Talk to Your Kids…It’s Important

Before I start the story, two points:

First, I am not a mother. I know not having children of my own will cause a few people to think less of this post. However, my brother is younger and there is an age gap. My parents work opposite schedules and sometimes I fall into a surrogate mother role with him. I *am* the older sister, but many times he comes to me first with questions or anything else. Obviously, I don’t consider him my son, but with an 8yr age gap the line blurs a little.

Second, just know that I’m fine. I’m home and safe =]


It’s Veteran’s Day here in the United States and most schools have the day off. My college didn’t, but I was off from work.  I planned on taking my brother to the movies since this is the first day we were both off since the school year started. Turns out, my cousins were also off so we went downtown to see Thor: The Dark World.

Thor was 2 ½ hours and my brother and I got on the train around 4:30 because I had to get back for class at 6. While on the train I started getting dizzy. The one time I didn’t have any candy or anything to drink in my bag I get dizzy. I was also very hot. The train was hot and I was layered. We were still underground and didn’t have phone signal, but we were one stop away from getting above ground.

In the few minutes between stops, my vision started getting bright. I saw orange and yellow lights. I was dizzy, a little wobbly on my feet. We were standing and I held on tighter after giving my brother my bag to hold. It got worse. I felt myself swaying, the orange light got brighter, the train was swaying as it sped down the track. It was too much and I knew I couldn’t make it to our final stop.

I told him, “Get me off at the next stop. I can’t see.”

At this point, my hearing was also fuzzy. He was talking to me and I could barely hear him. It was like he was really far away even though I knew he was about 6 inches away from me.  I don’t remember what happened after I asked him, “Which way is the door?” My vision was black with a hazy outer lining and I couldn’t hear. I didn’t want to let go of the pole because I knew I’d fall or crash into someone.

He said he eventually got my hand off the pole, but then I fell. He tried to get me up and I fell again. (Apparently, as I was falling everyone moved out of the way.) A guy near the door helped him carry me out of the train. I remember my brother’s arms really tight around my waist. And eventually he got me to the railing where I was breathing fine and conscious.

Once the cool air hit me I was better (which makes me think I really was just overheated).

He did a good job holding onto me and getting me off the train. But, I know I scared the hell out of him. When he got me to the railing, I crouched down to breathe deeper, but he thought I was fainting again. I was actually calling my mom…

My brother is only 15 years old. Yes, that is old enough to know what to do in case of an emergency. However, unless it actually happens people don’t know what to do. Unless you’re put in a situation where you HAVE to react, you only have the “what-ifs”, the “if (this) happens then I would do (this). But, you don’t know what you would do, how you would react, or how you would feel until it actually happens.

I asked him, “If I hadn’t said get me off at the next stop, would you have known what to do?”

He hesitated and tried to play it off, like, yeah, I know. But, eventually came clean. No, he didn’t. Yeah, logically, you call 911. But, that’s a lot of responsibility to put on a teenager. Especially if it’s something you’ve never discussed. And I know this scared him because this doesn’t usually happen to me. At most, I’ve gotten a cold or strep throat. I’ve been gotten seriously ill, broken a bone, or had a stay in the hospital. Another way I know he was scared? He stayed near me even after we got home. Usually, he tries to get away as fast as he can.

My point is, talk to your kids, your siblings, your friends, whoever. Discuss it. “If I collapse on the train I want you to…”

Obviously, you don’t want to call 911 for everything little thing, but you don’t NOT want to call when it’s important.

For now, our plan is if he or I is responsive we call mom first. She’ll know what to do (as a trained nurse…) If unconscious CALL 9-1-1.

But, like I said at the beginning, I’m fine. I got home; I ate something; I took off the layers; and I’ve been confined to a bed. Not allowed to go to work tomorrow though.


3 thoughts on “Talk to Your Kids…It’s Important

  1. Teachable moments are always presenting themselves! I am glad to know you are okay. You should get your blood sugar checked, as you could be diabetic.

    I want to add: My little brother is 9 1/2 years younger than I am. I was the only ‘babysitter’ he had his entire childhood, even though we had 2 older brothers. They could not be bothered to take care of a baby or toddler, and then they moved out of the house by the time he was 5.

    So, it all fell on me, the only sister to care for him when my parents worked. Like you, my parents worked opposite schedules. I am only giving this info because I want you to know that I fully understand that the relationship you have with your brother is more than just a basic sibling relationship.

    In effect you have been parenting him all along! My parents did not ask me to do anymore than ‘keep an eye on him’. I was not asked to discipline him or teach him anything. None the less, I spent so much time with him that he did learn more from me than he ever learned from our parents. I certainly did not mean to usurp their parenting role, it just happened.

    When I was 14 and spent the summer with relatives on the East Coast, my dad thought it was telling that when his 4 1/2 year old son got hurt the person he cried for was me and not our mom or dad. (To this day, my younger brother and I have a much greater bond with each other than we do with either of our older brothers.)

    FYI, when you do have your own children, you will find it much easier than someone who has never taken care of child at all!

  2. You don’t have to be a mom to know this is excellent advice. Part of teaching our kids to grow up is empowering them to deal with emergencies. If all we do is shelter them, they’ll never know how to deal with crises as they come up. Glad you’re doing better, Priscilla! ❤

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