Because I have to write it out12/04/2011 at 7:36 am | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 13 Comments
Tags: emergency room, stitches, WakeMed
Food poisoning, croup, a busted chin.
We’ve been to the ER three times with Lily, and it never gets easier or becomes less scary.
Yesterday evening, just as my sister- and brother-in-law arrived to take Marc and me to the hockey game, Lily jumped up from playing Legos, slipped and fell. As she hit the ground, the Lego in her hand met her chin and opened it right up. The blood wasn’t the hard part. It was trying to keep my composure in front of my three-year-old. Trying not to make her feel any more terrified than she already was.
Because the wound was small and the bleeding stopped pretty easily, we thought there might be a chance we could avoid the ER. Marc called a local emergency clinic. Who, without hesitation, told us to get our butts to the ER. Marc stayed back with the baby and our guests. I took Lily.
And this is where I want to say how grateful I am for all of the knowledge I’ve gained in the last three and a half years from talking to other moms.
Deep in the recesses of my brain was this little nugget: WakeMed has a great children’s emergency department. Who told me that? I have no idea. But I’m so glad I remembered it in that moment, which is nothing short of a miracle. We’d always rushed to the hospital closer to our house, whose ER is just fine, but definitely doesn’t cater to kids.
WakeMed’s campus is huge, and of course I parked in the wrong place, but once we arrived inside the kids’ ER, Lily spotted Dora on one of the TVs and curled right up on the couch. Instant relief. It’s so much easier to undertake the arduous task of hospital check-in without a screaming child in your lap.
The triage nurse was amazing (in one brilliant move comparing blood to Elmo’s color in order to relax Lily), and the doctors, nurses and intern (who read books to Lily during her procedure) were equally wonderful. Because she was so rattled by folks even looking at her chin, one doctor advised me to allow them to sedate her for her stitches. It made sense until I heard the words, “might stop breathing” “intubate” and “vomiting.” The second doctor who visited us said that Lily would need only a few stitches and it could be quick. The catch? She’d have to be restrained.
I chose the second option and tried my best to describe it to Lily. “You’ll be swaddled like we used to wrap up Sophie.” “You’ll be nice and cozy and warm.” “Mommy will be right here.”
Amazingly, it worked.
My child stunned me. After dissolving into hysterics each time anyone just wanted to peek at her chin, when it came time to wrap up in the papoose, she obliged without a single tear. I couldn’t believe it. She was so calm and brave. My chest aches just thinking about it.
They pinned her arms to her sides with a pillowcase (“superhero cape”), laid her on her back, and strapped her into the papoose. Then, as a nurse tech held her head and the intern read “Goodnight Moon,” the doctor swiftly and steadily stitched her chin closed.
Lily lay calmly, staring at the book pages and blinking up at the ceiling. I squeezed her forearm (the only part of her body I could touch) and held back tears.
The procedure ended with an orange popsicle, Elmo stickers and a new teddy bear. Not to mention Dino Dan on the TV, which had been airing Lily’s favorite Nick Jr. shows the entire time.
We returned home to Marc and a homemade pizza, and after a quick dinner, she collapsed against me in her bed.
I didn’t cry until I got into my own bed hours later. The adrenaline crash and immediate fatigue sent me into a deep sleep.
I hope we never have to see the inside of another emergency room ever again. But I know as I type this, the universe laughs. At least with each experience comes more wisdom, right?