Her dad’s cleaning cabinet was wide open. The key lay on the floor. The curious four-year-olds sat on the counter. A chair was below them. One of the detergents was out. She could tell some had spilled. It was held by both tots.
There was one piece of good news. Nicky and Alex stopped everything. “Drop it, you two,” came the next command. Nicky and Alex instantly dropped the container. It spilled everywhere.
The boys knew they were in big trouble. “We just wanted some fruit juice,” Nicky whined.
“Having a picture of lemons does not make it fruit juice!” She forgot about being kind and gentle. This demanded quick thinking. She just hoped she had some brain cells left.
She ran to the phone. “Did you put any of that in your mouths?” She thought she saw some yellow around their lips.
“Yeah, why,” Alex asked her.
“Whoa, baby. When it rains, it pours!” “How could I ever have left them alone?” She was extremely mad at herself. “If anything happens to them, I will never forgive myself.”
She quickly realized she had more important things to do. Michelle could be mad later. She reminded herself to remain calm. She dialed the number for the Poison Control Center. It was taped beside the phone. “Listen. Don't move, don't touch anything, and don’t swallow,” she spoke hurriedly.
“Are we allowed to breathe,” Alex asked.
She tried to keep her cool. This was almost impossible. Her insides seemed to morph into butterflies. Creatures which constantly flapped their wings. Her words burst into the phone. “This is Michelle Tanner, 1882 Gerard Street. I need an ambulance...”
“Okay, calm down sweetheart. It's going to be okay,” came the soothing voice on the other end. “First, tell me what happened.”
Michelle took a deep breath. She fought back tears. “My cousins were just out of my sight for a minute. When I got into the kitchen they had this detergent. I think they swallowed some.”
Did she need an ambulance? “Yes.”
Were they conscious? “Yes.”
The lady asked her to repeat her name and address. She then asked who the victim was. Michelle gulped. “Nicky and Alex Katsopolis. They're four years old.”
Could she tell what the detergent was? “Oh, let's see.” “There are so many there. Wait, the stuff on the floor!” She quivered slightly as she read the name.
“Okay, dear. How much was taken?” Michelle didn’t know how much was in the container. Besides, a lot had spilled.
She forced herself not to worry about that. She told the lady her cousins were alert. They anxiously waited for Michelle's instructions.
“All right, dear. Is there an adult there who can help? That's one product where it’s okay to induce vomiting. Do it before the ambulance gets there if you can.” The dispatcher had information on every product.
Oh no. I knew I should have made them...wait a minute! “You mean there’s ones you can’t?!”
“That’s right, dear. But, this one you should.”
Michelle couldn’t believe it. For a moment, she’d forgotten her dad’s lessons on why the Ipecac syrup was there. Poison could really harm someone. She’d assumed every poison needed to be vomited. Now, she learned that wasn’t true. “There’s so many rules, even for adults!”
“My dad or older sister will be here any second. But, I think I can do that,” Michelle remarked. She felt more at ease as she talked. Now, she only half felt like crying. “This woman has such a pleasant way about her. Was Mom like that?”
“Okay, dear. Wipe any leftovers off their mouths.” She did as she was told.
“Now, see if they’ll drink some water. That will dilute the poison.” “Sure, whatever that means,” she pondered as her knees shook. She threw the paper towels into the sink.
“Make sure your cousins don’t lie down. Keep them moving while you do this.”
Michelle couldn’t think of anything to have them do. She didn’t want them falling. The woman suggested that they unlock the door for the ambulance.
“Of course! I need to call for that.” She ordered them to open the front door. She told them to come back and stand by the table.
She was asked if there was any Ipecac Syrup. “Of course,” she mused as she said “yes.”
Michelle reached the top of the back stairs. She asked herself where her dad was. Hadn’t his plane landed twenty minutes ago?
She quickly forgot that problem. She darted into the bathroom. She found several bottles. She grabbed three, in case she dropped some.
She returned and saw the twins at the table. She tried to hide her fear. “Everything will be all right. Just keep doing what I tell you.” She hoped she sounded confident.
Next, she was told how to make them vomit. She got the boys to take the syrup. She prayed silently that she be in time.
“We’ll be okay, won’t we, Michelle,” Nicky wondered after he swallowed the syrup.
