Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Unexpected Milestone - Stitches

The day started out as a "normal" Saturday does: Daniel and Susannah had their special Daddy/Daughter cheerio breakfast together while watching This Old House on TV.  I dressed myself and the girls in "we aren't going ANYwhere" clothes... you know the kind.  Susannah, in particular, was dressed in a Christmas sweatshirt and matching candy-cane pants.  It turned out to be a good thing she was wearing a red shirt.

A friend came over to help Daniel install the chimney for the addition, so Daniel and Shawn were outside setting up ladders and whatnot.  I was inside not being too picky about our morning, just getting things done as they happened.  I was planning to clean up the dishes and fold the mountain of laundry during naps.

Sylvia was getting fussy, so I picked her up to put her down for her morning nap in our room since the guys were going to be banging around on the roof right over her own room.  As I walked into the dining room from the [new] living room, I heard Susannah coming behind me and then I heard a very loud THUD.

I whipped around to see her getting up off the floor at the bottom of the steps.  I also immediately saw a gash in her forehead where she had hit the outside corner of the wall.  A million things started zooming through my mind all at once.  In lightening speed, I had Sylvia back into her playpen (a contained, safe area), yanked open the front door and yelled for Daniel to come inside "RIGHT NOW!!", and scooped Susannah - who was now starting to cry - up and ran into the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel.

I knew that being a head wound it was going to be bleeding like crazy, and it was.  As I wiped her head, face and hands and tried to keep pressure on the 3/4" - 1" cut, Daniel dug in the freezer for an ice pack.  While all that was going on, I was thinking both in my head and out loud.  Sylvia desperately needed a nap.  Daniel and Shawn need to work on the chimney outside.  The pediatrician closes at noon on Saturdays.  It's 10:30.  I wonder if they even do stitches there?  If Sylvia stays here, Daniel won't be able to work on the house as much.  We'll probably be gone for a while, it could be a long time.  Daniel's mom is off work today.  I would need to pack a bag of books, blankie and bear for Susannah... I would need to pack diapers, liquid and solid lunch for Sylvia...
I rattled off to Daniel, asking telling him to call his mom and see if Sylvia could go there.  Then I got on my phone to call the ped's office to ask if they do stitches.  Lo and behold they have what felt like 10 minutes of recorded information before it got around to saying that even though they are open on Saturday's, the answering service still takes all Saturday calls.  I hung up.  Daniel said his mom was coming to get Sylvia.

I attempted to put a butterfly bandaid on Susannah's head, just to hold it somewhat closed temporarily, but it kept bleeding and between the bleeding, the slight swelling and Susannah not really wanting me messing with the cut, it didn't work so well.  So I put her on the couch with instructions to hold a paper towel on her head. She was not crying by this time and was relatively ok mentally.

I tore around grabbing stuff for both Sylvia and Susannah.  I filled a bag with books to read in case we had to wait very long.  By the time I was unstrapping Sylvia's carseat, Daniel's mom pulled in.  Still trying to beat the clock - remember, the pediatrician closed at noon, it was nearing 11:00 and it takes about 30 min. to get there - I hurriedly strapped Susannah in her seat and lit off, leaving Daniel to transfer Sylvia and her stuff to his mom.

We got to the Dr's office right about 11:30, and the waiting room was packed.  *inward groan*  The first thing I did was ask if they did stitches.  Nope.  I asked where they recommended we go (not having actual health insurance I wanted to avoid the emergency room if we could), and they recommended a pediatric after-hours urgent care center.

We went there (just a few minutes away) and found that we had about a half-hour wait until they opened at noon.  BUT we were the first car in the parking lot! Yay!  I pulled out the bag of books and we started reading.  Closer to noon, other cars started pulling in.  I wondered how much of a mad-dash for the door it was going to be.  As it was quite chilly outside and neither of us had our coats on, I decided to not go stand in line at the door as much as I wanted to retain our place at the front of the line.

About 5 minutes to noon, they came and opened the door.  Sure enough, another set of people literally jogged to the door to get there first (Man, if that was me, I would've felt so guilty!  They had parked 2 spaces down from us and it was obvious that we were there first! I hope they had an even more urgent need.).  As I was helping Susannah out of the car, not wanting to bump her head, another lady and child were walking to the door but kindly said "you can go in front of us when you get inside".  I really appreciated their kindness to us, even if we were dressed in our frumpy, stay-at-home clothes!

