Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trip to the ER

So I have successfully navigated another motherhood rite-of-passage...the very one that just thinking about has always caused me to quake inside. I am not a blood-and-guts person (funny I married into a family of doctors), and I am also not the type to keep a cool head in a crisis, so this first trip to the ER was very big for me.

This morning around 10:00 am, Ethan woke up from his morning nap. Caleb jumped up from the play dough creation he was focused on and exclaimed, "Ethan's up! It's snack time!" He bolted up the six stairs from the play room to the kitchen and opened the pantry in search of a can of fruit (Monday's are grocery shopping day so we were completely out of fresh fruit). He lifts out the first can he finds and promptly drops it, from his shoulder heighth, straight down onto his little toe. He starts screaming, so I move over to assess the damage. Somehow, the top edge of the sealed can had sliced right through his baby toe, almost to the bone. I gasp to see his toe opened up like that and the blood pulsing out. There was so much blood and the cut part was so grotesquely folded away from his body, that I was afraid the toe was barely hanging on. I sucked in my breath in horror and for a moment was afraid I was going to faint, but then I remembered "PRESSURE"! I grabbed a clean dish towel and pulled a writhing, screaming Caleb into my lap, folded the toe into the dish towel and held on. Then I calmed Caleb with holding and whispering soothing words to him. We sat there like that for about five minutes while I thought about how I was going to drive him to the ER while applying pressure. I had no idea, so I carried him downstairs (while holding the toe) so I could page Marcus. Marcus called back right away and I poured it all out to him. It sounded something like this:

"Caleb split his toe open and it looks like it's barely hanging on and it's bleeding through the dish towel and I don't know how I can drive him and Ethan to the ER while applying pressure to the toe and Ethan is still in his crib and I don't know where the ER is!!!"

Marcus calmed me down by assuring me that Caleb would be okay, and that the toe would eventually stop bleeding. He instructed me to keep applying pressure until it stopped bleeding, then bandage it up the best I could and drive the boys to the ER. He also told me to call our friend who is a pediatricion at Childrens' Hospital (once I got the kids in the car) to ask if the Childrens ER was the right place to go.

A plan was exactly what I needed. After we hung up, I checked the toe and was able to see that, though it was badly cut, it was not hanging by a thread as I originally feared. But it was still doing a lot of bleeding, so I applied pressure for a while longer until I could see no more fresh blood. Then I bandaged it up (mostly just to cover it), put Caleb in a chair with his blankie, and sprinted up the stairs to get Ethan. Ethan was a bit peeved about having to wait so long in his crib after his nap, and was even less happy when I skipped all of our little waking-up games and whisked him down the stairs. I had the presence of mind to fill up two cups and toss a bag of goldfish into the diaper bag while Ethan and Caleb cried. (Later, when I was trying to entertain Ethan for hours in the ER, I was very glad I did that.)

We were in the car and driving by 10:30. That's when I got around to calling our pediatrician-friend. He said that the only place to get stitches is the ER. Then I called our pediatrican's office, just to make sure, and they also told me to head to the ER. Next, I called my mom, since I still only knew the general direction of Childrens' Hospital. She looked up directions online for me and helped me find my way there. As soon as I pulled up, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the Children's ER has free valet parking, which I took immediate advantage of. Though it felt like it took me five minutes to get the kids, diaper bag, and stroller out of the car, especially since neither of the boys were very happy. I felt like the valet guy had never seen such a slow emergency!