“I wish I could be sure,” came the mumbled response. Despite the dispatcher’s calm, caring voice, Michelle still felt like she and the twins were the only people on the Earth right now.
Her lower lip trembled. “Nothing’s happening,” cried Michelle after a couple seconds.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. It’ll take a few minutes. Have them move around so it works faster.”
“Uh...how about jumping jacks,” she blurted. She detected a slight giggle from the lady. She told Michelle what else to do.
Michelle phoned 9-1-1. She reported that the boys had been poisoned. They needed an ambulance. The twins walked around the kitchen. “Why aren’t they throwing up yet?”
She provided the same information she had to Poison Control. An ambulance was on its way. “It’s fitting, the way this day has gone. The first adults to show up will be in an ambulance.”
After several tense moments, Nicky and Alex looked queasy. Michelle got each twin over a knee. She caught the vomit in two large bowls as instructed. She breathed a huge sigh of relief. A siren was heard blaring on their street.
Nicky gazed up at her. “Are we in trouble again?”
“Yeah, what happens now,” Alex asked.
Michelle hugged them as they drank glasses of water. “Guys, you obeyed perfectly. Just like you had to. I'll be proud to report that to your mom and dad.”
“If I don't collapse from exhaustion first,” she told herself. She hollered for the paramedics to enter. “I won’t face a longer thirty minutes if I live to be a hundred!”
Moments later, Michelle was speaking to one of the paramedics. Her stomach still seemed to contain massive butterflies The presence of an adult comforted her a little.
“As I said, my dad's flight was delayed by bad weather. But, he should be home by now. And, my older...” Stephanie flew in the door. “Finally,” came the tired remark. She hugged Stephanie. Michelle sobbed as they embraced. She was finally comfortable releasing her tension.
Her older sister was stunned. “It’s okay, Michelle. I’m here now. What hap-? Oh, no. Where's Nicky and Alex?”
Danny Tanner raced through the front door. “Dad, where were you, your plane landed a half hour ago.” Michelle tearily ran and hugged him.
“Oh no, what happened, is everything all right,” rambled her dad. “I’d been trying to call, but the line was busy. I just stopped to get the pizza like I said on my message.”
He wasn’t sure what to make of the mess. Let alone the man walking in from the kitchen. The paramedic carried a bottle of cleaner under his arm. He also carried a couple paper towels with the cleaner soaked into them. Plus, two bowls of...something. Nicky and Alex walked beside the paramedic. It was the most unusual sight Danny had ever seen.
The entering man spoke. “I got the samples...oh, you must be Stephanie and Mr. Tanner?”
Slightly shaken, Danny spoke. “I’m their father. What is all this? What’s going on here?”
The first paramedic described the problem. “Your nephews found the key and got into your cleaning supplies, Sir. They swallowed some.” Danny and Stephanie gasped. “It's important to take them in to have them examined.”
Danny said to take them to the ER. He asked what happened. He looked at the girls. In turn, Stephanie glanced at Michelle.
The younger sister stood upright. She shook her head vehemently, and held her hands palm forward. “Don't look at me. I've had enough of this ‘in charge' business to last a lifetime!”
“It should be all right, Sir. Vomiting was induced quickly, before we came,” said the lead paramedic. The other one walked with the boys out to the ambulance.
Danny was dumbstruck for a moment. He turned to Stephanie and Michelle. “Where are the others? Wait, Joey’s in L.A. I thought Jesse was coming back today, though. Not that it mattered, with my flight delayed so long, but...” The realization suddenly struck him. “Whoa, wait a minute. You two were all alone with them?” He hugged the girls. “Thank you so much. Don’t worry about the mess. It sounds like you did a magnificent job.”
“Don't pin a rose on my nose,” Stephanie told him modestly. “I don't know what's going on, Joey dropped me off to go shopping before he left. Michelle watched them all afternoon.”
“She watched...” Danny bent down to Michelle's level. “Honey, you took care of your cousins all by yourself? And you even called and...” He gave her a big hug, and spoke tearfully. “Oh thank you, honey, I'm so proud of you. I'm so glad they're safe. Oh, thank you, thank you.”
Michelle grinned. She was happy to be away from handling anything herself. “I can’t believe how draining this is.” “You're welcome, Dad. Your job’s a lot harder than I could have imagined. I don't want any extra responsibility ever again.”
She gazed at the ambulance as it rolled away. “I just want them to be okay.”
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