Thankfully we were then the 2nd people to sign in, and we really did not wait too long until we were called back.  The nurse took Susannah's vital signs and then looked at the cut.  Then we waited for the doctor, who turned out to be a very nice, younger, lady Nurse Practitioner.  She looked the cut and agreed that stitches would be the best thing.  She applied some topical anesthetic gel that had to work for 20 minutes before they could do the stitches.  She brought Susannah a bag of Cheezits to munch on and we watched a show about cats on Animal Planet on the in-room TV.  Susannah really liked the Cheezits and I was grateful for the courtesy (which I'm sure we pay for) as it was lunch-time and we were both hungry.

When 20 minutes were up, the N.P. returned along with a large, African-American male nurse (I assume he was a nurse, it crossed my mind that he might just be the "bouncer", haha!).  The male nurse gently swaddled Susannah and laid her down while the N.P. got everything ready.  Susannah was all fine so far... as soon as she was on her back on the table, she said "Susannah has pretty shoes!"  That got laughs from all of us.

But then the un-fun part started. :(  She received some injections of anesthesia, and the syringe was not concealable.  Susannah started crying and crying, asking for her blankie and Bearie, which were over on a chair and she wouldn't have been able to hold anyway.  I'm sure some of her fright was a result of having intently watched Sylvia get "poked" for her vaccines a month ago, which resulted in Sylvia crying for a bit.  Then came the stitches, and she cried even more.  She did not say anything about it hurting, just expressing that she did not want touched or any more of anything.  The male nurse did a great job of holding her head still without being aggressive, and both he and the N.P. worked hard to comfort Susannah in the situation.  I was right there with her, touching her face and talking to her as well.  When the 2nd stitch was finished she said "All done!" and I was sad to tell her that there was one more.

As soon as the 3rd and final stitch was finished, they put on some gel and one of those cool, sparkly band-aids and unswaddled her.  I immediately hugged her and got her her blankie and Bearie, which she hugged tight.  By the time they were done cleaning up the room, she was fine and even obeyed my direction to tell them "thank you".

By this time it was 1:30 and my stomach was having conversations with my backbone.  Knowing that there was not really any big rush to get home, I wanted to do something positive to end the trip to town.  I took Susannah to lunch at Arby's and we finished that off by sharing an ice cream cone.  On the way home she talked about and liked looking at her sparkly band-aid in the mirror. :)

When we got home, I took a few pictures and them promptly deposited her in her bed for a much needed nap.

Then I sat down on the couch and my adrenaline crashed.  I had a headache and felt like I could sleep for 100 years.  I didn't have any specific surges of emotions through the ordeal, but it was exhausting and trying.  Some have asked if it was hard for me to see her getting stitches.  I didn't really think about it from that standpoint.  Yes, now that I think about it, sure, it's not something I wanted to see or have happen.  But it did happen and there was no way I wasn't going to be right there with her through it.  Blood does not bother me, so I wasn't queasy.  I was pretty focused on helping her get through the situation that I didn't think once about my feelings.

Yesterday, though, when she went without a band-aid for the first time, it did bother me and still does.  I just isn't right to see stitches in the head of my girl.  Cuts, bruises, scrapes... those are "natural".  Stitches are not natural.  Last night when I went to check on her before going to bed myself I just knelt beside her bed for a long time, looking at her.  I was reminded again last night while watching her sleep how much she really does not belong to me, but to the Father.  How I must not hold too tightly to my children because they are His, not mine.  How precious their lives are.  How much of a blessing and privilege it is to have been given to gift of being their mama, and yet they are not mine to keep forever and ever.  How thankful I am that God spared her of worse injury, and that I still have her to "keep" for a while.


Lucy said... [Reply to comment]

She sure looks like her mother in that first picture! Just sayin'.

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Awwww...what a bad situation to have to live through. I remember when Paul had a stitch in his chin (when he was maybe 2 1/2, not sure how old). We were babysitting Emily and Beth at the time, and of course Hannah was pretty little, so Andrew took him to the peds office for his single stitch to hold shut a 3-cornered tear in his chin. I remember thinking, so sadly, that now he was marred, he wasn't the perfect (physically) little boy he once was, and that he'd always, always have that scar. It was really sad for me. And yes, he still has a bump of a scar there under his chin. Anyway, I hope it's a long time before you need another trip for stitches.

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Aw, what a sweet girl! I'm so sorry she had to get stitches, but it sounds like she was very brave! I know it's not fun for Mama's heart to see her baby hurting.

gail puffenbarger said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, the poignant reminders of God's mercy and blessings!

Amanda said... [Reply to comment]

What an ordeal! So glad she is okay and you seem to have recovered as well. Sometimes I think the shots/stitches/etc are harder on us as parents than they are on our children!