Monday, October 25, 2010

On ERs and Dermabond

I heard the scream but honestly, didn’t think much of it.

You see, our house is a loud house.

My kids are not what you call....quiet.

So when I heard Natalie wail, I just thought, ugh, now what’s happened?

That’s when I saw it.

The blood.

Running down Natalie’s stomach.

I immediately thought to a horrendous scene in The Tudors when a guy was disemboweled. I remember seeing the blood flood down his stomach and I remember covering my eyes because I do not do well with blood.

Which is why I immediately felt faint when I saw it all over Natalie.

“What happened?” I shouted. I scooped her up as the blood trickled onto my fingers.

“It wasn’t me,” Tommy answered.

I grabbed a paper towel. “What’s HAPPENED?” I repeated dramatically. I really wish I could react calmly sometimes. But it’s just not in the cards for me. Like when I thought the car was breaking down I wailed, “What is going ON? What is GOING ON?!” It turns out nothing was wrong with the car, it was just a loud train rumbling past in distance.

“Did you push her?” I snapped at Tommy. “Did you push your little sister?” I pressed a paper towel down on Natalie’s wound.

“I didn’t!” Tommy said.

I managed to get a look at Natalie’s wound. It didn’t look good. It was deeper than any other scrape she had ever gotten before.

“I don’t know what to do,” I mumbled to myself. “I don’t know what to do. Go to the ER? Just slap a band-aid on it?”

Of course I couldn’t get a hold of Tom. If I could, I’d have called him on Skype and lifted Natalie up to the web cam, “Do you think,” I’d have said, “I should take her to the hospital?” I mean, he should know about wounds. I’m sure he was trained in how to take care of them.

But Tom was at work. And in Korea, halfway around the world.

Should I ask the neighbor? Knock on his door, shove Natalie’s gash at him and go, “Excuse me, sir? Should I take my kid to the doctor?” But no, that seemed weird.

I’m a mother, I should KNOW when to take her in to the hospital. Where was that instinct that mothers had? I shut my eyes for a brief second, willing the instinct to come. Nothing happened. The only thing I pictured was chocolate, which was so inappropriate at a time like that.

The only thing I could think of to do was ask my friend Amanda if she thought I should go to the ER.

She arrived a few minutes later and thought that I should go to the ER and offered to take Tommy home with her.

I agreed and bundled Natalie into my car. She wasn’t crying anymore, just sniffling in her seat. There was a band-aid on her gash and every few minutes I would ask Natalie if she was okay. Because then I started to worry that the gash had somehow punctured her lung.

Or....what if she got internal bleeding?

Internal bleeding? I pressed my foot down on the gas. What if she passed out on the drive to the hospital?

She didn’t, thank goodness.

No, instead she started to regale me with her rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. In fact, I almost wanted to tell her to hush by the time I parked in front of the hospital. But I didn’t, because hello, bleeding wound.

I walked into the ER with Natalie in my arms. A part of me wanted to rush up to the check in counter and shriek, “My daughter is BLEEDING and I’m not sure if she’s punctured a lung or has internal bleeding and what if she always has a scar there and blames me?”

I composed myself and calmly told the check in guy what happened. I had to peel back the band-aid so he could see and he winced and went, “Yeah, that might need a stitch.”

Oh God. Natalie would NOT be happy. She’d scream the place down.

We were told to sit in the waiting room—which was empty so I thought, “Hooray, this shouldn’t take long.”


Then it seemed like a button was pressed and all the sick people in Wyoming came barreling in.

There was an old lady who broke her leg.

A newborn with a cough.

A little boy with a sliced finger. (I tried not to throw up when I saw his blood.)

A tween who got a hard knock to the head. (I was sitting beside the check in desk, it wasn’t like I was listening in or anything. I just happened to hear…)

Many of these patients got priority over us so we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And all the while Natalie was acting as though she didn’t have a disgusting gash on her side. She crawled around on the floor, she rearranged some magazines, and she knocked over a display about the hospital.

The people in the waiting room immediately looked over at me when there was a crash.

“Sorry,” I said, putting the display back up. “Sorry. Natalie, how about we sit. Aren’t you in pain? Here, read this AARP magazine.”

“I don’t LIKE this magazine!” (Yes, gone are the days when she’d pronounce like YIKE. I sort of miss it because at least when she was being defiant it sounded a little cute.)

