Friday, December 02, 2011

I scarred my baby

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.


  1. Annnnd, I am crying reading this. Because I can almost feel how horrible that was for you guys and would be for me. Scooter is just 2 months older, you know.

    So glad everything is fine. So glad. He is ok. :)

  2. Aw, I'm sorry! E.R. staff are so jaded. I wouldn't give it a second thought. Max has a scar next to his eye from where he hit the changing table at about the same age. When they glued it, they said it wouldn't leave a scar. Ummhmm! Adds character though! CT scans are $1100 here, but it was probably worth it for the peace of mind. I'm glad he checked out OK!

  3. This is so, so, SO funny. Favorite parts:

    1. "ER has a lot to answer for regarding my emergency room expectations."

    2. "Thank you. A little companionable panic is all I ask."

    3. "Oh please, you think covering his gaping head wound with a bit of gauze is going to--oh, that is much better."

    And also so, so aggravating. "Talking to the child in order to communicate criticism to the mother" is one of my LEAST FAVORITE THINGS IN THE WORLD. And then kicking you out followed by summoning you back in! URRRGGGGGGGG.

  4. And, Dairy free diner just gave me a heart attack. Peace of mind... peace of mind...

  5. Oh, I am so glad he's ok. There are always moments that we wish we could just do-over. ER visits are always crazy, strange experiences.

  6. Aieee. How very scary. I once took my youngest into ER because he wouldn't stop crying (he was one) and it turned out to be a double ear infection. But because I hadn't slept for two days at this point, I just became hysterical and wouldn't stop crying. The hospital staff thought there was something wrong with me and asked if I was abused at home. Um, no. Just really tired.

    If it's any consolation, a scar will make him look all tough and cool...

    I just went back and re-read that birth story and it gave me such a chill. What a blessing. How very fortunate.

  7. Oh! Oh oh oh! I'm so sorry you had to go through that! I hate hospitals and ERs and doctors and honestly, I'm not sure anyone who has not been in that situation understands, not even the people who see it a lot. Argh.

  8. Ugh that is SO SCARY and I'm so sorry that happened! We...umm...let Adriana roll off the couch when she was 6 weeks old (WE DIDNT THINK SHE COULD ROLL!!!) and we are still traumatized. And I am definitely a "better safe than sorry" person when it comes to things like CT scans. Glad he's fine!

  9. Aww :( So sad to read about this! I hate that they kicked you out!
    Try Mederma for the scar, it'll fade over time! :)

  10. Oh Sarah...I'm so glad he is ok. ER staff needs to be a bit more compassionate. I was kicked out of the room when Lucy was a baby having a spinal tap because I couldn't keep it together, and that just made it so much worse. I hope you write them a strong worded letter.

  11. Oh my gosh, this is horrifying! I'm so glad it had a happy ending. And I'm so IRRITATED BY PROXY at the nurses and their condescension. Competent concern and compassionate reassurance are the only things nurses (and doctors) should convey to patients!

    (Why yes, I DO expect a little much from people.)

  12. Grr, there probably would have been ER tech casualties if I'd been there. Head wounds bleed like crazy and they could have been a little more understanding. Penny pulled a rotary cutter onto her head last Oct and it bled like crazy. Thankfully it didn't need stitches but I can relate your panic. Hugs to you both!

  13. Oh dear =(! It would be SUCH A GREAT THING if people who work in the Emergency Room could actually be NICE to the people they are taking care of (and the person who brought them in), especially when it IS an actual emergency! *sympathetic hug* Poor YOU! I'm sure you are much more traumatized than he is; I hope YOU feel better soon!

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.