Two weeks ago tomorrow, I was changing 14 month-old Graham on our very high bed, and I turned to grab the wipes. He fell off the bed, hitting his head on the nightstand on the way down. I picked him up and he looked fine, until he turned his head. On his beautiful, perfect forehead was a 1-inch gash, pushed in, with blood streaming down his face. "Out is good, in is bad," I remembered a nurse told us once regarding head injuries. "SCOTTTT!" Scott was bathing the two middles but came running. "I'M TAKING HIM TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM!" I yelled. Scott got my keys, an extra diaper, my purse, made me take a few deep breaths, and let me go.
I burst through the emergency room doors and ran over to the nurses station, with both of us crying. The nurses quickly... turned their heads with no visible change of expression or large body movements, then... turned back to what they were doing. ER has a lot to answer for regarding my emergency room expectations.
I ran over to the admission desk where the grandmotherly lady there said, "OH! This baby needs to be triaged!" Thank you. A little companionable panic is all I ask. She sent me right into the triage room.
After a few minutes of crying and rocking Graham, a nurse came in. "Let's see, you hurt your head, and Mommy is very upset. Let's just cover that with gauze so it doesn't upset Mommy so much." Oh please, you think covering his gaping head wound with a bit of gauze is going to--oh, that is much better.
The nurse took our information then sent us back to register while they prepared a room. After registering with the nice, grandmotherly lady who calmed me down a bit, we were sent to our little cubicle.
We waited and I cried and nursed and cried and rocked and wished I could have that moment back to do over again. Another nurse came in saying she would be taking care of us. "So, I hear you hit your head and your Mommy is very upset!"
Okay. Now, I wasn't tearing my hair out and rending my garments, I was just silently crying. I'm sure they see everything in the ER, but... isn't it more unusual if the parent isn't upset? (My friend who works in the hospital proper: "Yes. That's when we call CYS.") Yet apparently the news of hysterical mommy with baby had already made the rounds. Awesome.
She put some sort of numbing agent on Graham's head and he was able to fall asleep. The doctor came in and looked at the cut and said he needed stitches. He didn't say anything about checking for concussion, so I asked if we should be worried about that because of the height of the fall and force of the hit. Doctor: "OK, we'll order a CT scan." Dude! I just wanted you to check his pupils or something. But now I feel like I can't refuse. That bill is going to be fun.
He slept through the CT scan, and then we went back to our little room to wait for the doctor. And I tried to be rational about why I was so upset. I've been here with my other children for injuries and life-threatening allergic reactions for pete's sake. Why was I coming unglued? Yes, he's the baby, but I think there's more to it. For me it goes back to how his birth story almost had an unthinkable ending. And it's not just me who thinks so My OB often sees my parents at various social events, and he always asks them about the baby first, my parents always thank him, and he always says, "It wasn't me. It was God." He talks about his concern and how he went into the next room to pray before delivering Graham and how never in his career had he seen anything quite like that. Graham is our miracle baby, and I SCARRED HIM FOR LIFE.
When it was time to do the stitches, the nurse explained the procedure and then told, did not ask, me that I was going to wait in the waiting room. I didn't argue. Sitting waiting for Graham while I listened to him scream was terrible. Just awful. Then the nurse came through the door carrying him and said, "He needs you." Wow. If that was supposed to be comforting it sure missed the mark. I KNOW he needs me. YOU kicked me out.
We got our discharge information and went home, where Graham played with Daddy for a bit like nothing was wrong.
Now the stitches are out and the scar is healing. He's fine, and I'm getting there. This parenting thing is a hard gig, sometimes. I'm sorry, Graham.