Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stitches, Concussions, and Other Great Moments in Parenting

Over the course of my lifetime, I've been afraid of many things.  When I was a kid, my list of mortal fears included clowns, fire, and coconut cakes.  In high school I added a few more, things like talking to hot cheerleaders, the cretins hanging out in the smoking area and, of course, clowns.  Then in college, I tacked on alcohol poisoning, STD's, and my evil Music History professor.  Oh, and clowns.  The point is, all of us have our innermost fears, and the list just keeps getting longer and longer.

But I'll tell you this.  Until you become a parent, you have no idea what pure, gut-wrenching terror really is.

From the moment the doctor yanks your goopy blue child screaming from your wife's hoo-hoo (or, if you're a woman, your very own personal hoo-hoo), all you can think about is, "How do I keep this wondrous creature safe until he graduates from high school?"

Personally, I was able to protect my son Ryan from harm up until the age of nine days, at which time I attempted to clip his fingernails.  I carefully laid him down on the changing table, making sure his diaper was secured so he didn't pee in my ear again.  I located the Black and Decker Infant Nail Clippers, tenderly placed his delicate little hand in mine and with the utmost caution proceeded to hack off his index finger.  Blood spurted everywhere, like that scene in Jaws when Quint gets bitten in half.  Ryan, meanwhile, was shrieking like a banshee, turning various shades of purple.


In retrospect, it probably wasn't quite that horrific, but that's how it will forever live in my memory.

Ryan is now almost eighteen and my daughter Lindsay is almost fifteen, and for the most part they've managed to avoid serious injury.  This is a definite departure from the family traditions set forth by me and my brothers who, during our childhood years, suffered from broken bones, gaping head wounds, foot-long splinters embedded in thigh muscle, scratched corneas, severed fingertips, chipped teeth, an assortment of gashes and cuts, and one case of mangled face suffered by my brother Bobby when he attempted to ride his bike down the apparently-not-obviously-enough-named "Suicide Hill."  This list, by the way, is not intended to be all-inclusive.

Now, while I did say that my kids have done a decent job of staying in one piece, this doesn't mean we've avoided the emergency room completely.  Our first trip took place a few years ago.  I was sitting in the bleachers on a sunny afternoon watching Ryan and the rest of the Norco Junior League Athletics shag fly balls in the outfield, preparing for their upcoming battle against the vaunted Giants.  I was chatting with my daughter when a collective "gasp" passed through the crowd.  I looked out onto the field and noticed a team of coaches surrounding a fallen player.  As any parent would, I surveyed the Athletics who were still upright, looking for Ryan.  When I didn't see him among the conscious, I used my Sherlock Holmesian powers of deductive reasoning to conclude that he was, in fact, the kid bleeding all over the freshly-mowed outfield grass.

As I got up to go check on him, I overheard a mom say, "Ah, who cares, it's not MY kid."  Before I could even turn around to tell this insensitive bitch to go screw herself, I heard my daughter Lindsay say, "Hey, lady, it's my brother so why don't you just shut up, okay?"

I've never been so proud.

I jogged to the outfield to check on Ry.  I was not prepared for what I was about to see, specifically, my son's face completely covered in his own blood.  It was the fingernail clipping incident all over again.  My initial fear was that the ball had knocked out a few teeth or popped his eyeball out of his head or something.  The gallon of spilled blood made it impossible to locate the actual wound, so I asked Ryan, "Hey buddy, where does it hurt?"  I'll never forget his reply:

"Where it's bleeding from, duh."

I looked at the coach and said, "Yeah, he's gonna be fine."

The Team Mom had arrived with the first aid kid by this point, and managed to stop the bleeding which as it turned out was coming from a nasty gash above Ryan's left eye.  I drove him to the hospital where they stitched him up.  When I went in to see him in recovery he was already hitting on the girl on the next table, who had suffered severe facial trauma trying to pierce her own lip.  A match made in Urgent Care.

