Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Injury

If there is one thing that I have taken an unhealthy and unwarranted pride in, it's the fact that my kids have each only had one trip to the ER. They were babies. They had a paranoid Mommy who thought breathing was essential.

Jackson had croup at age 18 months. He woke up in the middle of the night with the barky cough. Now, the advantage of having become a mother in my very late thirties, is that I had lived through enough parenting stories over coffee with friends and colleagues. So I knew the best way to widen airways on a croupy baby was to get them into a) steamy bathroom or b) the cool night air.  We did that. But the cough sounded barky and wet.  Not the typical barky dry coupy cough. I freaked out.

And called 9-1-1.

By the time the ambulance was there, the cool night air had done its magic.  We went to the ER anyway for a nebulizer treatment and some steroids.

Sydney started erratic breathing at 6 months. Six months exactly. I know because that was the night we introduced her to non rice cereal.  In this house, for babies have a diet of breast milk till 4 months. Rice cereal is added into the mix until 6 months. Then at 6 months, we started adding other foods.

So, in my paranoid mother fashion, I imagined that Sydney had the rare barley allergy. Husband was out for the evening and I was left home with an inconsolable Sydney.  And she was usually quite consolable.  Just before Husband walking in the door, Sydney started funky breathing.  Even Husband had to admit it sounded bad.

This time, I realized that it was faster to drive to the hospital myself as we lived in a hidden cul-de-sac and by the time an ambulance would find us, we could have driven to the ER three times over. 

Sydney obliged me in doing her funky breathing twice more for the triage nurse, just so she didn't think I was completely crazy. But she didn't do it again so when four hours later we finally saw an ER doc all I could say was "really, the triage nurse heard it too" as we were ushered out the door.

Until last night we have avoided trips to the ER for potential stitches or broken bones that is common in the school-aged set.  I attributed that to my kids natural physical timidity (they don`t generally climb stuff until they are well able).  And a slight bit of paranoia on my part.

Yesterday, it had been a tough day.  But the kids had evened out in the afternoon. By the time Husband came home, things were good.  I picked up take-out Asian food from a new place.  Husband and I had planned to putz around getting some things done around the house.

Husband was unpacking my new computer. You know, setting up, untangling wires.  Jackson was in the office with him asking the expected questions. "Why does Mommy get the new high tech computer? Why can't I have it?"

While he asked these questions he was on the elliptical trainer not six feet away.  I used to have strict rules about children not being within six  feet of that thing. But we (I) have lessened the paranoia about that.  Incorrectly, as it turned out.

We actually like Jackson to go on the elliptical on rainy days. He needs to burn some energy and he will be utterly exhausted after 20 minutes.  In retrospect, I should have made a rule about not being on the elliptical in bare feet.

Somehow, while peppering Husband with questions, Jackson slipped. Husband was right there and we know not exactly how it happened.  The next thing Husband knew, Jackson is sitting on the couch holding his foot with blood trickling onto the (thankfully black leather) couch. 

Husband assessed the situation.  There was a puncture wound. And a scrape.  He put some gauze and band aids on and carried him downstairs to where Sydney and I were hanging out.

Though Jackson did not appear to be in too much pain upstairs, once downstairs, the pain had increased. His foot was swelling. And we could now see that the scape was a major point of contact and swelling.  And another deeper cut had become evident on his baby toe.

Jackson, who feels both pain and joy intensely, appeared to be either passing a kidney stone or birthing a baby.   Based on his pain level, we thought a bone might be broken.  We also wanted the deeper baby toe cut looked at. 

So to the ER we went.

I was so impressed with how every person dealt with Jackson. When we first arrived he was in a great deal of pain and he was treated with patience and about the right amount of humour.  Granted, when the doctor was cleaning the wound, it might not have been the best idea to give Jackson the 2 liter bottle of disinfectant without a lid 'as a distraction'.   Because, that stuff stings when it goes on.

But as soon as the ibuprofen kicked in, he was a different boy.  He felt well enough to fixate on where the grown up vision testing chart might be since from his vantage point he could only see the kid one (with pictures instead of letters), to worry about the blood on the sheets and how they would ever get them clean and to muse out loud repeatedly why the person in the next curtained cubicle was so quiet. 

In the end, the deeper cut was sealed with the new-fangled crazy glue.  The x rays revealed no broken bones.  We were sent home with the foot cleaned, dressed and with strict instructions keep a clean sock over the dressing, to change the dressing in 4 days and not to get it wet for 7 to 10 days.

Jackson took quite seriously the doctor`s directions and solemnly repeated them for his sister and Daddy when we got home. 

So as I tucked him into bed, I told him about the additional instructions:

1. Brush your teeth WELL (like more than 5 seconds) twice a day.
2. Eat 12 portions of vegetables and fruits every day.
3. Keep your room clean.
4. Listen to your parents.
5. Give lots of cuddles to your mother.

We had a small laugh about that.  Which is good because we`re going to need a sense of humour for the next week.  I have never had to deal with a slightly immobile Jackson.  He can hobble around, but he normally walks. A lot. Like paces.  I don`t know what kind of caged animal he`s going to be.

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