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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Ambien Chronicles, Installment Two

Following the nude peanut butter debacle, I swore off Ambien…but it didn’t last. I eventually needed sleep and sleep wouldn’t come so I became smarter about it, only taking it AFTER I was in the bed. It was smooth sailing…for a while.

By March my son, Luke, was 9 months old. He had just started getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. Soon he’d be crawling. One morning he and I were in the laundry room. I was emptying the dryer and folding clothes while he played in the floor next to me. He began fidgeting with the ironing board that was against the wall. Afraid he would turn it over on himself, I picked it up and wedged it between the dryer and the wall.

I turned back around and to my surprise, Luke was gone. I panicked and ran for the door. That’s when I saw him. He had crawled several steps away from me and was perched on all fours at the top of the staircase. I shouted his name as I ran towards him. Startled, he rocked forward throwing his balance off and began to tumble. I tried, but ultimately failed, to catch him in time. Just beyond my reach, he hit every step on the way down. Seventeen in all. We were both hysterical but after a quickie neurological check I only found scratches and carpet burn. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to trust my instincts again, so I called his pediatrician and we were on our way to the hospital.

Two head CT’s and six hours later, he was cleared and discharged. Thankful that my boy was alright, we headed home. With a clean bill of health the worry was gone leaving plenty of room for its cousin, Guilt. How could I let this happen? Why didn’t we have baby gates? We’d been talking about putting them up for a week. Was Brantley secretly angry with me?

We settled in at home. Luke went to bed early from being obviously worn out and Brantley was going to be in charge of checking on him throughout the night. Despite my exhaustion, I could not sleep. Brantley ordered me to take an Ambien and go to bed. Take an Ambien, I did. Go to bed, I did not.

The next morning came like any other, but a little more somber in the wake of the previous day’s accident. A few minutes into breakfast Brantley broke the silence with, “What’s up with you being such a jerk to your sister last night?”

“What are you talking about? I asked.

“The message you sent Leigh.” (I jumped up from the table and ran toward the office.) “It wasn’t an email. You sent it from your phone,” he said.

I grabbed my phone and scrolled to the sent messages. There it was. “Hey Leigh, thanks a lot for not caring that Luke fell down the stairs. We were at the hospital all day because of you. You have no idea what you’ve caused. He could’ve died.”

“What? There was no way I could’ve written that. It doesn’t even make sense. She lives two hundred miles away. Oh jeez, did she ever respond?”

“No. You gave her about fifteen minutes to respond before you started leaving her voicemail messages. It was more of the same.” I clapped my hand over my mouth. “It’s a little late for that,” Brantley said.

“Why didn’t you take the phone away from me? I was obviously in an altered state. We’re supposed to be a team.”

“I wasn’t coming near you. I’m not stupid. You were being crazy. Besides what kind of team is that? You act a damn fool and I try to fix it…Doesn’t sound like much of a team to me. We don’t even have a team name.”

“I bring plenty to the team! But you’re right about needing a name. I’ll have to think on it. A name like that will be pretty permanent and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Stop distracting me!” I tried to refocus on my personal attributes.

“Dang it! I’m a good wife and mother.” In light of recent events I felt guilty for calling myself a good mother until Brantley finished my sentence with,

“…who only throws her kids down the stairs once in a while.”

“Really? It hasn’t even been twenty four hours and you’re already seeing fit to make it into a joke.” He had dealt a low blow, but this argument had to wait. I had some smoothing over to do with my sister.

Still holding the phone in my hand, I pushed send to call her. Unaware that I still had my hateful message pulled up, instead of dialing her number, the message was sent to her AGAIN. I knew I had really screwed up. One time was explainable, forgivable even. Twice, on the other hand, was harder to sell as an accident. I had some ‘splaining to do but fortunately I have an understanding baby sister.

In fact, years ago she and I were still sharing a bedroom when I was attacked in the night by a fierce band of renegade pirate midgets that only I could see. I have no recollection of this, but she and my mother swear to it. Thereafter, my dose was halved and, to my knowledge, I haven’t been attacked since.

So maybe I get hungry and eat peanut butter with my hands in the night. And maybe I get a little mouthy after a tough traumatizing day, but it’s been over nine years since I was the victim of a midnight midget attack and I think that’s worth noting. As for Brantley, his punishment came in the form of our team name, Guy About to Get Kicked in the Nuts and His Smart, Funny Wife.