“Here. Have my phone.” I pressed it into her palm.

Why wasn’t she sitting? You’d think after losing a bit of blood that she’d be out of it, but no.

When I felt like I was about to lose my patience all together, we were called back. (Seriously, I was on my last straw, Natalie had leaped from her chair onto me and then tried to run off with my ponytail holder that she had tugged free from my hair.)

“It’s not the best room,” the nurse said and then led us into the psycho room where they put the patients who are crazy. White walls, no windows, bare….

It was a little unsettling. And actually, we had been in the room before. Last year I had to take Natalie to the ER because she had a huge cyst form on her leg. Ugh, Natalie. She was always giving me a heart attack. You’d think it would have been Tommy always in the hospital, always scaring me because the kid literally doesn’t sit still. But no, it’s always been Natalie who has terrified me.

I told the nurse what happened and showed her the wound. “I’ll get a doctor to look but I’ll for sure come back and clean it up before we decide.” Her eyes flicked over to my chest and she looked taken aback. I followed her gaze and realized that I had my Happy Bunny sweatshirt on that said Hi, Loser! on it.


I had rushed out of the house so fast that I didn’t even think about what I was wearing.

We waited around, the doctor checked it out and she felt that it wouldn’t need stitches, that she could use Dermabond.

I thought Natalie would scream when her wound was washed but no, the weirdo laughed because it was ticklish.

The nurse said, “She’s doing great, that’s the worst part.”

But Natalie didn’t agree, because when it came time to put the Dermabond on, she screamed at the top of her lungs.

So obviously she didn’t puncture them.

After that was over, we were told our discharge papers would be given to us quickly...

....and then a half hour later, someone came back with them.

This is her owie all Dermabonded up:

When we finally got home, Natalie started jumping off the couch as though nothing ever happened.

“Natalie,” I said. “Stop it. Do you want to go back to the ER?”

She grinned at me. “I like the ER!”

Of course she does.


  1. Poor Natalie! Did you figure out what caused the gash? I love how you thought of chocolate when you closed your eyes...too funny!!

  2. I was so damn lucky with Skye it wasn't funny. When she had her car crash at 20 and needed stiches and had a broken wrist, I was a weeping puddle. The one and only time she had to go to the ER.

    You're a great mom Amber, she didn't sit idle you reacted. My mother (by the way I'm the oldest of 6) wouldn't react. I learned early on to take care of the kids if they were hurt.

    I'm curious too, if you ever found out what happened. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. Another day in the life with kids! And you all survived it!!! Love your Hi, Loser! sweatshirt and chocolate instincts. In fact, after all that, you deserve a pound of chocolate! =)

  4. oh dear! Glad she didn't need stitches and that it wasn't TOO bad! She sure does sound like a handfull -- you keeping your calm I am sure helped her out a lot! the one time I had to go to the ER my mother was super composed (in front of me anyway) it made me feel like it would all be ok, and I was less freaked.
    So what DID cause the gash?

  5. Did you ever find out what caused it?!

  6. That looks like it will bruise a lot. Ouch! I'd be interested in the story behind this one.

  7. Oh that looks like it is painful. Poor Natalie and poor you. I hate hospitals. Glad she is ok.

  8. I was laughing the whole time I read this! I just imagined you running around holding your daughter up to people, asking if they think it's bad enough to go to the ER. I had to take my son to the ER when he was about 3 months old. I had convinced myself we'd only be there an hour. 3 hours later we were finally able to leave. Unlike Natalie, I do not "yike" the ER.

  9. ick, that gash does look nasty!! HOW on earth did she get it?!

    I am glad both you and Natalie are doing OK!!!

  10. poor natalie.. and YOU!!!
    i woulda freaked if i had been home alone.. would not have really known what to do..

    so i think you handled it wonderfully!!

  11. Nice cliffhanger... what actually happened?! Glad she is ok, though :-)

  12. I'm like you. There is screaming a lot at my house, so I tend to ignore much of it. THANKFULLY I have never had to deal with a gruesome injury. (Knock on wood). We've had plenty of split lips, gashes on the face and scraped knees, but nothing requiring stitches or dermabond. However, I may just be a hot mess if anything requiring ER trips was required. I feel sooooo lucky thus far.

    Loved your rendition of this story. But now you really MUST tell us what actually happened.

