Monday, August 29, 2005

ER

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.

28 comments:

eclectic said...

Oh I'm so sorry!! Hope Max is feeling better -- hope you are too.

My daughter fell headfirst into the corner of a brick hearth at 20 months of age. We spent our own harrowing evening in the ER with an agonizingly similar sequence of events. She's eleven now, and there's barely a mark on her.

But I've never forgotten that overwhelming helplessness in the face of my child's pain. So sorry for you all, but glad the worst is over.

Charlotte said...

I so feel your pain. I remember it like yesterday and that was almost 21 years ago. It was only made worse when the hubby couldn't handle seeing the needle and promptly went out in the hallway, puked, passed out and ended up in the stretcher next to the kid. Now I know why women have to be the strong ones...LOL

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Just found you through a comment on Sharkey's blog.

Just the intro on why you named your blog "Poop and Boogies" was reason enough to come back again...

I have linked you in my "Daddy Blogs" list.

Hannah
www.millinersdream.blogspot.com

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

P.S. I remember a similar incident I may have to blog about...and am thankful Max is okay, and you all survived.

Hh

No_Newz said...

Awww, poor Max, poor you, poor Lauren, poor Grandma and Grandpa. What a scary thing for all of you. This post makes me want to spew all of the booboo stories we've endured over the past 13 years. I'll spare you by saying, nothing hurts more than having a helpless feeling with your own child.
Mama's always right, chicks do dig scars.
Lois Lane

Rach aka Robyn's Mama said...

Your post made me cry and my daughter started playing with the tears on my cheek, which made me laugh.

I think you just made my day

Candace said...

I'm so sorry you guys had to endure your child's screams and absorb his fears.

When Christopher was 9 weeks old he had a seizure and the hospital had to run all kinds of tests, including a spinal tap. It nearly killed *me*.

I think it was a bit easier than your ordeal, though, because mine was barely sentient at the time!

SuzanH said...

Oh, I hope he's feeling better. What a horrible thing to deal with as a parent.

I've had my share of scars and stitches and never thought twice about them--now I know my parents must have been reeling.

mrtl said...

Oh my, Bill. I thought your experience was bad, but then I saw your comment spam.

Did they send Max home with one of those cones around his neck so he wouldn't pick at the stitches?

(I joke because thinking about living it is way too mortifying.)

kalki said...

Whoa, this post gave me chills. Max is going to remember this day (although probably not in a bad way - he'll just be bragging about the 4 stitches) and it will be eye-opening for him to read how you experienced it. The love of a parent is an incredible thing.

Mama Duck said...

Awwwww, poor Max! When Daughters No. 1 or 2 get their first bout of stiches I am going to be a wreck. They might as well sedate and tape me to the table too.

Hope all three of you are recovering!

lester_molester said...

Hi, I hope you don't mind a long comment from a stranger.

Your post was interesting reading. :D I can tell you right now that I could relate to this story from 2 different perspectives. Namely, Max and the Doctor.

As Max...

As a kid, I was a handful. One day, I decided to climb one of our shelves to reach for a toy on the top shelf. As I made my way up, I slid and my right eyebrow caught the corner of one of the open cabinets. (close call...) Anyway, I walked out of the room to look for my mom and blood was trickling like a poorly maintained faucet. I almost gave my mom a heart attack. I ended up getting the same 4 stitches that is now evidenced by a broken eyebrow. Mom says that I was astonishingly calm throughout the whole stitching process but quite ironically, was kicking and screaming when the stitches were being removed.

As the Doctor

I work as a General Practitioner who usually mans the Emergency Room. You can imagine that I get a lot of these kids that require stitches. Your post was 100% spot-on except that in the small hospital I work in, we don't bother with the PulseOx.

Anyway, I thought I'd drop a comment to show my gratitude for the great post. With the number of patients that come by my emergency room... I must admit that I have probably been numbed towards the emotions that parents feel when their children go through these events.

Let this be a learning experience then...

Stacie said...

So sorry to hear about Max. He's a cutie by the way. I cried when my son (now 16) got tied down for stitches over his eye. I felt like it was all my fault. I took a break from spring cleaning to play with him with a bopping balloon and knocked him into the pile of junk I was taking out. He was 3 years old. I didn't know he could scream that loud. Stacie

Anonymous said...