More recently, just a couple weeks ago in fact, I paid another visit to our local emergency room, this time with my daughter Lindsay.  In a moment of questionable judgment, Linds signed up for a co-ed basketball league for kids aged 15-17.  On her high school team, she's actually one of the taller, sturdier girls standing about 5'8".  She's used to being one of the bigger players and uses her size to her advantage in the girls' league.  However, playing in a league that's eighty percent post-pubescent guys, she seems better equipped for a stint in the Lullaby League.

So last week, she was back on defense when an opponent roughly the size of Mount McKinley came driving down the lane.  For non-basketball fans, that means he was rumbling toward the basket fully prepared to trample anything and everything that got in his way.

Which turned out to be my poor innocent little girl.

The good news is that she stood in there and took the charge, just as she's been taught.  The bad news is that since Man-Mountain McGee had at least a hundred pound weight advantage, the resulting collision sent her flying through the air.  Gravity, as it tends to do, took it from there and when Linds re-entered the earth's atmosphere, it was the back of her skull that first contacted the wooden floor.  A nauseating "thunk" echoed throughout the gym.

As I raced the ambulance to the hospital, my body was possessed by St. Wimperly, the Patron Saint of Overprotective Parents.  "That's it, she's done with basketball," I thought.  "Tomorrow I'm signing her up for oboe lessons.  The only dangerous thing about an oboe is listening to somebody try to play one."

In a feat of driving skill that would put Jeff Gordon to shame, I beat the ambulance to the ER by about five minutes.  I followed Lindsay's gurney (my baby girl is on a GURNEY!) to the patient inspection room or whatever they call it, where they took her vital signs.

"Hi, Linds, how are you feeling?" I asked.

She looked at me and smiled.  "That ambulance driver was HOT!"

If she wasn't already in the hospital, I think I'd have knocked her out.



j

Stumble Upon Toolbar submit to reddit

28 comments:

Homemaker Man said...

Damn. I thought it got easier. You're saying it doesn't.

Debbie(single;complicated) said...

I laughed out loud several times while reading this!!! been there done that..but its was SO much funnier when you did it!!!:)

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Very true. We've had our share of ER visits. With me frantically waving my hospital ID trying to get in faster. The nurses laugh.

Once I was in, and needed a shot in my ass. The nurses drew straws to see who got to do it.

Suldog said...

Hilarious stuff. I am, as usual, glad I am not a parent. That photo of Ryan is reminiscent of the one after Tony Conigliaro got beaned by Jack Hamilton.

http://badseed57.mlblogs.com/conigliaro.jpg

ReformingGeek said...

I love this post!

Black & Decker infant nail clippers. Maybe I will try them on cat.


Clowns. What idiot invented clowns?

Three cheers for your daughter's response at the baseball game!

Maggie said...

My son is going to be a senior next year. He's decided that's the year he wants to play football. I thought we had made it through his teens primarily unscathed, at least physically. This does not help my peace of mind...

Heff said...

It NEVER gets easier, lol.

Eva Gallant said...

When my oldest son was 20, the doctor discovered he had a bone tumor on his leg. They sent him to Mass. General to have it removed. I was a wreck! Thankfully it was benign. The doctor told us he had sent him to Mass. General because in his 28 years in practice, he had never had a bone tumor that was benign!
We were lucky.

Nooter said...

...clowns, fire, and coconut cakes...
sounds like one helluva party!

oh, and you forgot to mention thunder as really scary stuff.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Hmmm...based upon the dirt bike story you posted a while back, you can tell these are your children. They keep going back for more.

Cheeseboy said...

To be fair to you: their fingers are very small at that age and the clippers are very large in relation to their tiny fingers.

Michelle H. said...

But, there's nothing wrong in checking out the cute ambulance driver, in case some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is needed?

