My Dad is retired Fire Department, and as most people know the Fire Department is the first response to an emergency. I learned from a very young age that we never, ever call an ambulance unless our leg was partially severed and or one of our eyeballs had rolled out onto the floor. Even then, we might drive ourselves to the Emergency Room.
But in general, the Emergency Room was to be avoided at all costs. I was only there once as a child, and only then because my friend Jason split my head open when he accidentally wacked me with a garden hoe. (explains a lot, doesn’t it?)
Later, when my brother became a paramedic, he echoed my parents’ sentiments: we do not call 911 or go to the emergency room unless it is a real emergency. People who go to the emergency room and are turned away with all their body parts in tact should be ashamed.
I tell you all this by way of explaining why I was so proud of having never been to the emergency room with my 3 children. I used to like to brag that in the ten years since Thomas was born, we had never experienced anything so traumatic that it couldn’t wait until the pediatrician’s office opened. You would think I had something to do with it–as if I was single-handedly preventing broken bones and head injuries. But no.
Now the streak is broken. And as if to mock my false pride, the streak did not die quietly. In the past two weeks we have been to the ER twice, and for good measure we’ve also made an “emergency” trip to the dentist. For good measure, today just happens to be only the second day the kids have been back on John’s insurance plan. I’m sure they love us.
It all started when Thomas ran smack into our stair banister the night before Thanksgiving (when they were still on my insurance plan). Despite the obvious gash above his eye, we walked him a few doors down to our neighbor (who is also a nurse) to verify that it was okay to skip a trip to the ER. “Nope,” she said, “He needs stitches.” And that was the beginning of the end. I have to say, though, that we had a wonderful experience at the UK Pediatric ER. John took him and was back within an hour with a brand new kid (and a little of that fancy doctor glue to hold the cut together). Can you even believe how fast that was?!
Well, it was bound to happen at some point, we thought. But I didn’t think that meant ALL three of them would have emergencies! Wednesday night Henry started complaining about his tooth hurting and when I looked inside I saw a dark place where some of his tooth used to be. So then yesterday we went straight to the dentist after school and sure enough he had chipped the tooth and it had to be filled. Thank goodness for our awesome dentist who used some “sleepy juice” (Novocaine) and fixed it up fast.
Then today I get a call from the kids’ school to come pick them up because Cate had fallen in the gym and they didn’t want to put her on the bus because her nose was bleeding. Okay, I thought, that seems reasonable. (Well, actually, at first I argued with them that it would be okay to put her on the bus with a box of tissues, but they declined). Only when I got to the school, I saw that Cate’s eyes were glazed and she wouldn’t talk. Her nose was swollen and she seemed very confused. They had me wait in the office until the gym teacher could come to tell me what happened and they could file an accident report. (Random side note: I was friends with the gym teacher in college) She strongly urged me to take her to the doctor–and then call back to let the school know the prognosis. To be honest, on my way to the school I had every intention of just taking her home and letting her watch some cartoons. But, eh, okay, if they say so I’ll call the doctor’s office. Then the nurse at the doctor’s office dropped the hammer: take her straight to the ER. Don’t let her fall asleep on the way.
Right here is where you are expecting a nightmarish story of me, alone with all 3 kids, waiting in the ER while my daughter drifts in and out of consciousness. But to be truthful, it wasn’t that bad. I did have all 3 kids with me, but that turned out to be helpful because it was Henry’s job to keep her awake during the drive over, and Thomas’ job to hold my stuff (keys, wallet) in the ER. Despite a waiting room full of people, we were taken straight back to be seen and within an hour we were back in our car. She has a mild concussion, which just means we have to watch her for signs of a more severe one, and the doctor suspected a slight fracture to her nose/palate but they didn’t want to do x-rays because there is nothing they could do about it anyway and her nose was still in alignment.
Basically, we walked out with all our body parts. So despite all the trouble and the insurance drama, the only thing to come out of our visits to the ER was the end of The Streak. Well, that, and this tension headache I have now that it’s all over and I know she’s okay.