It started with a thump.
Then a cry.
Then Lauren yelling from the other room. “Bill, BILL!”
I stood up from my parent’s kitchen table, where my father and I were talking politics and history, and hurried to the living room. Lauren was already coming towards me with Maxfield in her arms. He was crying. A lot.
He was bleeding. A lot.
Scarlet was dripping from above his left eye. It covered his forehead, and his eye and his cheek.
“What happened?” I said as I pulled them towards the kitchen sink.
“He ran into the coffee table.” Lauren replied as blood seeped over her shoulder.
We wiped his head with paper towel and saw the cut.
Small but deep. Bleeding. Max wanted nothing to do with the direct pressure. It continued to ooze.
I took him from Lauren. “We should take him to the hospital. I will try to clean him up. Go get the car started.”
The running water from the faucet seemed to calm him for a brief moment. Holding him outstretched towards my dad so he could take a look I asked, “Do you think he needs stitches?”
He squinted, “Yea.”
My mom entered “What happened?” She saw Max’s face, “Good lord.”
“Do you think he needs stitches?” I said.
“Maybe one or two. Do you want me to come with you?”, she asked.
“No that’s okay. I gotta go.”
Now my parent’s are seasoned professionals when it comes to parenting. If they think he needs stitches, he probably needs stitches.
The bleeding slowed down a few minutes later as we entered the emergency room.
We waited for 45 minutes (which equals forever when your kid is hurt) when we were called into the triage area. The nurse tried to take his "pulse-ox" by taping a band-aid like strap with a red light to his finger. You would think a kid would like the red light. But not Max. He put up a good fight. His screams echoed through the ER. They couldn’t get the reading. They tried taking his temperature under his arm. Max fought some more. No reading. They weighed me holding him, then they weighed me with out him (I need to lose some weight).
The nurses tried the "pulse-ox" and the thermometer a few more times. Finally they wore him out enough to get “close enough” readings.
We were giving our own treatment room so his cires would not disturb other patients. Max was still upset but not crying as much, more of a whimper. Lauren and I knew he would be okay but the feeling of helplessness started to overwhelm us.
The doctor entered and Max knew it was not going to be fun and started crying. The doctor explained that he would need stitches and that they would need to tie him down. He also said that it is not a pleasant experience for parents to witness.
He was so right.
The doctor and a nurse took a sheet and wrapped Max’s arms behind his back and then wrapped the rest of the sheet around his body. It was like a straightjacket swaddling. He could no longer fight. He was screaming. I do not think I have ever been that sad in my entire life.
They covered him with another sheet and taped his body to the table. The nurse held his head like a vice. Lauren and I held him down and did our best to calm him. We sang to him. The Alphabet Song, which is the only song I know all the words to.
They gave him a local anesthetic. Scrubbed the wound and placed a cover over his face. The only part of his body that was exposed was the wound and his left eye. The eye was darting back and forth from Lauren to me to the doctor. He was whimpering. I could see the fear in his eye. It was killing me. His left eye, full of tears was saying, “What the hell are you guys doing to me? You are my parents for crying out loud. Why are you letting this man hurt me?”
They stitched him up. Four stitches. That is all, just four. A few minutes later he was fine.
It ended with a thump, as my heart finally slowed down.
Then a cry, as I thought about Max’s fear.
We left the hospital and Lauren tried to comfort Max by saying, “Don’t worry Max, chicks dig scars.”
Little did she know she comforted me as well with that statement.