We had a pretty memorable experience recently. Some of it was positive, and a lot of it was negative.
On March 20th, we left home to head for the train station. Rose and I were going to be taking a train for little more than a day to go spend 6 weeks with my parents. We were super excited. It was going to be our first time taking the train. We were used to traveling by plane! But then I found out that the train was so much more affordable, especially now that Rose was old enough to need her own ticket to board the plane.
At the train station is where things started to go wrong. The train was over an our late at the station, which was a pretty tiring wait as it was after midnight. While at the station though, Rose met a new friend, a 4-year-old girl named Alexis. They played at the station together until the train finally arrived. Soon we were lead onto the train and to our seats. Alexis and her mom would be sitting right in front of Rose and I. I was impressed by the amount of room in the train car (far better than the buses I used to take before Rose was born!). There was a lot of leg room, which was perfect for traveling a long distance with a small child.
Rose was so thrilled about being on the train that it took her a couple hours before she went to sleep. She only slept for about 5 hours, while I slept a mere 2 (I struggled to sleep in the seats). The next day, Rose and Alexis were visiting each other in and around the seats, sharing toys with each other and having fun.
We eventually reached the town of Unity, Saskatchewan, about a quarter of the way through the route to our destination. Not far past it, the train had come to a stop. Little did we know, this stop was a big deal. A freight train ahead of our train encountered some terrible weather and ended up being derailed in huge snowdrifts! We were now stuck behind this train, where we would wait for a very long time. Over 20 hours in fact! Seriously, 20 hours!
It was a tiring wait. But surprisingly, Rose took it better than I did. She spent most of the time playing with Alexis, or otherwise having fun.
Our second night in the train, we both had better sleep. I made a bed of coats on the floor for her (last time she kept falling off the seats), and I slept on the seats. She slept for over 10 hours, and I slept for 7 (much better!). Things were getting harder to bear as time went on. Babies on the train were running out of milk and diapers. People were getting restless. I was starting to feel a lot of anxiety from feeling trapped. We were running out of all the vegan food we packed, and the train had nothing vegan left besides crackers and drinks.
Finally, after those many hours of waiting, the train started to move. Hurray! Everyone was so relieved. Things were finally looking up! Except for Rose and I...
Shortly after the train started moving down the track, I was using my laptop while Rose and Alexis were playing together. While I wasn't looking, an adult passenger on the train who had been amusing them earlier with magic tricks, had decided to pick Rose up by the wrists to let her climb up his leg! He didn't ask me or anything. See, Rose occasionally has this issue with her left elbow, a common problem in young children, called radial head subluxation, or "nursemaid's elbow". If her arm is pulled in just the right way, her elbow can dislocate. So, as soon as I noticed he was doing this I ran over saying, "You can't do that! Her elbow dislocates easily!" and he put her down, but it was already too late. She was holding her elbow, and soon started to cry. Crap. We were now stuck on a train with her elbow dislocated.
I carried her to the dining car to ask staff if there are any doctors on board, as we would need a doctor to pop it back in. I was told they'd go around on the train cars looking to see if there were any nurses or doctors on board. They found 3 nurses. None could fix her elbow, but they were very helpful nonetheless. Two of the nurses made her a splint using a towel and a stirring spoon from the kitchen. I was told by the train manager that the hospital in the next town was called and that the train would stop when we got there so an ambulance could pick us up and bring us to the hospital. Our train trip was ending before our destination. I was devastated that Rose was going through this and we were going to be delayed from getting there even longer. Rose was crying that she didn't want to get off the train. She didn't want to go to the hospital. She wanted to see her grandma and grandpa. This was awful for her.
It took about a half hour to get to the next town, which was Biggar, Saskatchewan. When we got there, the paramedics helped us off the train and into the ambulance. A passenger that we never met, got off the train and asked about how we were doing. He was very concerned and gave me $100! I started crying, I was so touched by this random act of kindness. All that we've been going through...this beautiful moment meant a lot to me.
We got to the hospital, and as we were waiting in the doctor's office the paramedics said goodbye, and one handed me a piece of paper before they headed out. I opened it to discover that it was a check for $100. There goes the waterworks. I was getting repeated reminders of how many awesome, caring people there are in the world!
Rose soon went for x-rays and then a doctor popped her elbow into it's place. She was back to normal is minutes. What a relief!
A nurse had been on the phone arranging somewhere for us to go after the hospital. She had called child protective services and they were going to pay for a hotel room and food for us. Thank goodness! An RCMP officer came to the hospital to pick us up and brought us to the hotel. We checked in and relaxed! My parents were driving to go get us, and would take hours to get there. We cuddled on the comfy hotel bed watching television, and then we had a good night of rest. It was so good to sleep in a real bed!
Early the next morning, my parents showed up. We checked out of the hotel and got all our stuff loaded into the truck, and then we headed for our destination. Several hours later we were finally there, ending our long, stressful, terrible trip to my parents house. I would spend the next 2 days catching up on sleep, and recovering from the crappy diet we had to deal with during the trip. Rose seemed to bounce back a lot better than I did!
It's been a week now, and we are enjoying our vacation with our family. But I won't be forgetting that horrible experience!
For more information about nursemaid's elbow, please see:
Here's a news article about the stranded train!