My son electrocuted himself and it wasn’t in an outlet. I had covered all of the outlets meticulously. The problem was that I hadn’t anticipated my curious fifteen-month-old to stick his hands inside the wall and pull out an electrical wire.
We had just moved into our new condo and I was still trying to unpack. Our kitchen was almost finished and my husband was getting tired of the boxes being in our living room. So that morning, before he went to work, he asked me to unpack the boxes that held all of the upper cabinet items.
And so, I began to unpack.
I was in the same room my son was in.
He was busy running around and I was trying to sort through plates and bowls.
I didn’t even give a second thought to the fact that our oven hadn’t been installed. We had put boxes in front of the opening because we didn’t want anyone, like our one-year-old, near the wall. But because I had been unpacking I had moved some of the boxes so that I could reach the upper cabinets.
I was trying to open a box when I heard a loud crack. It was like a firecracker had gone off in our kitchen. I looked up and saw that my son had flown across the room. He started screaming.
His little hand was black.
I didn’t know what to do. And I didn’t know anyone. We had JUST moved from Los Angeles.
I quickly texted my friend who is a nurse and asked her what I should do. In the meantime, I texted my husband who was at work 90 minutes away. He was flipped out. So then I started to flip out.
Thankfully, my friend told me that because my son hadn’t gone unconscious there was a good chance he was completely fine and didn’t even need to go to the hospital. However, my husband insisted I take him and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to sleep unless I got him check out.
I called several urgent care centers close to me and all of them said I wasn’t able to bring in a child that age for electrocution.
So, I took him to the children’s hospital.
The intake nurse asked me why I was there. When I told him my son had pulled a wire out of the wall, uncapped it and touched it, her immediate response was, “Why weren’t you watching him?”
I WAS watching him! We were in the same room! I was unpacking and he was just running around. I literally didn’t see him grab that wire! It happened so fast!
After we were given a room the nurse came in and strip searched my son. She said it was standard protocol for any child coming into the Emergency Room. I was humiliated. I could feel the eyes of everyone there on me. They thought I had been careless. Maybe they even thought I had allowed it to happen. They thought I wasn’t fit to be a mother.
And I didn’t feel fit at that moment.
The doctor came in and assured me he was fine. The exit wound was in his mouth which meant he might not be able to eat for a couple of days without pain. He also said my son was lucky because he had touched a 220V wire and it could have been a lot worse.
As if I didn’t feel bad enough.
So why am I telling this story?
- I’m telling this story because as much as we do our absolute best to watch and protect our children accidents happen.
- Just because an accident did occur doesn’t mean you don’t care or that you are an unfit mother.
- Medical professionals have to search for the absolute worst case scenario and that’s okay.
- This was really hard for me, but at the same time, I was glad they were so thorough. Because some little one needs them to be.
- Check your outlets. Especially the ones that aren’t covered.
- My son fell down the stairs six weeks later and bit through his lip. We had to go back to the ER. And when they asked if we had ever been there before our medical records showed that yes, in fact, we had just recently been in for electrocution. I wanted to die.
My son is completely fine and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself, but I guess that is just part of being a mom.