“Mom, Clayton’s hurt. He’s bleeding all over the place. I mean, he’s really bleeding. He jumped off the bunk beds and smacked into the ceiling fan that was going full-blast. He cut his eyelid. He’s bleeding a lot! We stood him in the bathtub and he’s filling the tub with blood. It won’t stop.”
I somehow remained calm and asked, “How bad is the cut? Does he need stitches? Can you wipe away the blood enough to see? Is it his actual eyelid or more like his eyebrow?”
“I’m pretty sure he needs stitches, Mom,” came Savannah’s answer.
“Okay, I’m leaving now. Just hold a clean washcloth or towel or something on it and press down. Don’t let go.”
You know when you’re confronted with an emergency like this and your mind just goes into one-track mode? You focus on what needs to be done, shutting out everything else. I grabbed my belongings, and as I locked my classroom, I texted the principal to let her know I was leaving because one of my kids just learned some of Newton’s laws of motion the hard way.
I hopped in my car and headed home on autopilot while dialing the school secretary to ask if I could just take him to Centra Care to get stitches. She thought they’d take care of him, no problem. I called home again to see how Clay was doing and update them with my ETA. According to Savannah, the bleeding was finally slowing down.
I got home, grabbed Clay, headed to Centra Care, filled out the paperwork, waited for about an hour, then saw the doctor who promptly claimed, “I can’t stitch him up. I mean, I can do stitches, but he’s a kid and he won’t cooperate with me and since it’s on his face, you really need a pediatric doctor at a hospital because he’ll need to be sedated. You need a pediatric doctor who will sedate him. He won’t cooperate. Kids don’t hold still for stitches. If he moves while I’m stitching on his face, that would be bad. He needs to be sedated.”
I glanced at my son who was lying there, calmly as could be, then I looked back at the doctor who seemed to be totally freaked out at the prospect of throwing a couple sutures in Clay’s cut. Although I knew Clay would be totally fine and certainly didn’t need the extra risk of sedation just for a couple stitches, I agreed that this doctor probably wasn’t cut out to perform the procedure. So, I left and headed downtown to Arnold Palmer. After Jackson’s injury, I’d been told that it was a good kids’ hospital and to bypass all other facilities and head straight there the next time something happened.
We got there at 6:00 pm. We got home at 1:00am. Yeah. As we sat in the waiting room which was overflowing with patients, I wondered why so many people who had arrived after us, were called back way before we were. I could understand if the kids being called back were seriously injured or very sick, but most of them appeared perfectly fine. Clearly, the majority of people were using the ER not as an emergency room, but as their primary care physician. At one point, a couple paramedics delivered a child via ambulance. They pushed the gurney into the waiting room and unbuckled the kid. She hopped down and proceeded to run around the waiting room, playing with the other kids there. Apparently, ambulances are used as taxi service down here.
After several hours, I asked a nurse how much longer she thought it would be. She told me, “Not too much longer, hopefully. The people who are going in before you are fast tracked. We know we can get them in and out really fast because they’re not serious. That’s why they’re being called before you.”
I just stared at her. I wanted to give her a lesson on triage because clearly those people don’t have a clue, but I instinctively knew my lesson would be lost.
Now, I understand why people without insurance would go to the ER instead of their doctor. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense. But, in my opinion, something is very wrong with the healthcare system in this country when a person with an injury requiring a doctor’s care has to wait for six hours while kids with snotty noses and hangnails are seen within minutes of their arrival. I don’t know what the solution is and every plan surely has it’s drawbacks, but these kinds of situations are completely ridiculous and unacceptable.
Anyway, he was finally seen and received four stitches, without sedation, of course. As the doctor was finishing up, he actually had the audacity to say, “Bring him back here in five days to get his stitches removed.” I just laughed at him.
I took Clay’s stitches out tonight and his eye is looking good. I think the scar will give him character. Maybe someone will concoct a story about how he obtained his scar one day.
And, in case you were wondering, I asked Clay why he jumped off the bunks. “Were you trying to fly?” I asked.
“No,” he answered. “I dropped a blanket on the floor and it was faster to jump down than to use the ladder,” he stated matter-of-factly.
So, there you have it. We’ll see if this lesson sinks in.
Buy your very own copy of Because I Said So or You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) because these medical bills don’t pay themselves! Plus, selling thousands of books will help me on my quest to rule the tri-state area.