Monday, September 30, 2013

A Trip to the ER


Our idyllic trip had a rather rough start.  As we descended into the Akron Canton Airport, my youngest started screaming.  The boys had been fighting about whether the arm rest should be up or down for most of the flight and I glanced over and saw that my little one had lost this particular battle.  I told my oldest to leave him alone and that's when I noticed the blood all over my baby's hands.  

I ripped him out of his seatbelt despite the glaring eyes of the flight attendant and tried to find the source of the bleeding.  Finally, my youngest held up his finger and said through tears, "Cut Mama!  There Mama!"  The tip of his pointer finger was gushing blood much faster than I had ever seen from a kid injury.  I blanked.  Totally and completely blanked.  And then I panicked.  "Honey!  It's really bad!  He's bleeding really badly!" I wailed to my always calm husband.  "Okay.  It's okay.  Let's put pressure on it," he said. Yes, pressure.  That's right.  I grabbed wipes out of desperation and held them against his finger.  He yelped and I realized the chemicals in the wipe probably stung his open wound.  We tried to call the flight attendant but they have to remain seated during landing and they offered no assistance.  I just rocked my screaming baby doing my best to slow down the bleeding.

My oldest, meanwhile, was doing anything to change the subject.  "Look at the clouds!  We're going through them!  Isn't this awesome!" he said with hopeful eyes.  "I don't want to hear a thing from you right now," I told him sternly.  I was so mad at him.  Madder than I think I've ever been.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I wanted him to feel bad.  I wanted him to understand the gravity of the situation.

An EMT was sitting behind us and he checked the wound.  "That's definitely going to need stitches," he said.  You should get him to the hospital when you land."  My heart sunk.  I had been hoping it was just a surface wound and that I was overreacting.  I hoped that we could just stick a band-aid on it and be done with it.  No dice.  "Luke, what happened?  How did he get hurt?" I asked my oldest.  He explained that his brother had stuck his finger in a hole (missing a screw) in the armrest and when he had put it down, it sliced his finger open.  "But it was just an accident!" he said.

We landed and as we walked toward the gates, I started to feel guilty.  I felt guilty for not watching and somehow preventing this crazy injury.  But I felt the most guilty for being hard on my oldest.  And so I told him.  "Honey, I know it was an accident.  Accidents happen.  I hurt my sister plenty of times by accident growing up.  I'm very sorry I was hard on you.  Let's use this as an opportunity to learn.  You learn to be more careful with his safety.  I'll learn to be more understanding when it's an accident.  Deal?"  I asked him with a still shakey voice.  "Deal!" he said.

In the end, we got right into an ER with a wonderful pediatric unit and walked out with eight stitches.  The cut was almost to the bone but my baby took the whole process in stride.  In some ways, he handled it better than his mama did.  I sat in that hospital room thinking about all the mom's and dad's that were there for much more serious things.  Things that can't be fixed with a few stitches and a band-aid.  My husband and I said a quick prayer for them and thanked God for the safety of our sons. It only takes a moment for something to change and sometimes, although it's scary, it's good to be reminded.

How do you handle injuries that siblings inflict?  Are you quick to forgive?  

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