I just let myself write freely and completely uninhibited. I wanted to write the story down for Faith to have in the future before too many years pass and it gets exaggerated :) There are a few of my health care frustrations mentioned, although…I was pretty gentle :) I wrote this right after it happened and I already feel better. Mostly, I’m thankful for God’s protection over our sweet girl. I’m also thankful for helmets!
I’m sure ER visits are perfectly normal for some people, but not for us. We took only our second trip this week (first was for an asthma issue a few years ago) and it really stunk. All kinds of things go through your head when an emergency happens and they are not usually happy. I am very much a calm person when it comes to emergencies. I can usually always think clearly and act quickly. When our car was burning up on the side of the road, I called my husband and said something like, “Yeah. So our car is burning up on the side of the road. Yup. Just burning to the ground with our stuff in it”. No big deal. When my then 2 1/2-year-old decided it would be fun to swallow a rock. I was kind-of freaking out inside when he was turning purple and not breathing, but I did the Heimlich. Rock out. The End. So, when our full-size basketball hoop fell on Miss F on Sunday afternoon, I think I was as ready as I could be or was I?
I was inside but heard my husband saying, “Oh, man. Oh, man. Oh, man.” This usually means either something really gross, stinky, or just out of his comfort zone. I was definitely not prepared to see flesh hanging down the side of my daughter’s chin. It was pretty gnarly. My first thought is to stop the bleeding. When I told her I had to stop the bleeding, she wiped her hand on both sides of her face like she didn’t know what I was talking about. She didn’t know she was bleeding. This is bad. She’s in shock. She kept telling me her nose and forehead hurt. I put a rag on her face and decide to go immediately to the ER. I knew she’d need stitches no matter what, so I figured we’d settle the whole head injury side of things there. As soon as I took her upstairs, she went as pale as I’ve ever seen one of my children go and she shut her eyes and started going limp. It was all so fast. It felt like one of those moments in a movie when you know the person will have to make a decision on what to do next. Thankfully, it was made for me. She responded to my rousing her gently and I called for my husband and we headed to the ER. He doesn’t respond quite as well to emergencies, but we make a good team in the end.
She tried to fall asleep the whole way. When we got there, if she wasn’t falling asleep, she was staring into nothingness. She was as unresponsive as I’ve ever seen her. So scary. We got called back pretty quick thanks to a friend who works there who made a call to the charge nurse. I don’t feel badly about this considering the fact that SO many of the people who use our local ER s have no insurance whatsoever and I am in fact paying for their medical care with my tax dollars. It’s not a matter of being better, it’s simply the fact that this was 1 of 2 trips to use this facility in 7 years of being parents and I paid for the right to use it in an emergency. Just my personal opinion. Anyway, she started to perk up a bit and answered some questions. It would seem that no matter what she’s gone through, she loves to tell a good story. Everyone was pretty nice, although busy with others, including the guy a few beds over from the local prison who was apparently dying. What a contrast to a little girl with a medium level scooter-ing injury, huh?
They ordered a CT scan since she had a nose bleed and injuries to her face and forehead. I immediately thought about the 15 airport scanners I had managed to avoid the last few months and how all of that same radiation would go into her poor little body. SO, I did what I’m not very good at and I trusted a medical professional. I had to go in the room with her, lead vest and all (again thinking about those airport scanners) but who could leave a little 6-year-old alone to stare at scary red beams of light and listen to random beeping. Not this Mom. A long time later, the results came back and they found fluid in her inner ear, nasal passages. They apparently can’t tell whether it’s blood or spinal fluid so they simply opt to wait to see if she shows any more symptoms (i.e seizures :/) and they consulted a child specialist to read the scan. In the meantime, since this ER is not able to treat children, we got transferred to our local Children’s Hospital. Policy doesn’t allow for me to drive her there so they thought it would be best for me to pay someone to drive us…by ambulance. Very thoughtful. They make you feel like a bad parent for even suggesting that you could drive your child…like you had just done to get her there in the first place. Silly Mom. My negative feelings towards our healthcare system did resurface on this trip…oh yes. Also, that ambulance ride was the single thing on this little adventure that freaked my baby girl out the most. Deep breath, Mom.
Let me just say, if you have a children’s ER…go right there if you can. It will save time, money, and the patience of your child for the hospital process. Just something I just learned this week. They were SOOO nice at our Rady Children’s Hospital. I can’t believe those amazing people can witness sick and injured children every day and still be so friendly. I guess that’s one good reason to have an ER just for kids. Once there, we had to wait for the results of her CT scan to be read by a children’s specialist. This took hours. She threw up…not good. In the meantime, I pulled up a movie on Netflix to keep her distracted, my husband (who had been able to come right as we transferred hospitals) read her some books, and we tried to get her to stay awake until they could do her many many stitches. I know they have reasons for doing these things in a certain order, but I didn’t quite understand why they couldn’t do her stitches earlier. They said something about maybe needing to sedate her and that the gas can’t be used if they don’t know the status of her head injury. Maybe I’m too simplistic, but it seems to me you one could cross the sedation bridge when you come to it and give the old-fashioned stitches a shot before the patient is even more exhausted, upset, and MORE likely to need sedation? Crazy Mom.
Most Dr’s, in my experience, seem to think less information to the patient is best. The Dr. thought it best to not tell Faith the process of stitches. I’m sure that’s a good plan for most kids, but to a girl like Faith, it’s the worst thing you can do. She likes to know what to expect and what “the plan” is. Faith started crying before she began and then sat straight up (as fast as I’d seen her move since the fall) and shouted, “I just want to know what you’re gonna do to me!!”. Fair question. After that, we were able to calm her down and the Dr. started on the sewing. Kinda funny that when we first got to the ER, I asked the nurse if she was going to need any stitches (seeking confirmation of what I knew to be true). He said, “I’m not really sure. We’ll have to wait and see.” I love the kind of policy where you get as little info a possible. It’s enough to make a person feel comfortable and trusting.
I lost count.
We have no conclusion on what kind of fluid was in her scan, but they said as long as her symptoms remained the same and she didn’t get worse, she could go home.
Discharged at 1AM
At home, she was more chipper. Probably the apple juice she drank, but it made my heart glad. That meant she was going to be ok.
We are so thankful God protected our sweet girl that day. We are so thankful she was wearing her helmet.
I’m so glad I am THAT mean mom who makes my kids wear helmets under all circumstances…even in our driveway. Please try to be a mean mom too sometimes. It’s important…even if it’s an unpopular concept with your friends.
A week later she seems perfectly normal with a few scrapes on her chin. I keep telling her how unbelievably fast God is healing her and she keeps saying she doesn’t want to talk about what happened. I get that. Kids are so resilient and my sweet girl is the proof. They heal ridiculously fast! I would never have thought she would be running around like a normal kid today.
p.s. I let her have a few bowls of much-deserved ice cream :)