Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

I should start off by saying that I think the whole idea that because Finn is a boy we are destined to lots of accidents, stitches, broken limbs, etc is totally not cool. Not cool, but (let's face it) still very true. Just about anyone who has ever met my son knows he's... um, active. He lives to climb trees, walls, bookcases, dressers, dollhouses, etc. My son looks at everything in terms of "Can I scale it?" or "Can I demolish it?" or "Can I build something, scale it and then demolish it?"

Just this past Monday I was telling friends that I'm of the mind that he needs to fall a few times and learn that he's not invincible, and that maybe then he'd quit climbing. Other people watch him do what he loves best and I can see them having internal freak outs. Daniel and I, on the other hand just shake our heads and let him have at it. It's not that we want him to get hurt, we were just kind of indifferent to it. We were waiting for the inevitable and there was no sense getting ourselves worked up every time he nearly had an accident. If I'd allowed myself to stress as much as others do, I might live my entire life fearful of the trouble my kids may or may not get themselves into.

All the climbing caught up with Finnegan Tuesday. He was climbing up the side of the bench in our kitchen so he could eat his "after nap snack"with Zoe. He wasn't moving especially fast and he wasn't doing anything he hasn't done dozens of times a day for the last year or more, but he was up kind of high and lost his footing. I saw it happen and rushed from the sink to the table to help, but I wasn't fast enough and he smacked his eye on the edge of the table before I could catch him. There was instantly a lot of screaming and crying and blood. After I'd scooped him up into my arms, applied pressure with the nearest cloth napkin to try to stop the bleeding and simultaneously attempted to calm a worried Zoe, I grabbed my phone and started making arrangements.

Daniel got a text: "Please come home Finn cut eyebrow"

The pediatricians office got a call telling them Finn had cut his brow open and that it was bleeding so much, I wanted them to see it. They said they'd see us in fifteen minutes. That was enough time to quickly change his diaper, grab his juice and then load up the kids. I called Daniel from the car and asked him to meet us down the street at Zoe's preschool so we could all drive together.

Zoe tried to calm Finn from the moment he got hurt. She told him he would be OK, that she and Mommy would take care of him. She tried singing all the songs to him that I sing to her when she is upset. When he continued to shriek and scream and cry, she suggested I just let him eat his jello like he had wanted. She told him the doctor would help him, she told him she hoped he wouldn't need a shot.

When the nurse saw Finn, she immediately said he'd need stitches. One of the doctors at the practice came in and confirmed stitches were needed, but he wanted the kids regular doctor to confirm since she was the one who normally did sutures. Before we knew it we had our doctor and five nurses in the exam room staring at Finn and agreeing that the boy needed stitches and that he needed to go to the ER to get them since he'd need sedation. They emphatically told us, "Do NOT let them talk you into glue! He needs stitches!" I was a little bit shocked because I'd half expected them to tell us it was just a surface cut and that I'd rushed us all in for nothing. I'd sort of imagined everyone laughing at the crazy mom who had always been so nonchalant about her sons escapades and now she thought a scratch was cause for going to the doctor. I briefly felt validated because I'd recognized that this cut deserved attention. And then I realized we had a long stay in the ER ahead of us so being right suddenly sucked.

I think we felt a little relieved when we saw only a few other people waiting in the ER to be seen. But our sense of humor and calmness became less present as our stay grew longer. We'd gone through triage quickly, but because Finn's doc said he needed stitches and sedation, we were kicked to the bottom of the list. We watched dozens of people come and go. People who were obviously very sick and people who looked healthy by comparison. It was frustrating, but we were grateful to not be there under worse circumstances. We waited 4 and a half hours before we were taken in back.

The first nurse to see Finn once we were in the actual emergency room told us he wouldn't need stitches, just glue - and I nearly lost it. "No. His pediatrician saw him and was emphatic we get him sedation and stitches." After talking with the ER doctor we decided to go ahead with the glue. Partly because he made us feel silly for wanting to listen to our doctor when he said he sees cases like this every day and he felt we should do the glue instead... but mostly, we were tired and the idea of sedating Finn and putting him through the stress of getting stitches, having them removed a few days later and then scarring his eyelid indefinitely sounded very unappealing. So they wrapped him up in a sheet like a little burrito so he couldn't thrash about, and they carefully applied three coats of the dermaglue to his eyelid. He stayed still and calmly listened to me sing to him and then we were done. Easy.

As we were waiting to be signed out, we watched as a team of nurses, doctors and a paramedic escorted a newborn to an ambulance to be transported to another hospital. She was tiny and swaddled up and I could see from the faces of the people walking with her that she was very sick. I wondered what was wrong with her and I thought about her parents - I assumed they would give anything to be in our shoes... sitting with an otherwise healthy toddler who'd gotten a cut from climbing. I imagined that 6 hours in an ER wouldn't have phased them because their baby was there and they knew worse things could happen. I thought of the little girl we'd seen in the waiting room who might have been 9 months (but no more) who's parents cussed (too much) when they were talking to her and each other, called her a brat repeatedly and when she was fussing asked her if she'd like one of them to give her an "attitude adjustment". At the end of the day, our experience in the ER wasn't ideal - but we were leaving happy and healthy and maybe even more aware about how lucky we are to have our little family, each other and good friends and family who love us and are there for us when we need them.

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