My nine year old had his first ride in an ambulance last week complete with the city firemen collaring him and then strapping him to a backboard.
He was being a typical boy, showing off for his friends at daycare. They were sitting on a truck-shaped structure made up of welded iron bars. Doodicus was sitting on one of the rungs and decided he could defy both gravity and his utter lack of physical prowess and threw his body back in a failed attempt at a backflip. In doing so, he cracked the back of his head on a lower rung and fell to the ground. When he put his hands to where he hit, he discovered he was bleeding. A lot.
His screaming brought the immediate attention of the staff member and director who were supervising the playground. Once Staff Member saw the damage, she had Director call 9-1-1. Director also called Sparring Partner who was just finishing up at work (this all happened shortly before 5:00 p.m.). Sparring Partner arrived minutes later in time to watch the emergency responders strap my son into the ambulance, which he followed to the hospital.
About that same time, I actually was heading home from work to relieve Grandma from Aitch’s clutches. I sat and talked to her and about 5:15 I remembered my phone was on vibrate and went to turn in up as S.P. always calls on his way home wondering what’s for supper or to ask if I need anything while he’s still in town. I saw that I had already missed his call and there was a message, but I didn’t bother listening. I just called him back. That’s when he told me he was in the ER with Doodicus because he had hit his head.
Of course my mother agreed to stay and watch Aitch while I sped back into town to the hospital, my car flashers on and hitting 90mph. Foolish really, because how would getting there three minutes sooner make anything better?
I found him in one of the ER’s trauma rooms, still strapped to the backboard with a band across his forehead and one across the neck brace. S.P. looked to be holding one of his hands, but he was actually cleaning the blood from his fingers. Doodicus was calm, but upon seeing me walk through the door, began crying again, tears squeezed from his eyes and down both sides of his head and into his ears. I picked up his free hand and held it in both of mine and asked him how he was. “I have to go to the bathroom,” he replied and I smiled back, relieved he was lucid.
Before I had arrived, the doctor had already confirmed Doodicus could move his feet and legs, grasp with his hands and his coordination appeared to be unhampered and had just left the room. The only pain he seemed to be experiencing was in the back of his head. I told the nurse that he had to void so they all came back in and carefully released him from the backboard and collar. He couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough, and while unsteady at first, he ambulated completely on his own with Sparring Partner at his elbow.
That’s when they finally had the chance to see what he’d done to his head. After carefully parting his thick hair, they saw the blood was coming from a 1.5 x 2cm wound from the back of his head. Not big at all, but heads and scalps bleed heavily. He would need staples to close it up.
No films were taken or deemed necessary. I still wonder if that was the better decision by the doctor, but it was obviously the right decision as Doodicus has had no resulting soreness. If anything made Doodicus anxious, it was the attempt to numb the wound, first with a topical and then the injections. The doctor (and the med student) had to excuse themselves after they finally numbed the site because Doodicus became hysterical and didn’t believe that he wouldn’t feel them STAPLING his HEAD!
I forgot to mention that Sparring Partner had left prior to the shots so that he could relieve my mom and let her drive home before it got too dark. It’s a good thing he wasn’t there as his patience would have been exhausted trying to convince Doodicus to just hold still long enough for the doctors to do their job so we could all go home. As it was, even I was getting short as he refused to follow instructions and flinched with every gesture towards his head. I’m an asshole mom. It’s easy to forget his needle-phobia and anxiety because I don’t have them; I wasn’t allowed the luxury by my parents. Need we refer back to the post where my dad pulled my teeth with farm pliers?
When the doctors returned (and Doodicus had calmed down again – about 20 minutes later), they told him they were just going to look again at the wound assuring him there were no staples involved. While the doctor parted his hair, the med student who was hiding the staple gun in his sleeve – literally – quickly *ka-chunk!* the first one into the scalp. By the time Doodicus realized what was going on and started freaking out again, the third one was in place and they were done.
It should be noted that before any of this took place, I had pulled aside the med student and told him NOT to mention shots or staples or stitches. Obviously he had either not told the doctor or the doctor pooh-poohed him thinking a nearly 10 year old boy who had injured himself showing off to his friends could easily handle the “fun” that is surgical staples to the back of the head.
I think Doodicus is healing well. I wouldn’t know since he pulls away with annoyance every time I try to look. He took antibiotics for several days and will have the stitches removed Wednesday by the pediatrician. He even woke up the day after the accident as chipper as ever and willing to go to school. Aside from having the nastiest hair from the antibiotic ointment and limited cleanliness, he is fine. He is also very, very lucky. WE are very, very lucky.