The other night I was being a lazy parent and I got punished for it.
I heard the kids jumping on their bed, something my husband and I have pleaded with them tirelessly not to do, and I also heard some good old-fashion rough-housing between boys. I was lying in bed watching the news, too exhausted from the day’s events to do anything more than say in an in-audible tone to please stop screwing around.
“Ah, well,” I thought, “Bed-time is fast approaching. Ten minutes of that and they should be good and tired.” No such luck.
Then I heard a howl and high pitched siren that I thought was coming from some cat being skinned alive outside. I finally realized it was my 6 year old but didn’t get off the bed right away. You see, he sometimes makes those sounds of torture when his older brother picks up a certain “off limits” stuffed animal or sticks his tongue out at him, so the drama I’m used to. But then I heard my 11 year old son, sounding scared and alarmed, “Dad, come quick, G is really hurt.”
Quickly, I was awakened back from my dream state into full triage mode when I discovered what happened. I went into my older son’s bedroom, saw my little guy holding his head — blood everywhere. Lots of blood. My younger son was screaming in pitches that were inhuman, sobbing, “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!”
Next, my husband comes in already insisting that everything is fine. (If G were found holding a severed foot in his hand, my husband would insist that a band-aid would fix it.)
The evidence from the amount of blood was all I needed to know that this wasn’t a band-aid moment. We went into fast forward, high energy mode, our adrenalin pumping. We changed the poor kid into clean clothes, stripped the bed and had him lean over the bathtub as I poured water over the poor kid’s blood drenched head only to discover a pretty nasty gash on his head. No explanation needed; a wrought iron head-board + two boys wresting and jumping = tangible war injury.
We all got dressed and headed to the ER when — in my husband’s infinite wisdom he suggested that just one of us go with G because H, his older brother, was in distress mode and there was no point having us all huddle in an ER and not get any sleep. G picked me. He said he was so sleepy, all he wanted to do was sleep, but I knew better. Sleep was not going to be the cards over the next few hours.
So, we got to the ER. A full ER. Almost every chair was taken. There were a few people sitting with ice packs on their hands, some with them on their knees, indicating some sort of bone injury or sprain. They got seen right away. There were small children throwing up, they hardly waited and many if not most, who looked as if they were there to simply get a check-up or flu shot who also got seen right away.
Thirty minutes passed and we weren’t even acknowledged again after we first checked in. I had to ask at the front desk when my son was going to be seen. The girls at the front desk seemed more annoyed that I interrupted their gossip session than with caring for my son. They sighed and sent a nurse out who said, “Yeah, that’s going to need staples.”
The nurse put some numbing ointment on the gash and wrapped his head up like a mummy. To my surprise G went to sleep on the most uncomfortable chairs in the universe, oblivious to the ER noise and infectious diseases that surrounded him. The nurse said that the ointment would take 30 minutes to take effect. Thirty minutes later, I decided to remind the nurse that G has was ready to be seen, but they had other plans. He said not to worry about it, it would last up to 3 hours while we watched every person being called, while continuously being passed up.
We waited 4 hours to be seen! In that time I witnessed 3 full Emergency room’s full of people that had come and gone. I was furious!
“Are you serious?!? You can’t find one single physician to staple up a little boys head as he lay here with a laceration?” I bitched.
The nurse told me, that the reason that all those other people were seen and not my son is because they had minor problems, which actually grant them the luxury of being seen first and that my son was critical so he had to see an actual doctor.
Apparently, the minor problem people actually wind up seeing nurses and because the doctor’s are busy with people who have been shot and stabbed, little boys with gashes in their head go to the bottom of list.
Finally, at 2 am, 4 hours after we got there, G got 6 staples in his head. I was so proud because he whimpered and cried just a little and then he broke my heart when he said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t brave.” But he was so brave. The nurse gave him a popsicle and he seemed to be fully delighted with the whole ordeal. He’s easy impressed I guess.
So, 6 staples later and a $100 popsicle later, I hope to never relive that experience again.
Anybody else with stories about kids and the ER?
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