I feel like I’ve legit got my parent card now.
I’ve taken a kid to the emergency room.
In the middle of nowhere.
It’s a hipster story too. Ironic and whatnot. And with mommy angst.
But it is ironic because, well, I’m getting ahead of myself. And really, the irony part is barely any of the story.
We’re on vacation in Southern California. The present leg of the trip has taken us to Borrego Springs, desert middle of nowhere, San Diego County. Jim’s dad rented a house for the week for us all to hang out in peace, relaxation, and lack of civilization. It really is beautiful here. The barren hills and desert vegetation are stunning against the clear blue sky. The layout of the house is open and the amount of natural light is near-staggering. Of course there’s a pool in the back yard. Said back yard backs up to a golf course. It’s quite perfect as quiet vacation spots go. Except that the nearest Emergency Room is about 60 miles away. Since those are apparently necessary to the raising of my offspring.
After spending a great deal of the day in the pool, we ate a delicious meal of spaghetti (if I do say so myself), and adjourned to the patio to enjoy the evening breeze. Since the backyard consists mostly of patio and pool, my children require more than the usual amount of running space per child, and running laps around pools can easily result in a trip to the ER, I opened the gate between the small strip of yard and the gold course. To prevent a trip to the ER.
It was an adorable few moments: 3 partially clad sun-kissed toddlers laughing and running together in an almost endless expanse of lawn. Levi and Emberleigh raced each other. From time to time, Levi would let his sister win. I must be doing something right. Chivalry is not completely deceased. Molly meandered along behind. The shape and size of her legs and belly prevent running per say. Here’s where is gets tricky. Levi grew bored with the race and began tossing his new Lightning McQueen into the grass and running to find it. Miss Moo sauntered into the trajectory of the red Disney Pixar action figure. It made contact with the lovely little forehead, which is evidently hard enough to remove a race car’s spoiler.
I saw the whole thing in slow motion. It has been playing on a loop in my head ever since.
- Boy throws car.
- Car hits sister.
- Sister ends up in emergency room. Ok. Too fast. Rewind.
- Sister falls on her plump little behind, bleeding profusely from head wound.
Jim momentarily acquired super powers and within seconds was scooping her up and running to the house. Wearing white shorts. In what felt like an eternity but in reality was most likely minutes, pressure was applied to the (sniff) tiny noggin to staunch the flow of life. A bit dramatic, I realize, but when you see blood dripping from the face of your real, live Fisher Price Little People child, moments before the mommy-adrenaline activates, a tiny part of you gets caught in your throat and you are unable to move for a fraction of a second.
Jim’s dad, also Jim Fitzgerald, or Old Man Jim, brought with him an extensive first aid kit, much better than the box of bandaids in my purse. With towels, gauze, and pressure, we got the bleeding stopped. Jim and his dad, who know the area, having spent a great deal of time on summer vacations in the region, Googled and phoned various nearby health care facilities, locating the nearest and most easily accessible.
It may have been the longest ride of my life. Since the wound was to poor Moo’s head, I kept her awake the whole time, a feat not easily accomplished since her bedtime had long since passed and the movement of the truck nearly lulled her to sleep. Thanks to a weak cell signal and the Netflix app on my smartphone, Yo Gabba Gabba entertained our little patient till we arrived at the hospital in Brawley.
As emergency room visits go, it was best case scenario. The staff was pleasant and efficient. Very few others were waiting to be treated. Great amounts of paperwork graced not the agenda. A male nurse strolling the halls handed out stickers and lollipops to the kids in various stages of emergency treatment giving my brilliant 2 year old something to count and explore while waiting to hear her name called.
I had to look away as the nurse cleaned the opening in my daughter’s face. I still feel a shudder when my mind recalls the sight. With all the blood, sweat, and dust cleared, it was deeper than I had realized beforehand. I held her hand supportively as I faced the other way. Which would have helped except that my darling husband Jim exclaimed, “O, Molly! I can see your brain!”
I still have not cried. All that emotion waits just below the surface and is hanging on until I am too tired to deal any longer. I feel as if the adrenaline that coursed through my body lent me temporary super-abilities in the emotional and mental departments and has left me tired and emotionally resembling a dishrag. I felt so incredibly capable at the time. Now, it’s like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve been watching Molly closely to be sure that in the rough and tumble play that inevitably occurs between my 3 healthy children, a blow to the head does not re-open the wound. After gluing it shut, this was one of the few things the doctor instructed us to beware of. And, no. My baby did not need stitches.
So I have been on my toes. Some of you have seen my children play. Opening an existing wound is a distinct possibility.
I am also not to let her get the glue wet for the first 72 hours. My filthy, playful child cannot be bathed in the traditional sense. Sponge bathing my toddler is a bit like attempting to grease a live fish. And she is a big fan of getting dirty. I may not put sun screen or ointment on her face. This poses a bit of a situation seeing that we are in the blazing desert and my child has rather severe eczema. But I deal. And I keep her inside, out of the sun. Since she’s not supposed to sweat on it either.
It only took me 2 days to write this post. What does that tell you?
So ‘thank you’ to Jim Fitz Sr.
To my husband.
To my little sister Kyleigh.
And the Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley, CA.
And to my bed.
It misses me.
I can hear it calling to me.
Along with the mindless novel on my Sony eReader.
Which I wish would kick the bucket so I can justify getting a Nook.