Anyway, we finally got inside and checked in. They called us back within about 20 minutes, though it would be a full 2 1/2 hours before we were able to head home. They took Caleb's stats and gave him some Motrin for the pain, though by now he had calmed down (no small credit due to the TV in the ER waiting room). Everyone was extremely kind and did their best to put Caleb at ease, which also of course put me at ease. He was actually enjoying all of the attention for the first hour, until they actually got down to business. At some during this hour, Marcus arrived (he was able to slip out of clinic and come over to the ER). I was so relieved when he walked in that the nurse laughed a big belly laugh and said "You sho happy to see 'im!"
Soon afterwards, the nurse and doctor came back in and put Caleb in a constraining papoose so they could numb the toe, irrigate it, and then stitch it up. He screamed bloody murder during the numbing "block", which was a series of six or so injections in and around his little toe. They had told me it would be two sticks, so that's what I told Caleb and prepared him for. He tried to be brave for those first two sticks, and then I told him there would be no more "ouchies" and the doctors were all done sticking him. He smiled so gratefully and said "Thank you Thank you, Mama!" Then his face contorted and I looked down to see the nurse sticking him again. He could barely get it out, but he screamed "YOU---SAID--ALL--DONE!!!!! PLEASE---MAKE---IT--STOP!!!!" This was by far the worst part for me because I was right there in his face and I didn't know what to tell him because I didn't know what they were going to do or how many more times they would need to inject him, and I felt like I'd lied to him at a traumatic moment. It was bad. He continued to scream until they stopped injecting him several minutes later. This was definitely the worst part.

But after the toe was numbed, our good friend Brad Troxler (the aforementioned pediatrician who had come down to the ER to provide us with some moral support), went and rummaged up a Veggie Tales DVD for Caleb to watch while they cleaned, disinfected, stitched up and bandaged his toe. Once again, the TV worked like a charm, and there were no more tears.

The whole thing was as much an adventure for me as it was for Caleb. I was a very cautious child and never had stitches or surgery or any sort of hospital stay at all (until I gave birth to Caleb). I'm very glad we both survived with no regrets!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Marcus, being an excellent soccer player himself, was very excited about signing Caleb up for soccer after he turned three. He asked me to find a program for Caleb, and I searched, but couldn't find one that would accept 3-year-olds. Everyone wanted them to be closer to four (3 years and 9 months, to be exact). I told Marcus that no one would let him play until he was a little older, and we thought that door was closed. A little later we found out that Caleb's good buddy, Matthew, was signed up with Birmingham United program. Matthew's mother told me that this program will take children as long as they've turned three.

So we signed him up, bought all the gear, and showed up for the first day. It was a disaster. Caleb whined and cried throught the whole hour. He hated the over-crowded field (12 or more preschool games going on at once on one giant field), way-too-many people telling him what to do, and most of all, the fact that no one was "sharing" with him. Apparently three years of incessant "sharing" indoctrination is not easily replaced with "just push your way in there and take it from them!" He was crushed by the fact that every time he got the ball, someone would run in and take it away from him. It never failed to reduce him to tears of indignation.

After that complete debacle, we spent multiple evenings playing soccer with him and emphasizing that it is okay to take the ball from each other in soccer. (We've kicked soccer balls around as a family for over a year, but in a very low-key way with no "stealing" the ball.) Anyway, the next time he played went much better. He enjoyed the drills a lot...every child has his own ball and he did great with following the instructions and handling the ball. But he still did not like the second half where the boys were divided into teams to scrimmage. He didn't cry or whine when others took the ball away, but he kept saying that it was not fun and he wanted to go home. At one point, he and his buddy Matthew just sat down on the field and started pulling out grass by the handfuls and throwing it at each other while the other kids played around them. They were having a blast, but it certainly didn't look anything like soccer! I leaned over and said to my friend (Matthew's mommy), "Maybe this is why it was so hard to find a league that would take 3-year-olds!" She laughed and agreed.

So we definitely jumped the gun a little on getting him into organized sports, but no harm has been done since we aren't putting any pressure on him. Just a little wasted money :) Regardless, he looks really cute in his little uniform, and he does have a lot of fun with the drills.


We've had quite a week! A week ago, on Monday, Marcus went out to leave for work and found this in our front yard:
Marcus went on to work and the kids and I stayed home all day with no power (my car was stuck in the garage). The power came on late that same night, but it was a very long day. After Marcus got home from work, I took all our freezer and fridge food to a friends house since the power company didn't plan to have it back up until the end of the next day. Of course when I got home from the 1-hour round trip with all of our food, the power company was there working.

More about our week to come...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Pictures

Click on the link for a slideshow of the boys' Easter pictures: www.heatherswannerphotography.com/wagner