Friday, January 3, 2014

Emergency Room

My children certainly had their share of accidents. I feel I was a good mother. I watched over them carefully but somehow they still managed to get hurt. Not all of their escapades made it to the emergency room but a good many of them did.

My oldest son was not emergency room prone. No. He had to take it further. He was born with two thumbs on one hand. When he was about 9 months old he had surgery to remove the extra one.

After many x-rays the doctors had determined that unlike many extra appendages, my son's extra thumb was an actual thumb. Most extras are simply made of cartilage and are easily removed. Because my son's thumbs were both made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin and seemed to be equal in every way it was decided to remove the outer one.

The surgery was successful but he needed physical therapy to strengthen the remaining thumb. Metal braces to try to encourage the thumb to grow straight were made.

The knuckle of the remaining thumb bent from side to side rather than from back to front. Another surgery when he was 4 was to straighten the thumb and restructure the knuckle so it would bend properly.

After the surgery his hand and arm were in a cast up to the middle of his upper arm for about 6 weeks. He made good use of that cast. Whenever someone tried to disagree with him he conked them in the head with it.

When it finally came off the smell was unbearable. And all that dead skin. Then when the doctor slid out the two metal pins that had been inserted in my son's hand and arm to hold everything in place, my son started to scream. And scream, and scream. It was not from pain but how would you like to see six inch metal rods coming from inside your arms?

The operation was a success. My son's thumb is normal sized. Many people in his position have a remaining thumb that is still the size it was when they were babies. He cannot grip with it because the knuckle does not lock into place... it just keeps bending. One interesting thing is that when they do surgeries to reconstruct a thumb, they come out with a digit that resembles a finger more than a thumb.

We lived in a small town. We owned an old pickup truck that I drove the places we wanted to go. I would get the two older boys in the truck then place a baby on the lap of each one. My oldest son usually sat nearest to the door and held his baby sister.

One day as I was turning the corner, the door flew open. My son felt himself falling out. He managed to throw his little sister to his brother before he fell. He was up and running before I could stop the truck. There were no injuries except for a scrape from the gravel on his upper lip. He insisted on wearing a bandaid over that scrape for days.

Son number one had to have his tonsils removed when he was 5. They would not let me spend the night at the hospital with him so I promised I would be there bright and early before he went to surgery. I went to the hospital earlier than expected but they had taken him to surgery even earlier.

When my son came out of surgery he was still asleep. But when he woke up he began to scream. I told you he was a screamer. Finally the nurse came in and gave him a sedative to put him back to sleep in hopes that he would calm down. All that screaming could cause hemorrhaging. The sedative worked.

Son number two was interesting in the injuries he chose. He was the one who would open a drawer of the desk, then when he went to close it he would shut his fingers in it. Then he would pull the drawer open and shut his fingers in it again.

One time I was sitting in my chair mending some clothes. My son was still in diapers. He was sitting across the room from me facing the wall. I watched in amusement as he would reach his little arm straight in front of him then pull it quickly back and do a little shimmy. After he did this about 6 times (I am not real quick) I got up to see what kind of game he was playing.

That was when I saw the nail sticking out of the electrical outlet. He was reaching for it again. I stopped him. He was trying to get the nail out after he had stuck it in there and getting a little jolt when he would touch it. No emergency room required.

I do not know what possessed him to pull a can lid out of the trash but he did. He was playing with it and cut his thumb. It was a deep gash so off we went to the emergency room. Several stitches later we went home.

When the stitches came out the edges of the wound were still a little ugly. He insisted on wrapping a tissue around his thumb because he was afraid it was going to bleed again. The assistant pricipal at school sent him home and said he could not come back until I sent a note from the doctor stating that it was healed.

Somehow a wooden toothpick was embedded in the carpet. My son was crawling around playing and managed to get the toothpick up under his knee cap. Off we went to the emergency room. It was a relatively simple procedure to remove it. My son felt no further effects from it.

The most frightening injury happened to him when he was an adult. He was watching television when two men broke into his house to rob him. When he protested they shot him. One shot into each leg. Because he did not want to scare me he called his sister who called me.

They were releasing him from the hospital and he needed a ride home. There was nothing they could do for him except tell him to try to stay off his feet until his legs healed. They were unable to remove the bullets so he still has a bullet in each of his legs.

My third son broke things. The kids were climbing a tree and he lost his footing and fell. Luckily his foot got caught on a branch so he did not fall all the way to the ground but his arm hit against the tree. To the emergency room we went. His arm was broken.

The day the cast came off his arm was a sunny day. When we returned from the doctor my son was riding his bike. It had no brakes so the kids stopped it by using their foot as a brake. My son put down his foot to stop and let out a scream. His foot was broken.

He waited a while before the next break. I do not even remember how he did it. But I recognized the scream. We went strainght to the emergency room. His bone was not actually broken. Young childrens' bones are still fairly soft. When he landed he wrinkled the bone in his arm. The doctor had to stretch his arm out to pull out the wrinkle before they put a cast on it.

Another time he broke his leg again. And again I do not even remember how. But I do remember the time he and his brother were fighting. My son went running up the stairs to try to escape from his bigger brother. He lost his footing and fell against the stairs. He hit his hand on the edge of the step and broke it.

This child had the nerve to ask me if he could try out for the football team in high school. I told him, "Absolutely not! You break to easily."

The only accident he had that did not involve broken bones was the time he took a hatchet to a can of WD40. The contents of the can exploded into his eyes. I grabbed a gallon jug of water and flipped him upside down to flush as much as I could from his eyes before rushing him to the emergency room. Luckily no permanent damage was done. Although he says now that he believes that incident is the reason he is color blind.

My darling daughter. Sugar and spice and everything nice. A beautiful bit of fluff. So soft and feminine. Well... not quite.

When she was about 2 we were loading the pickup to go to the store. Her brother, my second son, was her lap that day. He closed the door and she immediately screamed. He had closed it on her fingers. He looked puzzled so I tried to stay calm and said in a very quiet even voice, "Open the door. Open the door. Open the door." It finally sunk in and her released her little fingers.

Instead of the store we went to the emergency room. Amazingly no bones were broken but her little hand was bruised. Her brother felt awful.

One rare day the kids got a visit from their father. When the visit was over he was driving away. My daughter had on her roller skates and decided to race him. She was on the sidewalk and only slightly behind. He went around the corner. She hit a rock and flipped head over heels.

When she got up she had a gash on her chin. She got several stitches to close it. They did a good job. She barely has a scar.

Most of her injuries happened as she got older. As a manager of a pizza place she had to know how to perform every job in the place. As an industrious worker she did every job in the place. She was constantly cutting her fingers. Several times she needed stitches.

Once she got a small piece of metal in her eye somehow. I took her to the emergency room and they used a magnet to remove it.

She always complained about her weird feet. She said they were deformed. Actually they were bunionettes. She had surgery on the first one. It was an outpatient procedure and I took her home as soon as she was alert enough to go.

She was still on crutches when she was allowed to go back to work. She was being siily and slipped and fell. There were wires in her foot that needed to be fixed. Being cautious is not her long suit.

At the hospital the nurses once told me they were going to reserve one of the treatment rooms just for my children. We laughed of course.

I have never really concerned myself with what other people think. I did start to think about all the times my children had been in that little room. All I could do was hope the medical personnel realized that these were all freak accidents. I certainly did not want them to call someone to investigate.

So now my children are grown. If they need medical treatment they have others to tend to them. If my grandchildren need emergency care, my children do it. I am happy to assist and occasionally I have but I do not miss the days of the emergency room.

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