I’m lucky enough to have pretty healthy children. So far the only damage that has been done to them has been psychological. When I was a kid we never suffered anything more serious than a few stitches or a broken bone. It’s probably just a stroke of dumb luck that we didn’t have more of both. My mother had one of those 3 tier hanging wire baskets attached to the ceiling next to the kitchen sink. One day I saw my older sister standing on a stool to reach the basket where a half empty bag of chocolate chips and been left. It had been hanging there teasing her, and when left alone I guess she decided that she could take some without being seen. Unfortunately I saw her, and asked if she’d share. Normally she would have told me go play in traffic, but I guess she decided that getting me some chocolate would be better than whatever might happen when I ran and got our mother. She was wrong. When she climbed up there for me she fell, and ended up with a cut above her eye. She had to get stitches and they were covered with a bandage that partially covered her eye. She still has a scar that cuts into her eyebrow.
When I was in preschool there was a pale orange cat that would pass through our back yard every so often. We once had an orange cat named Mittens, and I felt like this cat had to at least be a close relative of his. I was pretty sure that once I worked out with him that we pretty much knew each other already he’d love me, and then we could pick right back up where Mittens and I had left off. For some reason he wasn’t warming up to me. I can’t imagine why. One late afternoon I ran and got some cat food hoping that it would help bridge the gap between us. I was following him around tossing the cat food in his direction while trying to explain how we were related when he turned around and clawed the **** out of me. I was in shock! As my late grandmother would say, all I did was love him, and he hated me. The effing nerve! I dropped the bag of cat food, and ran inside. My grandparents were visiting, and they were sitting in our livingroom with my parents. Once I made it inside and told them all what happened my grandfather (who grew up in a very harsh Appalachian environment) asked me why I didn’t come and get him faster because he would have shot the cat. I appreciated his willingness to commit murder for me, but I was 4. I had run inside as fast as my traumatized 4yr old legs could carry me. Evil d-bag Mittens was long gone. I ended up in the emergency room that evening and went home covered in gauze.
My sisters and I were playing in the back yard one afternoon when my younger sister, who was wearing a leotard and tights at the time, was laying in a swing on her belly. I guess she lost her balance because she fell forward and hit her head on a sharp rock. She put her hand on her bleeding head and ran inside. When my mother saw her bloody hands she assumed that they had been cut. She started to frantically wash them in the sink while my sister cried and continued to bleed from her head. After her hands were all clean, and no wound could be found my mother realized what had happened. Panicking makes it hard to think clearly. She ended up with stitches. She also broke her arm when she was really tiny, and I broke my wrist when I was very small too. Kids trust the adults in their lives way too much. They trust us enough that they don’t think anything bad will happen as long as we’re within earshot or walking distance.
My youngest daughter can’t stop jumping off of things. It’s what she does right now. Thursday evening one of her jumps landed her a small cut on her head. I was sitting with her in my lap while she cried thinking that she just had a normal non life threatening bump on the head. I felt a knot, and thought she felt kind of sweaty. I asked my husband if he felt the bump too because it wasn’t huge, and I wondered if I was just imagining it. He reached down to feel, and discovered it was bleeding. Once I looked at my hand I noticed it was smudged. Like my mother washing my sisters hands, I was thinking that my daughter’s bleeding head was just sweaty. I looked through her hair, and saw a small but super deep cut. It was deep enough to really freak me out. I instantly told my husband that we were going to the ER. I grabbed a pair of pants for her and threw them in my purse (because she is always pantsless at home) and we left. We talked to her the whole way to the hospital trying to make sure that she still knew all the things a 3yr old should know….her name, what sound a cow makes, and why you should leave stray cats alone. My husband was driving like we were in a stolen car. I kept reminding him how counterproductive it would be if we all needed to be treated once we got to the hospital.
When we got there I got out and walked inside with my pantsless child while he parked the car. The man at the door directed us to the pediatric ER. I had never been to a hospital with a separate ER for children, but it was really great. We got right in, and everyone there was in “Well, what’s your name? Aren’t you pretty? Do you want a sticker?” mode. She got very upset when they started to bandage her head. The nurse decided that she’d feel more at ease if my husband and I got our heads bandaged first. This could only work on toddlers. At nearly any other age seeing your parents do something first would be the reason not to do it too. She isn’t old enough to know just how horribly uncool we are and so she did end up allowing the nurse to bandage her without a fight. Then we all went back into the waiting room looking like the clumsiest family ever…..I’m sure we will be charged for the extra gauze.
We ended up sharing a room with a mom and her toddler son. He was knocked the eff out. Every so often he would let out a really loud snore. My child was the opposite of tired. She wanted to see and touch everything. She was looking for new things to jump off of, and couldn’t stop talking. Every doctor and nurse that came in she wanted to talk to. I thought that she hated doctors. Now I know that she just hates her regular doctor. She screams and cries and just generally freaks out at the sight of him. She had no problem with any of the hospital staff. There was a movie on in our room for her and coma baby to watch, and someone came in with crayons and coloring pages for her. We waited and waited, as people often do at the hospital. While we were waiting the boy next to us got a cast put on his leg. He never even stirred. It was weird. He had to have been given something. At one point while his cast was being put on my child stopped talking and the room got really quiet. Then he let out one of those super loud snores and my daughter broke the silence by letting us all know that he had just farted. His mom was laughing as I explained to her that it was snoring, and not farting that she was hearing.
When it was finally time for her to be treated my husband sat with her on the hospital bed and worked with the nurses to try and hold her in just the right position as they washed the cut and put three staples in it. Thank baby Jesus it was fast. She was freaking out, and my husband looked traumatized enough to maybe shed a man tear. The lady that had brought us the crayons brought in books and bubbles and a view finder to try and distract her. It worked better than I thought it would. She loved the view finder, but was still really really unhappy. I can’t say that I blame her. A view finder, while pretty neat-o, isn’t the same as a pain killer, or whatever they had given the unnervingly sleepy kid next to us. I was attempting to comfort her, but had to turn my head when the staples went it. I don’t have a weak stomach or anything, but since it was my daughter, the tiny little person who says cute things to me and ruins my furniture, I just didn’t have any desire to watch.
She was perfectly fine almost the instant they were done. I was totally amazed at how well she did from the time we got there to the time we took her home. It was the smoothest, and most drama free trip to the emergency room I’ve ever been a part of. On the way home we drove to Sonic to get her a sundae to make up for what crappy parents we are. The next morning she woke up and felt around on her head. She said, “this is ouch”. That’s all the attention she’s paid to the staples. I sneak in her room after she’s gone to sleep to put bacitracin on her head. Her hair is normally pretty insane anyway, but it’s especially lovely now that we’re styling it with ointment.