Awwwww...very well written...I'm sure he's forgotten all about it...I'm glad you guys made it home safe.

Dancewriter said...

Wow... it seems to me that this particular type of injury is a rite of passage for boys! My former neighbor used to say (she has 4 boys) that the ER was her second home.

Glad everyone survived! :)

Meegs said...

Wow, your story almost made me cry... I know how helpless it felt when my brother had to go into the hospital sick. But I imagine it must be so much worse when it is your own child.
That is part of parenthood that I am not looking forward to.

Circus Kelli said...

Oh my goodness... how awful. I feel for all of you, I really do.

Nearly a year ago, Sweet Pea, our most spirited child, banged her head hard enough to need stitches. She handled it far better than we thought she would, but afterward, I felt like I was going to be sick from the wave of emotions we had just been through. (oh, and thank God I had Hubby to "hide" behind while they stitched up my little Sweet Pea. Watching a needle and thread go through your child's eyebrow is just NOT RIGHT.)

Take solace in the fact that he won't remember it. You will, but he won't. I promise.

Kami said...

Oh, so sorry! We just went through this in July. Same thing. Damn coffee tables. The whole time Nik was wrapped up, he kept saying, "MOMMY! I WANT TO HOLD YOU!!" Freaking sucked.

SoozieQ said...

Wow, thank you for causing tear leakage first thing this morning *sniff*sniff* I'm ok now though, thank you.

So sorry you all had to go through that, how awful. I do hope that Max is feeling better and maybe got an ice cream cone or 47 for being a little Trooper.

Ozymandius said...

well being an ER nurse for many years I had my share of small children with very similar stories. And your right there is pretty much nothing we can do to make it better for the parents. We try to prepare them for what's in store, but theres just no way to really do it. You reassure that the child is fine, that the papoose (the restraining you spoke about) will help with immobilization, that kids will scream bloody murder and 99% of the time the kid is fine. I know it seems like torture but more generalized anesthethics have higher risks for complications. Sometimes as a nurse you fell like you need to take care of the parent more.

spirtswoosh said...

I'm glad he's doing better. The feeling of helplessness when a loved one is in need is heartwrenching. Oh and scars are a great conversation starter for when he's older.

Jim said...

Chicks do dig scars. My 1st daughter (#3)child had the stitches (coffee table), then the capped tooth (fall), broken leg (fall between two brothers), and everything else in the kid damage department. I cried then, I cried when I read your blog, and in December she is having her first baby (a girl) and I will cry then. (And laugh a little because what goes around comes around)(And I will cry for the grandbaby too) I always feels helpless but I've learned a parents love is the great healer and kids forgive us faster than we forgive ourselves.

Susie said...

Oh wow. Made me cry. Glad you and Lauren were both there for Max AND each other. These are the stories he'll put in his blog someday.

Cat said...

All that for FOUR LOUSY stitches?! Like, one, two, three, FOUR?! Like, "Hold him still for a sec and I'll fix him right up" FOUR?! ALL THAT?!

Ah. That's insane.

I can only remember one incident with my oldest(who incidentally HAS had stitches and they certainly didn't tie him to a freaking table!) that about killed me with sadness, as this experience did you: it was his circumcision.

Yikes. One week old. What was I THINKING?!

Kari said...

So sad....Hope Max is feeling better now...Hope you and Lauren are better too, emotionally scared I'm sure, but better I hope.

Jewl said...

OMG, that is horrible, I got a lump in my throat just reading that. I am glad he is okay, and you both are as well now... If I'd had seen my little girl tied down like that I might have ended up on the bed right next to her... you both did great!

Susie said...

Ohmygosh. I'm glad you're all OK. This is one of many parental baptisms. LG fell at 3 and we ended up in the ER, but she had the glue, not stitches. Coffee tables just suck. I remember when my mom had grandchildren, she removed her coffee table from the house, which I thought was odd, but she said all of her kids had been hurt by it and she wasn't having the same happen with the grandbabies. Now they have those fancy rubber things to wrap around them.
I can just imagine how difficult it was for you and Lauren to see and hear that. Shivers.

Greenthumb said...

UGH!!! that one got me right...(thumping chest) HERE!!!