Thursday, January 07, 2010


In 8 1/2 years, we've had 5 kids and only 4 visits to the ER--2 of them this year.

Pretty good stats, right?

One visit was because 2-year-old Anda put her finger in a metal broom and got it stuck there on the shards of metal.

One visit was precautionary after we were rear-ended while driving home late one night, when Dan was a tiny baby.

One visit was when we discovered Dan was having a SEVERE allergic reaction to walnuts last August.

The last visit was tonight. It was our first set of stitches.

Benji (did you have to ask?) was spinning around in the living room and fell down, landing on something. I had just cleaned the living room with Tim (I know, a miracle that I was involved in the process!), so there were literally 3 things on the floor--a box of cds and two power sources/motors for desktop computers that I was evaluating for swapping into Caleb's desktop, which has a short (and that is more my type of project). I think he probably hit one of the motors, but I can't be sure.

Anyway, he came crying into the kitchen with a hole in his diaper. So I pulled the diaper off and saw what looked like a really deep gash in his left buttock. Like I could see many layers of tissue--not just cut skin. So within 5 minutes Tim dropped me and Benji, wrapped only in a blanket, off at the ER (which, conveniently, is just around the corner and was empty).

Benji had stopped crying by the time we got there, and by the time they were weighing him in triage (where he only consented to be weighed because I promised him the scale would show him some numbers, and it did), he was cheerfully running around, buck naked, pushing buttons and bouncing.  One of the nurses said, "That is the cutest little injury I've ever seen!" It was a little half-inch red line on his bum--gaping, but not too bad. Obviously didn't stop him from doing his thing.

So they took us into the "room" in the ER, and a nurse and doctor came in. The nurse chased Benji around and around, trying to tape some gauze over Benji's cut while Benji ran, dodging under chairs and through small spaces, screaming "no no no!" until the blood was pouring down his leg (when it hadn't been bleeding almost at all by the time we got in there). The nurse finally succeeded at taping his cut, and he just ripped the gauze and tape right off again and then calmed right now.

"I think...." the doctor started, and I said, "Last time he was in, for his surgery, they had to sedate him in order to put him out."  "Yeah," the doctor said. "I don't think he'll take an IV, though." I laughed as Benji darted around, wiggling and touching everything.  "No," I agreed. "But they squirted something in his mouth last time."  "I think I'll give him a shot," she said.

And then they left.

And Benji and I sat there for half an hour. Okay, I sat. For a minute. Benji was all over the place. He pushed the emergency button no less than 6 times and hung up on Tim when I called in to report at least once. He identified every shape in the room ("Oh, look, mommy! Diamonds!"), and every letter in the room. He washed his hands three times. Wiped my  nose twice. Opened and shut the curtains half a dozen times and tried to open the sliding glass doors but failed (mercifully). He found the alternative emergency button and pushed that. He begged me to turn Elmo on the blood pressure machine (which looked like a TV to him) even though he NEVER watches Elmo (but the hospital's diapers had Elmo on them). He begged me to turn Elmo on the computer, too. He turned the lights on and off and on and off and on and off, and climbed in and out of the bed, laying down and tucking up and pretending to sleep for about 10 seconds each time. He put on the "jacket" and took it off and put it on and had me tie it--in the front, of course--and thought he was pretty cool (even though he wouldn't put the hospital gown on half an hour before for the triage nurse!). He laughed and chatted and, after about 25 minutes, started telling me his bum hurt.

Then the doctor came back in and brought with her our nurse, and another nurse, and a lady who was in charge of watching Benji's breathing, and a couple other people to hold him down. Two shots--one in each leg at the same time. One put him to sleep (sort of--they called it awake sedation), the other prevented the first from creating so much mucous in his airways that he would choke while he was sleeping.

And then he got 3 stitches. And the doctor and nurses made jokes about him being a butt model with a cute little scar.

And then spent over half an hour trying to wake up. He threw up, ate a popsicle, and then insisted on WALKING out of there even though he could scarcely sit up by himself!

So I carried him to the waiting area and he staggered down the hall like a drunk man saying, "Whoa! WHOA!" and throwing his little arms out like he was trying to stop the world from spinning. He was still naked except for his diaper. The technician at the desk turned a cartoon on for him so he would stop trying to walk around--he had several near misses before we even left the hospital!

Then Tim came and picked us up.

Benji fell asleep a couple of time, threw up again, tried to play nintendo unsuccessfully (since he couldn't quite manage sitting up still) and finally fell asleep.

It was quite an adventure.

The "care" caused him a great deal more trauma than the injury did, even with the staff being very considerate of Benji's fear of bandaids and stickers and his need to do everything by himself at his own pace and understanding.

But all is well that ends well.

At least, I hope it ends well. They couldn't use dissolving stitches because they are prone to infections and, his bum being still be-diapered, they couldn't take that risk. So we have to get those stitches out in a week, and I'm not sure how that will go.


Heather said...

I'm still laughing.
Is that ok?

Becca Jones said...

It's okay to laugh. Benji is a funny guy.

The only thing that makes me pause about the whole situation was that half-way through the stitching, the hospital staff noticed red marks on Benji's forehead--they thought maybe the lights were too hot. But they were the kind of marks he gets on his face when he screams, not when he's hot. I think maybe he was aware even though he was unable to move, and that makes me sad.