So there I was. Finishing up my week, getting those last emails out, discussing how much we weren’t going to get done before the three day weekend.
My cell phone rings. Hmm. Daycare.
“Oh hi, this is Teacher X from Daycare #1, um, so, Danger Mouse? She was playing on the slide? And she hit her head on the bar that’s, well, it’s kind of under the, anyway, it’s really hard to, anyway, she hit her head on that bar…?”
The teacher was calm. So I was calm. I was waiting for her to say ‘and she got a little bump and she wanted to talk to you’. This is usually what these calls are all about: One of the Denizens got a bump or a scratch and wants to tell mommy all about it.
“So it’s really bleeding a lot and Director is cleaning it up but we’re not sure if…”
People, a fire engine with police escort could not have gotten to that daycare faster. I grabbed my keys and said something like, “Kid bleeding going now” ( or possibly “!!!!! Gskgh!!! Ajkhghklast! Yahabbala!!!!”, I really don’t remember) to my husband.
Who, by the way, was stepping on the backs of my shoes all the way out to the minivan. Probably based on facial expression alone.
I do not have a career ahead of me in poker, people.
We skidded into the parking lot sideways and rushed in to check the situation.
She had hit the top of her head on that bar they put over the tops of slides, to keep kids from backing up and falling down the slide. Hit it hard, and split her scalp open, a wound about, oh, a little over an inch long and (at first glance) SIXTEEN INCHES DEEP WITH BRAINS EXPOSED.
(OK, that is me overreacting again. It looked deeper than it was, but even at my most frantic I didn’t think she had an actual concussion – just a nasty cut.)
But oh yeah. There was bleeding. Lots and lots of bleeding. From hair to shoes, blood splattered all over the child. And Danger Mouse did not look good to me. She looked very upset, her little eyes looked ‘odd’, and I have to say: the blood caking her hair and splattered all over her jeans and shoes did not make me feel comfortable with the whole situation. (OK, and that? Is an understatement.)
So we hustled her out to the car, did a quick phone consultation with her pediatrician, and then drove like frickin’ maniacs in a calm and legally-approved manner to the local Emergency Room.
This is the first such trip we’ve had. That’s right! It will be nine years of parenting next month, and this is the first time we’ve had a child hurt herself such that we found ourselves driving to the emergency room with a damaged little person in the backseat whimpering. And the concept of putting staples into her head bouncing around in my mind.
I could have gone forever without that trip, but it is what it is.
Danger Mouse was seen in record time, and Thanks Be To All Child-Friendly Deities Because I Am Not Too Proud To Thank Even The Most Obscure One Under These Circumstances, it was determined that she needed neither stitches nor staples (STAPLES!?), but that a mere daubing of ‘wound glue’ would do the trick.
I sniffled. And also, I felt a little queasy, in that way you get when there is absolutely nothing you can do, but dog-damn-it, you would about drive bamboo under your own fingernails if it meant your baby could simply stop hurting, right that instant.
I managed to hold it together only because, well, I had to. I had no other option. I certainly was not going to melt down and wail, because seriously – the only thing worse than hurting and being frightened is looking up and finding your mother, who is supposed to be a cross between Saint Brigit and Rocky Balboa, melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Ooooooh, what a world, what a world…
But the hospital people? They were wonderful. From arrival to getting out, it was fast (well, for an emergency room visit it was), it was efficient, the areas were clean, and they were marvelous with Danger Mouse. Our nurse Lance had a marvelous smile and a very cheerful, calming way about him. He was so cheerful that you could not doubt that everything was going to be A-OK.
I could have kissed everyone there for being so happy, and calm, and reassuring. When you’re six and bleeding from a painful split in your head, the hospital could have been a terrifying experience. While it still wasn’t exactly fun (did I mention that the glue-stuff STUNG!?), she came away more pleased at having a great story to tell her friends come Tuesday than sobbing that she never, ever ever EVER wanted to go back to THAT HORRIBLE PLACE AGAIN.
Within a few moments of the glue drying, she was perking up. By the time we got home and had her change clothes, she was feeling downright chipper. And she was dancing and running and laughing by the time we got to Baskin Robbins for mommy’s painkiller of choice: Ice Cream.
And now? You’d never know she had ever hurt herself. And that glue stuff (after the initial stinging part) is great. No real special treatment necessary – she can take a bath and wash her hair and everything, and it will apparently just sort of drop off in a few days.
No having to go to her doctor to have stitches or staples (STAPLES?!) removed from her head. (See, staples, I can handle, I had staples for each of my c-sections…but IN YOUR HEAD?! Geeeeeeeeeeeez, that just seems rather medieval, you know?!)
I feel as though we have dodged yet another bullet. Reminded again to be thankful. And to hug my kids extra tight, every day.
And also, I discovered that when the ER nurse asks you what your child’s religious preference is, if you say, “Disney – but she wouldn’t mind a Nickelodeon practitioner, in a pinch…”, she may just have to take a moment to collect herself.
P. J. O'Rourke
10 hours ago