Today, I had to go through the inevitable and unwanted task of taking my son to the Emergency Room for stitches. Yeah, I know leveled up as a parent, but damn it sucked.
He slipped and fell in the shower. Screaming. Blood. And a normally cool under pressure daddy just very near lost his shit. I grabbed some clean cloths and put the pressure on to stop the bleeding. And then ran around the house pacing back and forth, trying to get things together to get to the ER. Sheri got the baby ready and we flew out the house to get to the hospital.
The entire drive there, I was second guessing my actions. Should I take him to the Rapid Care walk-in clinic close to the house? Or should I take him to the hospital? It’s a substantially longer drive to the ER but they are better trained, right? No…the Rapid Care folks are used to minor stitch jobs, they would be like artists sewing him up, right? I mean, the last time we were at the ER, it was an absolute nightmare of a fuster-cluck that led to hours of waiting and all around crap I just did NOT want to go through again. But, I was over half way to the hospital, so turning around would mean extra time in getting my son treated.
Did I mention he started to fall asleep. Well, holy crap! Concussion? Who knows! But the hospital would be a better place to be if that happens, right? They’d be able to diagnose concussion…and that sealed it. We drove to the hospital with mom sitting back with Little Man holding a gauze pad to his forehead. We sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider about twenty times to keep him awake. Each time we finished he would say “Try again.” I made faces in the mirror and he would laugh. It wasn’t until Sheri would re-adjust the gauze that I was reminded of the gash across his forehead. Each time it peeked out, my stomach did just a little flip-flop.
I’m no stranger to stitches. I’ve had a ton of them. And they don’t bother me. The sight of blood…nope. The little layer of subcutaneous fat just under the skin…not as much. Seeing these things on my son…BIG F*CKING DEAL.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I have now been on both ends of this endeavor now. When I was sixteen, I cracked my noggin open on a swimming pool. (You might remember it from here.) I now know what my dad was feeling that day. Part of you has to be the calm cool and collected one, when all you want to do is freak out and make things all better. You know, because freaking out TOTALLY makes things all better, right?
And when I was twelve, I had a cyst removed from my neck. The doctor didn’t give me enough local anesthetic and I felt the last of the surgery as well as the stitching up. I remember lying on the bed on my side, as the doctor cut away and kept cursing in German and Italian. (Let that be a lesson son. Always learn how to cuss in a different language so your momma won’t know what your sayin. Scheiße!) Then I was left wondering what he was cussing about. Soon, the shot wore off and it took my mom, not a small woman, and two other nurses to hold me down while he finished up.
I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t he just give me more of that magic ‘no pain’ juice? No. Clue. Which is why, I remember calling out to my mom. Couldn’t she see that he was hurting me? Why wasn’t she stopping him? I thought she was there to protect me…not hold me down while the butcher went to town on my neck. I just desperately wanted her to punch him and take me home. Safety.
Today, my son called out to me to pick him up. He screamed for mom to take him home. And my heart wrenched as I knew what we were doing was the right thing. But part of me could totally relate to him as all he wanted was for them to stop stabbing his boo boo and let him go home and be safe again. I wanted to thrash everyone in the room and take him in my arms. Mostly, the nurse holding his head. I blame her for most of his pain.
She was the one that packed the pain killer goop into his cut to begin with. He flinched and she didn’t get it crammed into the cut deep enough. So when he got that part sewed up…he felt it. And all we could do, was hold onto him tight and pray she sewed fast. Man, being a parent sucks sometimes.
As we were getting ready to leave, the nurse brought in a couple of stickers. He took the Thomas & Friends sticker and handed the Batman one to me. He said, “Sticker on. Please.” So I took the Thomas one and put it on his forearm where he wanted it. I tried to put the Batman on him and he was adamant that I should take it. Okay…so I put the sticker on my shirt. And we left.
In the car, he talked about his sticker. He said, “Thomas sticker…good job.” And of course, we reiterated what a good job he did. Then he said, “Batman sticker. Good job, Daddy.” I guess, he saw how much I was struggling and thought I needed a Good Job Sticker too. I’ve never worn a sticker with more pride than I did that Batman.
It’s over. We’re home. He’s running around eating an ice-pop and watching Tangled. The only thing to show that he’s been through hell today is the large gauze pad taped over his right eyebrow. And he’s not even acting like that is bugging him too much. Me, on the other hand. I’m still trying to live it down. My brain keeps processing the worst parts over and over again. In 1080p with ultra-surround sound…and it’s also in 3d. And slow motion. I’m relieved and for some reason a little part of me just wants to break down and cry a little. Not sure why, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I prayed to take his pain away…and I’m just processing some of it for him.
Because he sure doesn’t act like anything’s bothering him. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. THIS. KID. HAS. THE. TUFF.