My son finally became a full fledged walker during the X-mas holiday. Good time! Most dads know the pride that comes along with this graduation from crawling. Consequently, the higher one stands above the ground, the greater one has to fall to hit the ground. Here is my stream of consciousness for this entry…
This past Wednesday morning was typical. Like every Wednesday, my son & I look forward to getting together with our NYC Dads Group. For this week’s event, it was a special discussion with a pediatric dentist (more on this in tomorrow’s post) at the indoor playroom of Josh K., one of the active members of our group. The scene: a safe & bright children’s playroom. Nine dads sprawled out on the floor listening intently to the pediatric dentist. Our children, ranging from 4 months – 2 years old, were investigating the many toys, interacting with each other, playing with their dads, noshing on snacks, and drinking from their bottles. Basically, Daddy duty as usual.
My son, the recent (and still a bit unsteady) walker, had a cracker in one hand, and his eyes focused on walking over to play with his “girlfriend” Stella. In stride, he tripped, and he face planted right onto the exposed heating vent unit in such a way that it cut him above his right eye. Looking at the nasty gash, (I had visions of a Rocky Balboa movie, where the skin on his face was split open), I immediately said aloud, “oh no, this one looks like it will need stitches.” What happened next was blur…
Multiple dads jumped in like a safety rescue team – “what can we do to help?”, they shouted…one dad ran to get wipes to apply to the wound, one dad ran upstairs to get bandages, another dad packed up my stuff in the diaper bag…all while I was consoling my screaming kid. Teamwork at it’s best.
Calling ahead to notify my pediatrician, we hopped a cab, and zipped over to get his opinion on what to do next. In the cab ride, my son was so enamored by the scenery of the tall buildings and the trees as we cruised through Central Park, that he stopped crying. At least one of us was tough. Going through my head – How many stitches is he going to need? Is he experiencing a lot of pain? Is it going to leave a lasting scar? Should I have gone straight to the ER? When do I call my wife at work to share the news?
Upon arriving at our pediatric office, the nurses quickly ushered us into a patient room for the doc to take a look-see at the wound. Thanks to the Park Avenue Pediatrics team for expediting us right through to our doctor! Fortunately, the bleeding subsided. As expected, our doctor recommended a visit to the Hospital Emergency Room for a few sutures. Since the wound is on his face, he mentioned that they would suggest having a plastic surgeon take care of it at the ER rather than an office nurse. I completely agreed.
We zipped off in another cab to the Cornell Medical Hospital. Wow, my son is a champ. No crying, whining, screaming, or carrying on. Why wasn’t I as calm as he was?
Remaining calm was something I needed to do to make sure this ER visit went smoothly. When we arrived at the Pediatric ER, there was only one other mom in the waiting room with her 10-month old son. She eyed my son’s gash and said “nice cut”, how did he do that?” I quickly explained our incident, learned her child was having breathing issues, & inquired about the process to get my son admitted and seen by a surgeon ASAP. “You fill out a brief form, put it in the slot, and wait for the Triage nurse to check out your child,” she replied. “Where is the Triage nurse?”, I mumbled to no one in particular. Five minutes later, the nice mom in the waiting room (her name escapes me so let’s call her supermom) leaves the waiting room, slips through the surgical area doors, speaks to a nurse, and moments later, the triage nurse was inspecting my son and checking his vitals.
The triage nurse performed a brief interview with me and poked and prodded my son. The next steps…go back into the waiting room, and wait for a nurse to apply some Novocaine to numb the wound, they would page the plastic surgeon fellow (I was told the fellow was covered by my insurance & the attending was not covered by insurance & would cost “thousands of dollars out of pocket” – my wife is still ticked about that statement), and we would be in and out of the hospital “pretty soon.”
So, I waited. No books for kids to read in this waiting room? Fifteen minutes later, still a bit on edge, and after reading our only read aloud book in the diaper bag, Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance four times – Super Mom walked over to us. She said “let’s let dad relax, and let you take a break from hearing the same book over and over again.” Who is this woman? Next, Supermom launched into a captivating read aloud of Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar. This tale lasted fifteen minutes. Then, she whipped out a dinosaur flap book. I was impressed at how engaged Jake had become. It made the waiting easier.
Finally, after an hour, and a little advocating on my end, Jake was admitted into the ER. The surgeon was friendly, confident, and direct. She had me carry him onto the patient bed where a baby style straight jacket awaited Jake. He was wrapped up like a mummy so he would remain totally still for the Novocaine shot and sutures. Again, my son Jake demonstrated his resilience. They used a monster sized needle and inserted it into his gash – kind of cool to watch, but felt painful – he shrieked. Next, they gave him 3 stitches that will dissolve in less than a week. Fortunately, that means we will not have to return to the ER anytime soon. Within 10 minutes of entering the patient room, we strolled out. All finished! I could not wait to stroll outside and get some fresh air & my little guy was in desperate need of his nap. We both got our wish! I was able to walk the thirty blocks to our home (no more cabs) while Jake napped peacefully.
What an afternoon. Jake is doing really well since the incident, but dad is still a little shaken. Chalk it up to being my first kid! Thanks again to my NYC Dads Group safety crew, Park Avenue Pediatrics, Cornell Medicals’ Pediatric ER Staff, and of course, Supermom.