

“She broke her Fibula and Tibia,” the doctor explained.  My husband and I looked at each other in shock.  Then it set in. A cast from foot to above her knee was our punishment for the seemingly innocent trampoline play.  We are parents, of course we blame ourselves.  It’s our job to know better, and we didn’t.  Innocent trampoline my butt!

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This forever changed our summer- sounds dramatic I know, but at 2 am, as I recalled our day, everything felt dramatic and I allowed the feelings to flow.  With a cast, she needed to be carried all summer- my incredibly energetic girl carried?gabi 4

We lost our time at the gym together, her independence playing there with her brother, her fun jumping at the pool as she taught herself how to swim at her own pace, her upcoming water play birthday party, and potentially our trip to Arizona (seeing her grandparents and my 40th bday hike in Sedona).  All my middle-of-the-night mind could focus on was our losses.

I kept it together, doing my best to be a role model for the kids in the day.  My husband and I sat at the dinner table,  (while Gabi sat on the couch eating her pasta and watching a movie) and we stared at each other.  Again, we sat in shock.

The trampoline must come out. The bday party must be modified.  Our gym trips would become individual workouts and non-family pool days.  Our trip to AZ? Yet to be decided, but we will probably go and modify our activities significantly.  We sat at the dinner table discussing our options.

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 Here’s another article and safety tips!  <——–click here.  The owner of this post says that kids under the age of 6 shouldn’t jump on home trampolines.  She says she is talking only about home trampolines and not the kinds at gymnastic centers.  I venture to say that even with supervision, anyone, especially young children, can land poorly and experience something similar to Gabi.
Wondering how your insurance company feels about your trampoline?  Read here.  <——–
And finally, here are some statistics for ya!  Read here. <———
To show you more info, here you go!  <———
So now I’m a hater, and not a lover, of these trampolines.  How do moms become against drunk drivers and form MADD?  They lost a son.  Why do families advocate for more Brain Tumor Research (like my family?)  Someone they love suffered.  Well Gabi suffered, is suffering now, and we certainly are too.  Yes, it could have been much worse.  It won’t happen in our family- our trampoline is off-limits and set for demolition!
So now, welcome to my newest bandwagon or soap box.  Mothers Against Trampolines!  MAT!  gabi
~Heather

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