Addison Melle spent her fourth birthday Monday at home and then at the Estevan Fair, enjoying the sights, the sounds and the activities associated with the midway at one of the most popular family events of the year in Estevan.
But just a day earlier, she was going through a harrowing experience that landed her in a hospital.
And her mother Chelsi is sharing her daughter’s story with the hope that other parents learn from the experience.
In a post on Facebook late Sunday night, Melle revealed that her daughter ingested drugs she found on the road in front of Melle’s in-laws’ camper at the Woodlawn Regional Park’s Boundary Dam beach site. Nobody had seen the container the drugs were in before, and Melle doesn’t know how long the container was there, but she described it as a well-travelled location.
“We were having a birthday party, and there was a tonne of people, out and around. Nobody really noticed it on the ground.”
The incident happened while the girls’ parents and grandparents were right there.
“In seconds she picked up a container she thought was white glitter, poured it on the golf cart seat and played with it,” Melle wrote.
But then Addison tasted it, and instantly started spitting. Addison’s family members jumped into action, asked her what she ate and gave her water.
A tiny glass jar was in Addison’s hand.
The family rushed the girl to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Addison was admitted to hospital and monitored on every front.
Meanwhile, the police took the jar and determined it was meth.
Melle wrote that the person who owned the drugs either lost or threw it out on a road where tonnes of children play every day. It could have killed Addison or another child, and in Addison’s case it would have happened just before her fourth birthday.
“I’m so grateful she hardly put any in her mouth, that she spit it out. That today we didn’t loose her.”
Addison spent about four hours in the hospital on Sunday night, but was able to spend the night at home.
“They kept her for observations. It apparently only stays in your system for about four hours for her size. So we were lucky we could come home after being on monitors and being monitored for four hours after she had ingested it.”
Even when she got home, Melle spent the night with her daughter, and was worried each time Addison breathed funny or made a different noise or movement.
“It’s not something you ever want to wish on anybody,” said Melle.
Melle said she should have had more conversations with Addison about not putting things in her mouth.
“But you never think it will happen to your kid, in your small town. Where life is safe.”
She encouraged all parents to have that conversation with their kids about not putting things in their mouths if they don’t know its identity. And that’s why she shared the story online.
It was her father who urged Chelsi to share the story and use social media for a positive purpose.
“I just kept thinking that there needs to be conversations with your kids that you think you’ve already had,” she said. “You need to have them 10 more times, because you can be standing right there like I was. Two of her grandmas were standing right there. Her dad was right there. We were all right there. And she still picked something up.
“She thought it was glitter … and four-year-old girls love glitter.”
They have talked about not picking things up and have sung a song about not putting things in their mouths.
“No matter how many times you think you’ve had that conversation and you think your kids know, they don’t always know. And sometimes they’re curious and they just decide to lick a bottle after they have dumped it out and played with it because they thought it was glitter.”
Her story had 414 comments and had been shared more than 2,400 times since Melle posted it on Sunday night. She never imagined it would receive that kind of reaction, since she did it so that other moms wouldn’t have to endure the same experience.
“We also live in our nice little bubble that things like this don’t happen here. They happen in big cities. They happen to somebody else’s kid. They’re a Facebook story that we read. And it’s very real … because it can happen to anybody in any town.”
Many of the people who have shared her story are those she has never met before, but they have given her kind words and encouragement because Melle believes they would blame themselves if something goes wrong.
While it was a scary incident on Sunday evening, by the time Monday rolled around, Addison was back to her normal self, other than she was a little tired.
“This could have gone so many different ways, and it didn’t, and our story is a happy ending, and I am so grateful for that, because it could have been not a happy ending, and somebody else’s story might not have happened like our story did.
“I’m really grateful that ours ended the same way that it did, and I have my daughter to celebrate with today. Her fourth birthday could have meant something so different if we would have lost her last night, and there’s a very real possibility that that could have happened.”
Melle praised the Estevan Police Service and the Estevan RCMP for their response to the incident, and also the staff at the hospital for their care.
“We couldn’t have asked for any better from any of them, because they have made sure that I know that they are doing their best, that they’re on this and they’re not just brushing us under the rug, and that this is something we need to be concerned about.”