  13. OH! Poor girl! I had the same moment when my 3 year old whacked his baby brother in the face with a toy and cut open his eye. I was freaking out b/c I didn't know if I should take him to the hospital or not. I ended up "gluing" it shut on my own and now he has a scar! You made the right choice!

  14. Your life is never sane. And I hate the hospital. It makes me have nightmares of huge bills and collections calls.

  15. Ouch! Poor Natalie! Glad she took it well, though.

    I never know whether a situation is ER-worthy either. I don't want to be one of those moms that takes her kids in for every little thing, but I don't want to be the opposite, either!

  16. Ah yes, the mortally wounded child. I'd have been in panic mode myself.

  17. YIKES! So did you ever find out how it happened?

    Glad she is okay.

  18. So, did you ever figure out what caused it? Mother Panic is totally an approved reaction. My daughter started limping for no reason one day when she was 13 or so months old, and I freaked out...and I'm a nurse, for pete's sake!!!

  19. Chocolate. haha.

    Okay, soo not looking forward to my first ER visit since it's like AN HOUR away.

    Good job mom, you did great and soo happy she is okay!

  20. If you've got kids, you will eventually make a trip to the ER. Congratualations! Hopefully you won't have to do that again, though.

  21. Ers suck. ER bills are worse. I'm glad she's okay!

  22. I had to take my 5 year daughter to the ER for the first time last week. It is so hard to decide if they need the ER or not. Glad Natalie is ok.

  23. Geesh! I'm soo glad that Natalie didn't puncture a lung, I was getting stressed there for a minute.

    How did it happen?

    Glad she's ok and you are too! Did you ever get any chocolate? I would've picked up some on the way home from the ER. :D

  24. Aww you poor thing.. so brave with your husband so far away.

    When in doubt go to the ER, it's what they are there for.

    I do love how you tell your tales.. I hope there is a book on the way.

  25. Yeah that motherly instinct about whether or not to go to the hospital? It has yet to appear for me - and mine is 16.

    Glad she's okay.

  26. Oh my, so glad she's ok, I haven't had to experiene the ER yet with mine, she just turned two but I have had to with my pomeranian baby and the way I acted with my dog really freaks me out of how I'm going to act with her. So did you figure out what caused the gash?

  27. Ugh, I hate the ER! It always sucks. Did you find out how she got hurt?

  28. You are unbelievably good at this blogging thing. Chocolate, punctured lung, Skype, train rumble car trouble, Twinkle twinkle, hello bleeding wound. All laugh out louders. But what did cause the gash? And is she on road to recovery?

  29. Ouch! What happened? So glad she didn't need stitches.

  30. Come on, we all want to know. What caused it?

  31. Wow, that does look pretty nasty!

    It's funny how we should instinctively know what to do when things happen, but of course we don't! LOL

    I'm glad Natalie is doing better!

  32. I do not look forward to the ER visits. Poor Natalie. Did you ever figure out how it happened?

  33. Claire thinks that the ER is awesome. ;)

    Glad everything turned out alright.

  34. The trips to ER (or, as we call it here, Casualty) are what make great memories for kids. They talk about their hospital visits for years.

  35. OUCH!! That gash does look like it should hurt! I'm glad she is ok. Also, I feel your pain of having to wait in the AFB ER.

  36. So, I'm reading the story, and I get to the part where Natalie says she doesn't like the AARP magazine (after all,who could blame her?)and I said to myself, before I even got to the next sentence, "Hey, I thought Natalie didn't YIKE things!" and then I read the next sentence, and I got a little sad. Cuz my kids don't say things like that anymore either, and I kind of miss it.

  37. Oh boy, I'll bet that did sting when they glued it. Poor thing. Did you ever find out how it happened?

  38. To be honest, I'm not really sure what caused it. I'm thinking that Tommy pushed her into a toy and her side hit the edge just right. Or she could have been pushed into our crappy couch that has staples in the back :(

    I was making dinner so I didn't see what happened.

