Photo by: Tonja Bell

That Time I Left Youth Football In An Ambulance

by Tonja Bell of "Bell on Heels"
Photo by: Tonja Bell

I love football. So when my son begged to play rec league three years ago, I was beyond thrilled. I am just Jonathan’s mom on the sidelines. I probably have a reputation for being overzealous where my kids are concerned. My middle school band son said that I am no longer allowed to dance beside the brass section at the football games when he performs.

But he is not the boss of me.

Likewise, I can be heard rooting on my middle son’s football team, the Hawks, at their games. I always try to be an encouraging presence. When the team has a big play, and especially my son, he is going to hear me from the stands. He never asks me to stop, so either he actually enjoys it or has learned that there’s nothing he can do about it. Either way.

The Hawks had a playoff game this weekend. Did I mention that it was cold outside? And that I had forgotten to grab a coat? Towards the end of the game my teeth were actually chattering. Anything for my kids though.

At the end of the game we were ahead so all we had to do was keep the other team from scoring. Did I mention that my son plays on the D line? I was cheering with all of my might, trying to will them to victory.

This is where things went awry. Not with the game though. With me. I got a headache. Not your normal headache. It was an instant onset of the worst headache that I had ever had in my life. It was debilitating. I wasn’t able to think clearly. I had to sit down. As my son’s team was winning their game, I could focus on nothing else but what was happening to me.

There was Advil in my bag. I managed to pour three pills from the bottle into my hand, then remembered that I had no water to take with them. By now people began to realize that I was out of sorts. My head was pulsating from the back of my neck. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t think of anything else. A friend ran and got me a water. Someone went on the field and grabbed my husband. (He had been coaching.) Someone else was helping me walk towards the parking lot. It was like an out-of-body experience.

Everyone I passed had a look a concern on their face. I heard people offering to help with our children, but I certainly couldn’t respond. My husband must have though. Someone helped me into his vehicle and we drove away. We happened to be playing in an unfamiliar town that day. One that we knew very little about. Luckily, a police officer passed by and I heard my husband asking him about hospitals.

My hubs drove less than a mile to a fire department. The policeman had radioed ahead to let them know to expect us. The EMTs were waiting when we pulled onto the lot. Little did we know that they had already called an ambulance. The men took my blood pressure and attempted to keep me warm, as I was still shivering from the cold.

The next thing I knew the ambulance arrived. It was all so surreal. Only after I was loaded into the ambulance and en route to the closest hospital did I realize that literally no one ever expects that TODAY will be THE day when you take an ambulance ride.

My husband followed in his vehicle as the paramedic in the back with me kept track of my vitals and kept me covered with blankets, trying to stop the shivering. He turned the heat on high just for me, even though he was sweating. I had a great ambulance team. I will say the ride was a little bumpier than I had imagined, but, as the paramedic so eloquently stated, “Blame the roads, not the ambulance.”

I arrived at the hospital and was wheeled inside. Once in a room I had my vitals checked again. I was asked to tell the story of what had happened. Nope. Didn’t fall and hit my head. I wasn’t actually INVOLVED in the football game. I just got a headache while cheering. Rather enthusiastically, I might add.

By now my pain number, as I was asked to give multiple times during the process, which had first started out as an eight was now down to a four. The ibuprofen had to be helping.

It had been whispered at the football stadium by some that I could be experiencing an aneurysm. Hence, the sense of urgency. I am not usually one to complain about medical issues. And being that I had no experience with aneurysms I couldn’t definitively say that I wasn’t. A CT Scan was ordered.

The great news came back that there was NO bleeding in my brain. I was going to live. He said that, instead, I had a case of whiplash.

Self-induced whiplash. I cheered myself into whiplash. Huh.

My husband’s reaction to the great news

But anyone who knows me would absolutely believe that it is entirely possible that I could give myself whiplash. I just have a certain way about myself.

The doctor said the cold weather had certainly contributed to the problem because cold muscles are more susceptible to injury. So it wasn’t COMPLETELY my fault.

I am glad to report that two days after the incident I am down to only very dull headaches and a stiff neck. I am still here to tell the tale.

My takeaway is, even though I have been very fortunate in my life to be mostly healthy, I am 100 percent human. I also learned that in desperate times when you can’t help yourself, people will absolutely step in and take over. I was very touched by all of the people who stopped everything in order to help me

I guess I will have to accept that my muscles are 45 years old, along with everything else in my body. I have to take better care of myself, and maybe be a little less excitable when it comes to my kids.

But we both know that last part is never going to happen. So here’s hoping for another 45 years!

Stressed wife and mother of 4. I love sparkly things and vibrant people. Must laugh often. #blogger #runner #gangsta #orderly #hilarious

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