Friday, July 15, 2011

Home to the Commonwealth: Day 3, Excitement and Drama

ok, you ready for this? We are back again for more VA trip recap! At last!

Day 3, May 31 - I ended up tagging along with my mom, Heather and Chelsea for their 2nd day of DC adventures. Here they are deliberating over the map while riding the metro into DC:

The plan was to see the Lincoln Memorial, walk over to the White House, go get some lunch, then go to the National Zoo. They had wanted to go Georgetown . . . but there wasn't a real easy way to get there via metro and there probably wouldn't be time for it anyhow.

So, with this plan in mind, first stop Lincoln Memorial:

Then we walked past the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. I posed in this picturesque little spot:

We found this statue of Einstein (that even having grown up in the DC area, I had never known existed) and we all took turns sitting on his lap:

It was really really hot this day. The DC area was suffering a beast of a heat wave that week with heat indexes up over 100. It was prettty miserable. It was also getting to be near lunchtime, around 11 or so, and Chelsea started complaining of feeling a little sick. She took a little break lying down on the grass, but we just thought she was starting to feel hungry so we thought we'd just get to the White House as quick as we could and then jet on over to Union Square on the metro for lunch.

Along the way there we luckily encountered this birdbath thing and we tried to cool ourselves off a little. We did have water bottles - but it was sooo hot. We splashed water over our heads and arms and legs. Chelsea was not feeling very great. But we were almost there! Almost there, almost there!

And we made it! We posed for pictures!

Yay for sweaty squinty pictures!!
And did you know Michelle Obama has beehives? I didn't.

Well yeah. Chelsea seemed ok while we were taking pictures but then all of a sudden she started lurching away, dry heaving and saying she couldn't see. uh-oh. Mom tried to take her arm and get her to this shady spot just little ways up the sidewalk so she could rest. But she didn't make it that far. She collapsed on the sidewalk a few feet from the shade. We think she probably passed out for at least a few seconds. Next thing we knew the Secret Service guy posted in front of the White House was calling over, "is everything ok? is she ok?" ummm . . . we weren't too sure.

So then lots and lots of Secret Service guys/gals showed up. I wish I had counted how many we had surrounding us at the peak of this adventure. 7 maybe? I don't know.

They were all very friendly. By the time they left I felt like we had made new friends! They had been so helpful and nice, I was almost sad when there was a shift change and new people came. We were there, camped out on the sidewalk by the White House, for hours. This was a very long process. They gave her oxygen. They put ice packs in her armpits. We got her more water. They monitored her heart rate and glucose levels. I don't even know what else. They kept asking us if we want them to call an ambulance, which was kind of confusing. I mean, do we want to pay for a very expensive ambulance ride and spend the rest of our day in an emergency room? Want seemed to be the wrong choice of words for this.

But we kind of took it at face value and figured that if Chelsea was able to get up and walk after resting and all of that, then we could just go get some food (lunch, remember. we were just on our way to get some lunch) and water and AC and she'd be ok. Buuuut . . . . well, a few hours later she was still not able to stand. And we were a good walk from the metro station so we were kind of stuck there. Her heart rate was also elevated and not going down.

After much prolonged discussion and unofficial advice from our friends in the SS, sometime late in the afternoon they called an ambulance. They shut down the entire sidewalk in front of the White House. All the tourists wanting to take their magnificent touristy photos in front of the White House gate were being diverted across the street and turned away from our little "scene." It was, uh sort of awesome. I mean, aside from Chelsea not being able to stand and all of that. ;) haha.

First the fire truck came. And all the EMT's. Then the ambulance.

I got to ride in an ambulance for the first time in my entire life! Such excitement. And Heather took that awesome video coverage of our VIP tour of Georgetown! We made all sorts of jokes about how we ended up seeing Georgetown after all! Wohoo! :) But we weren't going to make it the zoo. Boooo. :(
And . . . we still hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, what with all the excitement and all.

And it was around 5 or 6 pm by this time. (Do you remember she collapsed around 11 or so AM? yep.)

So, while Chelsea got IV fluids and an EKG and stuff at the emergency room at Georgetown University Hospital (heat exhaustion was the official diagnosis I believe), Heather and I went and found some food (and brought some to them mom and Chel too) and enjoyed a little stroll around the campus.

phew! We then found out that there was a free shuttle to the metro station (hooray!! such a relief since we were now stranded out in Georgetown), so around 7 or 8 at night, we finally said our goodbyes to the emergency room. And went back "home."

(photo of incredible sunset at the parking lot of the Springfield Metro station, close to our hotel)

And that . . . is the story of Day 3. :)


Colleen said...

Quite the adventure! I would imagine an ambulance ride is somewhat fun if no one's life is in danger. :)

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

Holy crap. That is quite the exciting day. I'm glad she was okay.

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