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Great post, Knuck. The stories I could tell (and probably should) about my kids and our many visits to the emergency room. I still get a sick feeling in my stomach 16 years after the day that my daughter Lindy picked up a syringe in an alleyway at the age of 5 and needle-stuck herself. I almost passed out worrying that she'd given herself AIDS and that it was my fault for not watching her closely enough. I think it gave me gray hair, but she's fine, of course.

By the way, I can understand being afraid of clowns, fire and hot cheerleaders (Karen West, are you out there somewhere?), but coconut cakes? That one's a little different, buddy.....

The Good Cook said...

Blood and broken bones of my children are my worst fears. And clowns. And them being abducted. Worse, abducted by clowns.

Be still my pounding heart.

middle child said...

No one thing stands out. Your whole blog is awesome!!!!! Thank-you for the joy you bring me.

Kathy said...

Hilarious stuff, Chris. Most days I feel pretty dumb, but sometimes I feel really smart when I think how much angst I've saved myself by not having children. Of course, I never got to experience all the good stuff too, so that I'm missing.

Thanks for another hysterical story from your very funny head.

Bethany said...

My kids are only 9 and 7, and we've had some of these moments already-so scary! Right before Christmas, the school called to tell me that my 7 year old son tripped and fell on his desk leg. He had a deep gash over his eye and needed stitches-scared me (and the poor school nurse) far more than it scared him!

Beth said...

Hilarious! Your kids are adorable.

Leeuna said...

It only gets worse. Wait until they start driving -- too fast, get married, get divorced, get a very dangerous job, drink too much...

At least when they're at home with us we can ground them.

Anonymous said...

Similar, but we were sitting high in bleachers , smash to daugters nose went the kill shot in volleyball game, so fast she didn't even defend. Made a real whack sound. Wife sitting next to me, cracks up--hysterical laughter, coach looks across court sees wife laughing, starts laughing too, rest of bench starts laughing, pretty soon everyone is laughing including daughter who shook it off , took a bow, wiped bloody nose and played like a champ, the only one not laughing was me.

Peter Varvel said...

Ha ha ha ha ha!
. . . wait. It's okay for your son to flirt with Botched Lip Girl but not for your daughter to find the driver attractive?
Such a DAD.
;-)

Murr Brewster said...

I think it totally takes balls to be a parent, and all I've got is the hoo-hoo, so I skipped the entire deal. But my friend always said she thought they should name a wing in the emergency ward after her daughter. It didn't happen, but I think her name might have graced the doctor's boat.

Me-Me King said...

Never fear, you'll get through it all, I managed too. Now, my revenge for what my children put me through...they now have kids of their own. Ahahaha!

rena said...

I think this is the best thing you've written, thus far. Two thumbs up. Your kids sound awesome.

lime said...

lordy, i am so with you on this one. you think the fingernail clipping was bad? i used cloth diapers and managed to bore a hole through my first baby's left hip in the middle of the night. i wanted to die i felt so awful. later when i weepily recounted the tale to my grandmother she said, "oh honey, i pinned your father in a much more sensitive area and he survived." .....GASP.....

anyway, glad yours have survived the bigger booboos requiring ER time.

screwdestiny said...

My parents were incredibly lucky with me when it came to the injury department. The worst injury I ever had was flipping headfirst off my bicycle onto concrete while going down a hill. And while that hurt like hell and made my forehead look terrible, I didn't need stitches and it never scarred. Never broke a bone, had to get stitches, no surgeries, nothing. Now my brother on the other hand, he was just clumsy and reckless and getting himself hurt all the time, as all boys seem to do.

Phillipia said...

Awesome post...through and through...thanks for sharing:)

Jenn said...

Now I know just how my mom must have felt the day I lept into the pool and misjudged the edge of the opposing corner ever so slightly only to have it make fast friends with my chin. Or the various gymnastics injuries, or my sister banging her head into a radiator...oh the list could go on and on.

I chuckled mostly at the fact that your son's snarky comment resulted in your pride but your daughter's, not so much.

Related Posts with Thumbnails