The Birthday of the Emergency Room

This morning was just like any other morning.  It was a Tuesday, Macy had already gotten picked up by her ride to school and I was getting in the process of getting everyone else dressed for the day.  Selah was playing in her room and Jeff was on his way out the door.  Jeanette had offered to take me birthday shopping, so I was in a pretty good mood.  Until I heard Kate cry.

She had tripped and fallen right on to the frame on the bottom of our bed.  She had a cut right above her left eye that was bleeding.  I took one look at it and knew our entire day had changed.

I scooped her up and got an ice pack and a paper towel.  She was screaming and didn’t want to be put down.  I called Jeanette and told her that Kate had fallen, probably needed stitches, and that we were headed to the emergency room.  She said she would get in her car.  I love that woman.

Selah and Kate were in their pajamas, so I grabbed two sets of clothes and shoes.  We got there about 8 am, but of course, it was already packed with people.  After checking in, we settled in to watch Disney Junior on their television (at least there was that) and wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.

When we got into the room, Jeanette arrived armed with snacks and sticker books.  The doctor came in and looked at her eye and recommended surgical glue.  She felt that it would heal nicely and would be less traumatic than stitches.  I was worried that she was taking the easy way out – but after Jeff and Jeanette both questioned her about stitches versus glue – we were ready to try out the glue.

Holding down your child while they are in pain is never a pleasant experience, but fortunately it was over relatively quickly and her eye was all glued and taped up.  After several instructions – don’t bathe for 24 hours, don’t touch it at all for at least 2-3 hours, do NOT let her take the tape off or peel the glue for a WEEK – we finally left.  I did ask the question – how am I supposed to keep her off of it for an entire week? – but there wasn’t a real answer, except just to re-tell me not let her take off the tape or peel the glue.  I thought it would hurt and so she’d leave it alone.  And for the rest of the day, she did.  Even sleeping on it that night didn’t really seem to bother her.

So the next day (my birthday), Jeanette offered again to take me shopping for a new pair of jeans.  She even bought me a coffee to celebrate.  Kate took a good nap that day, I picked up all the girls and was ready for a birthday dinner with my in-laws and Jeff.  We ate, we got free dessert and we left in two cars since Jeff had met us there from work.  I was feeling pretty good – it was still early enough to give the girls a bath and read books before bed.

Until I got out of the car, walked around the side where Kate sits and went to take her out of the car.

Her eye was completely red and the tape that was keeping her wound so carefully closed was entirely missing.

“Oh, no.  Oh, no.  Oh, no.”

I grabbed my phone and called Jeff.  “Kate’s pulled off the tape.  I don’t know what to do.”

He said, “I’ll be right there.”

We both kept looking at it and thought it might be best to call a doctor friend of ours.  I knew that without looking at it himself, it would be difficult to know what to do, but I needed to ask someone.  He told me that if I thought the wound had re-opened, it would be best to go back to the emergency room.  I did NOT want to go back, but I didn’t know what else to do.  How would I sleep at night without knowing – one way or the other – if I should have it re-glued/stitched/re-taped?

So I strapped Kate back in the car and called Jeanette (albeit tearfully), telling her that Kate and I were headed back to the ER.  She said, “I’m getting in my car.”

Did I mention that she is amazing?

It’s rare in life that you have such a clear sense of deja vu, but that night I clearly did.  We got checked-in the same way and waited in the same waiting room (now playing High School Musical).  So much waiting.

After getting back into the room, I felt nervous waiting for the doctor.  What if she had to get stitches this time?  What if he had to re-glue the wound?  What if the scar would be bigger now?

He came in and looked at her eye and then chuckled a bit when I told him how the other doctor and nurse asked me not to let her touch the tape.  “She’s a year old!” he said, “how are you going to stop her from touching it?”

I felt much better.

He said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea to re-glue it or stitch it because the wound would get infected.  And that it still looked okay – even though she had ripped off the tape, most of the glue was still in tact.  He told me to leave it alone and that the less stuff I put on it, the less she would probably mess with it.

So, after signing a bunch of paperwork, we headed back home.  It was definitely a birthday I’ll never forget.  And not necessarily something I would like to relive.

Playing outside the afternoon after the first ER visit –


Apparently, the boo boo wasn’t slowing her down much.

Happy birthday to me.  Here’s hoping next year’s birthday will be uneventful and emergency room-free.


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