There are a couple ways to go when you find yourself at 7pm on a Sunday evening not reading bedtime stories to your freshly bathed children but, instead, sitting in the ER with the whole family, your husband repeating insurance information to the triage nurse, the 5 year-old sitting next to you, taking it all in stride, his nose buried in a cookbook, and the 2 year-old on your lap, wrapped in a blanket, his nose and mouth obscured by the wad of paper towels and tissue that you’re pressing against his face to stop the bleeding.
So, I decided to count my blessings.
- The hospital is a 5-minute drive from our house.
- We didn’t get into an accident on our 3-minute drive to the hospital.
- We were in the ER on New Year’s Eve eve, not New Year’s Eve.
- No lost or broken teeth, no broken nose, no injury to his eyes or head, and the bookshelf he collided with didn’t fall on top of him.
- An ER doctor who’s the mother of 4 herself, and could explain, from personal experience, the varying, sometimes a little upsetting, reactions children have to the sedative they wanted to administer to Eli, and how it feels for a mother to witness them.
- A sedative and pain killer in one dose, rather than two different drugs.
- So few children in the hospital over Christmas that the ER had a stash of picture books, one of which a nurse gave to Eli.
- A waiting room television playing The Sound of Music.
- A friend who could come on no notice to hang at our house with Ben, so that Tony could take him home and then return to hold Eli’s (and my) hand through his stitches.
- The distracting power of a silly book, useful for mama (concentrating hard on keeping her voice steady) and son.
- A hospital big enough to have pediatric plastic surgeons available on Sunday night.
- No scary reactions to the sedative. Instead, as he came out of it, Eli happily hallucinated that he was on the train going to the zoo: hissing oxygen mask = steam; pulse-ox light = headlight; heart and blood pressure monitor cords = bell and whistle cords.
And now, 12 stitches from lip to nose, healing nicely, and a pretty good story to tell.