Our time in Yellowstone came to an end with a bang – literally! At about 1:30 a.m. on our last night, Elaine awoke in the dark room and cried out because she didn’t know where she was. Trying to be a kind, helpful, little brother, Nolan offered to go get mom & dad for her. But in the darkness he fell from the top bunk (which wasn’t really too high). He’s fallen from his bunk before, but in the RV there are two sets of bunk beds very close together. He found the other bunk with his head on the way down. Now two kids were crying, and in the dark I honestly thought one had fallen on top of the other. When I got there I could feel wetness and knew immediately that there was blood. When we got the light on we discovered a three inch gash across the back of Nolan’s head, and with about 1/4 inch separation. I held the wound with pressure to stop the bleeding while Ben got us ready to go to the ER.
Then we encountered our next problem – no cell service, and no knowledge of the hospital location. The signal had been very limited during our entire visit. We got a hold of 9-1-1 briefly before losing the signal again. Ben followed the phone line to a cabin and went and banged on the door. It was a campground employee and she had a landline which we were able to use. She told us the nearest hospital was 40 miles north (1 hour) in Big Sky, Montana. An ambulance was sent for Nolan because of it being a head wound, and also because of the danger of driving at night with all of the deer & animals on the road in Yellowstone. Additionally, I needed to stay with the other kids, so there was no one to keep pressure on Nolan’s head.
The ambulance arrived and they made sure Nolan wasn’t blacking out or having symptoms of concussion. It is a special ambulance (only a couple of months old) and specially designed for impact with deer. They told us it was really the best one in the state of Montana! Even with their expertise, they still stopped a half dozen times for deer on the road. They were very glad we had called for help instead of attempting to take Nolan ourselves.
The hospital was small – only two nurses on duty, no patients, and the doctor had to be called in to do the stitches. They were glad Nolan didn’t have a cracked skull since they are not equipped for such injuries. They took good care of the guys and even pulled in another bed so they could sleep until the sun came up and it would be safe for me to drive and pick them up. When it was all said and done, he got all stitched up and was fine! In fact, the first thing he was proud to show me when I arrived was his new slipper socks!
Here’s the little man with his head bandaged up! Never a dull moment with kids on deputation!