Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Why is this Wiggles LIVE! shirt all bloody?

My little girl got her first serious injury.  Let me explain.

First, we saw the Wiggles in Las Vegas yesterday afternoon.  It was a great show.  I had a blast - in fact, I may have had more fun than the girls did.  Angela did not want to give the pretty red rose to Dorothy, and Elizabeth was so overwhelmed that she got very quiet with a sort of frown on her face.  Eventually she stood up and danced and sang and jumped and had fun.  Her mom, though, could barely keep from singing and dancing the entire show.  It's kind of embarrassing now, but I had a great time.

We drove home, a 2 hour drive through dull dusty desert.

Once at home, the girls, happy to be out of the car, were playing and running around.  I heard a loud thump in the hallway and instinctively knew it was something bad.  I found Angela, lying face down near the door frame, and blood everywhere.  It was coming from her mouth.

Her first split lip.  My first, too - I haven't had to deal with much injury with my kids.  They've been pretty healthy and cautious.

This looked bad.  It was a V, from the inside of her lip to the outside.  Split wide open and bleeding.

It was 8:45 pm, so we called the InstaCare.  They told us to take her to the ER because they can't suture (!!!).  My mom and I took off.  Angela was sitting in a dirty diaper, but we left without changing her.  Our priorities had shifted in a few panicky moments.

I tried to be calm.  I didn't want my little girl to get stitches.  I tried to put away my mothering emotions and be collected and rational.  I wanted to cover her with kisses and rock her to sleep in my arms.  But we arrived at the ER, in 9 minutes (something of a record, I'm pretty certain).

The good news: she weighs 21 pounds now!  After spending so long below 20 lbs, she has gained a startling 3 lbs in the past 6 weeks.  Hooray for Pediasure! 

The bad news: they admitted her right away.  We were in for it now.  The triage nurse said they might sedate her during the stitching.

When I first heard that idea mentioned, I considered getting very upset and throwing a fit to keep it from happening (mommy emotions creeping past my rational mask there).  Fortunately, the ER doc did not want to sedate her for suturing.  Instead, we waited...

...and waited...

...and waited.  Angela, who was feeling much better, entertained herself by spinning the chairs around and playing peekaboo and running in circles around the exam table.  Her lip wasn't closing up on its own, but she seemed to have forgotten all about it.

Finally, over an hour after we'd initially seen the ER doc, he showed up with an assistant and began suturing.  "Sing a song to her," they said, "or tell her a story."  Yeah, right.  As soon as they bundled her up so she couldn't move, the shrieking began.  The bright light overhead made her panic.  Then the two shots of lidocaine.  She was helpless and completely panicked.  The doc kept saying, "You can leave the room if you want."  Yes, I wanted to, but I wasn't about to abandon my daughter to complete terror.  I stayed next to her, touching her and trying to soothe her.  I knew it wouldn't do much good until the stitching was finished.  It took them less than 5 minutes to complete 3 sutures.  When they were done, I cuddled up my poor little girl, weary from screaming, and sang her favorite song ("Great Big Dog").  Her lip looked 100 times better.  We went home, having spent a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes at the ER.

Maybe going into that much detail wasn't necessary, but I am still dealing with it.  It's hard to explain, but I'm sure it's universal, that when one of yours gets hurt, especially when it involves the hospital, you're badly shaken.  Your whole body aches with emotion.

Oh, yes -- and the doctor explained our long waiting period.  He said that a patient had come in with a severed spinal cord, and he needed to stabilize that person before sending them on a life-flight to another hospital.  That helped me keep this incident in perspective.  A split lip is really a trifling thing.

Even still, I woke up at 2:45 am and cried for a long time about it.  My poor little girl.