Sunday, January 23, 2011
Yesterday afternoon, Conan dove face first into the hard wooden arm rest of a futon at a friend's house. It was over before any of the adults in the room even saw it coming. We tried to clean it up as best we could, but Conan was NOT inclined to cooperate. We didn't know if his nose was broken, or just cut, and either way he wouldn't let us apply any pressure to stop the bleeding, so I decided we needed to head to the ER. Cary was called and left home to meet us there.
Coming into the emergency room with a screaming bloody toddler gets attention. We were quickly moved into a private triage room. Conan cried and cried and cried. He did not want anyone to look at his owie. He did not want a hospital ID bracelet. He did not want to be weighed. He DEFINITELY did not want any topical anesthetic applied to his nose. He didn't even want a sticker.
Hardened ER Trauma nurses were wincing and covering their ears from his shrieks and wails. I was nearly in tears myself.
Eventually we made it through the initial evaluation, and were moved to a treatment room where we met with the Doctor. The anesthetic was taking effect, so Conan had calmed down a bit, but he still wasn't willing to let anyone examine the wound closely. The Doc was pretty sure the nose wasn't broken, and just as sure that cleaning and stitching was going to require sedation.
The sedation required a respiratory specialist, and Conan had to have an IV. It took four of us to get the IV in him - not because of the needle, but because of the tape and soft bandage they wrapped over the IV on his wrist. THAT really freaked him out. He struggled madly to try and rip it off, nearly succeeding. Eventually he calmed down and they were able to start giving him the Ketamine.
He was so keyed up that it required 3x the expected dose to sedate him.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he was sedated and the doctor was able to clean and examine the wound. Then he was ready for the stitches. They placed a white paper cover over Conan with a 4 inch circle cut out through which the Doc would work. Somehow, that was too much for me. Seeing my baby disappear behind that white sheet, with only his bloody little nose showing, made me feel light headed, nauseous and weak in the knees. I had to go sit down.
Four stitches and a Snoopy band-aid later, it was all finished. A nurse stayed to monitor Conan as he slept off the Ketamine, but the Doctor and the respiratory specialist left. We were able to breathe and take stock of what we'd just been through. What an ordeal! Thank goodness that it was just a flesh wound, it makes me shudder to think - it could have been so much worse.
I also realized that I had been really afraid, in an irrational way, that coming to the ER was a mistake. I have a strange reluctance about the ER. When I was a kid, we were kind of poor and lived over an hour from the ER, with the result being that we only went if it was really, really, REALLY serious. Otherwise, Mom treated us at home, and then we went to the regular doctor a few days later if we needed follow-up care. So the whole time we were at the hospital yesterday, I was feeling a guilty sort of anxiety, that they were going to say I was over-reacting, that I should have been able to take care of Conan myself, that we really had no business burdening the ER with this little cut. And yet, it was unquestionably the right choice to take him there. Recognizing that this fear was completely unfounded was a good lesson for me.
We made it home a little after 5 pm, with a groggy, woozy and REALLY-happy-to-be-home little boy. We plunked him down on the couch and let him watch as many cartoons as he wanted. He ate a decent dinner and went to bed a little early. This morning he seems fine, there's very little bruising and swelling around his wound. We're going to stay home, take it easy, and count our blessings.