I woke up to a September Saturday morning and just knew it would be a good day. I felt the crisp air and saw leaves had fallen from my maple tree. I was in heaven. It felt like fall. I had thought the prior crisp air Saturday was going to be a good day too until the almost a teenager received a kick in the ribs, the boy fell on his head and got concussion and I had to spend a very long day in the ER. Today, however, I knew would be different. The boy was not playing soccer for a few weeks and the almost a teenager was feeling much better. Today, we would enjoy her game and I would finally get my happy fall day.
I arrived at the almost a teenager’s soccer game with the injured boy in tow. As we sat to watch the game I noticed that the other team was quite aggressive and much, much meaner, I was sure, than my sweet, petite almost a teenager. My daughter’s team managed to hold its own however, but not before an aggressive mean girl kicked her in the back. Insisting that she was fine, the almost a teenager continued playing, only to then mess up her pinkie finger as well. At the end of the game she collapsed on the side of the field and rolled over to reveal a size 8 cleat print on the back of her uniform shirt. She looked at me and said, “Mom, I really don’t feel good. My back and pinkie hurt a lot.” Oh, dear. That sounds serious. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen on my happy fall day. It was supposed to be good day.
In the car, the almost a teenager yelped in pain anytime the car went over a bump or turned a corner. The pain continued to worsen during our hours of waiting at the local Urgent Care and our subsequent wait at the hospital ER. 8 hours later we arrived home with her pinkie in a splint, blood in her urine and our family’s very first “kidney trauma”. I’m not usually a nervous mother but after spending two consecutive weekends in the ER I do believe I have no choice but to become one. I’ve also become a smarter mother. In my two weekends spent dealing with soccer injuries and waiting rooms and medical tests I’ve learned quite a few things.
The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned During My Injury Filled Weekends
1. DYE=HEAD There are two different ways of getting a CT scan--with or without an IV that allows for contrasting dye to be injected into your body. Getting the IV and dye is always more impressive and provides more bragging power with your siblings. Apparently, however, a CT scan of your head, even if it is without dye, is also quite impressive and appears to be equal in CT scan bragging power.
2. FREAK OUT It is possible to freak out an almost a teenager. Give her CT scan with injectable dye. Tell her that it will make her feel like she is going to pee. Don’t tell her that it will make her feel like she has ALREADY peed. Then sit back and watch her eyes get big, her head repeatedly rise to look down at her hospital gown and her hand repeatedly feel “down there” because she is absolutely convinced she has peed the hospital gurney.
3. RED=TWO The boy received his own hospital bracelet and due to his young age (<12) also received two free parent bracelets for the husband and I to wear. The almost a teenager received only her own hospital bracelet (12+). However she was also the lucky winner of a “state trauma patient” bracelet with a bright red stripe on it. On the black market of sibling hospital bracelet trading, the red trauma bracelet is just about equal to two parent bracelets.
4. CHEW TOY It doesn’t matter what color your hospital bracelet is, it is just as easily played with, chewed up and hidden by a kitten who has no knowledge or respect as to what valuable scrapbook material those bracelets are.
5. TWO FOR ONE It doesn’t make you a bad mother if you sit and wonder how much a CT scan will cost you while your child is in pain, in the next room, with strangers, having a space age machine buzzing over his head. Likewise, it doesn’t make you a bad mother if you sit and wonder, the very next weekend, if the hospital offers a two for one discount on CT scans while your second child is in pain in the next room, with strangers, having a space age machine buzzing over her body and her worried she’s peed the bed.
6. THE LAW OF SPEEDING When transporting children to the ER by passenger car, the rate of travel is in direct proportion to how loud the child is moaning in the back seat and if she mutters the word “crap” every time you go over a parking lot speed bump. If the child also refuses a parental bribe of a bacon cheeseburger and fails to remember anything that has happened in the last two hours, the rate of travel will naturally increase as well.
7. WATCH YOUR MOUTH It isn’t always the best idea to tell the registration nurse, the triage nurse, the admitting secretary, the really hot 24 year old orderly, the familiar CT scan lady, the cranky bedside nurse, the doctor, the lab technician, the x-ray technician, the security guard, the housekeeping lady, the naked elderly man one curtain over and everyone in the waiting room that this is your second weekend in a row your children have shown up at the ER with injuries from their “soccer games”. Sooner or later someone is bound to suspect that you are a child abuser. It’s much smarter, of course, to just announce it to thousands of people in your blog.
8. THE WAITING GAME An almost a teenager has the capacity to rush to her fallen brother on the field, comfort him and help him off the field. She will skip her friend’s birthday party and sleepover to stay with him. She will keep him from falling asleep on the way to the hospital. She will wait patiently by his bedside, telling him funny stories the whole time. She will comfort the mother while the boy is having tests. She will hold the boy’s hand as they leave the hospital assuring him that he was so very brave. And when they arrive home, she will tattle on him when he immediately wants to climb the tree. An 8 year old boy has a bit less capacity to be sympathetic to his almost a teenager sister. He was playing with the other little brothers, not watching the game, when she was injured. He impatiently announced with a huff, that he was definitely going to need a parental bacon cheeseburger bribe before the sister went to Urgent Care. After 10 minutes in the waiting room he whined, “How much longer is this going to take?” When the husband arrived, the boy with the concussion begged and pleaded with him to, “Take me home so I can belly skateboard with my friend Bubba down his driveway.”
9. LUCKY No matter how bad off you think your situation is, there is always someone worse. My heart goes out to the boy with the burned face. I think about the cancer patient, the woman who couldn’t breathe, and the man with the broken leg. I pray for the lady who couldn’t feel her feet, the man who didn’t know his name and the baby that just wouldn’t stop screaming. And my nose was so, so, so grateful that the woman who had used her pants as a toilet for the last week, finally got a change of clothes.
10. CHECKMATE! In my effort to find safer activities for the children I have discovered that the World Chess Federation (Federation Internationale des Echecs) can be reached at www.fide.com. Not only is all physical contact forbidden in chess matches but, according to section 5 of the official chess handbook found at the above website, “The Chess Organization shall guarantee medical treatment and medicines for all participants…and shall insure them against accidents and the need for medical services…” You can’t beat that. I’m sure the children will be thrilled.
Check This Out!
Described as opinionated, forthright in his views, and a dazzling hero of political incorrectness, Jeremy Clarkson, the host of the UK auto show Top Gear has the husband laughing ‘til he cries. Look for his video segments on You Tube and see if you, like the husband, can find cars and British people that darned funny.