  39. I'm impressed that you were able to keep your composure when you got to the ER. When my youngest, also the one who is always getting hurt, was 4 and busted his forehead open on his bedframe at like 10 o'clock at night, I was a wreck by the time we got to the ER. He screamed bloody murder the whole way there because he was afraid of getting stitches so I burst through the door with him on my hip and my 8 year old by my side, all frantic and shaking and a bundled up mess of nerves, "HE'S BUSTED HIS H-H-H-HEAD OPEN AND I THINK HE NEEDS S-S-S-STITCHES!!!" He calmed down once we sat down and finally got stitches shortly after midnight. I don't know why they didn't offer the dermabond thing...maybe the gash was too big.
    I know what you mean about the pronounces of L's and R's...I'm not even sure when my youngest quit doing that but I miss it. :(

  40. Gah. I would have had about 90 bajillion heart attacks. You did good.

    I think it's good that she likes the ER though. Sounds like she'll be seeing it on a hopefully not-too-regular basis.

  41. I was in total mom panic mode just reading and then seeing the picture.... shivers.

    Glad all is well.

  42. Did you ever find out how it happened? Thank heavens for dermabond though. Sure beats a needle and thread to close it up!! Violet got a nice gash on her chin a couple weeks back, with a little bit of fat hanging out of it and everything (very halloween-appropriate), and the Dr. just put dermabond and that was it! Whew!

  43. Thank God it didn't puncture anything.

    Dang kids and their bleeding.

  44. How on earth did you manage to make an ER story so funny? Glad she's ok :)

  45. I'll have to put the dermabond in the box with the duct tape...

    I'm glad she's on the mend...

  46. I used to threaten my little blond daughter with selling her to a wealthy Sheik who would keep her in his harem. She wanted me to do that. (And yes, she married a Middle Eastern man.)

  47. I have a feeling my youngest is going to be the daredevil in our house too...scares me to death

  48. I am very anxious to find out the cause.

  49. Wow! Your first catastrophe without Tom and you survived! Congrats! I think you deserve chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!

    Glad Natalie is okay by the way!

  50. Yikes, that is a big gash! So glad it didn't need stitches that would have been horrible for both of you. So what caused the chest wound?

    And I agree w/Pat- go getcha some chocolate and don't share it. With anyone. Well maybe the woman who took your son for you but no one else.

  51. Ok, but seriously? How does one get a bloody wound like that on your stomach/side? Was there a knife involved?

    I can totally relate to this whole scenario. My oldest daughter has more gaping wounds in 6 years than I've had in my whole life! I thought boys were supposed to be the rough ones?

  52. OH poor Natalie and poor Mamma! When my son was four, the first time he spend the weekend at his dad's new house, he fell and cut his chin open. They were 1.5 hours away... I thought I would die trying to get to that ER to see that my baby was okay! He was a champ and gave a play by play of the basketball game on the TV while the doctor stitched him up!

  53. Oh my gosh, you did a good job! I would have definitely broke down after everything happened when the kids werent around. I am glad they did the Dermabond instead of regular stitches. I had Dermabond this summer when I got bit by a vampire child at work.. it was far less painful! I hope she is recovering well and I hope YOU had at least 4 Reeses Cups for your awesome mom skills ;) Tom should send you some more chocolate for that!

  54. lmao @ the happy bunny shirt and the chocolate thoughts during an emergency! Those innaproprate little thoughts are what make us interesting. Glad Natalie likes the E.R., it sounds like you two might be visiting there more than YOU would like.

  55. You're an actual legend. Chocolate, a Happy Bunny sweatshirt and your writing style make everything funny. Glad she's OK.

  56. Oh man, your Natalie sounds like my Cole. He's the one who at age 6has already had 2 chipped teeth, stitches in his forehead, staples in the back of his head...the list goes on.

    Did you ever figure out what caused the gash?

    I totally lack that mom instinct that's supposed to switch into high gear at moments like that, as well. I sit there and have conversations with myself, wondering what I should do.

  57. God help those who have to go to the ER!! Glad it was simple to fix even though you had to wait a long time!!

  58. I hate when accidents happen to the kids and I can't get a clear answer of what happened or how. Drives me crazy.
    So sorry she got hurt but what a tropper she is!

  59. Oh my goodness! Poor you, what an ordeal. I think I'd have been freaking out, too. Did you ever figure out exactly what she did (or did I somehow misread that part)?

    I remember when T started pronouncing her 'L' and 'R' sounds properly. . . it's kind of bittersweet.

  60. Glad she recovered quickly, and God bless Dermabond! I was a Pediatric ER nurse for six years, and I loved that glue!!!

    As for the ER wait time, sorry about that, but I always told the parents "you never want your child to be the one everyone rushes to see, because you never want to have the sickest child".

    I second everyone else too, how in the world did she get that gash? It's so weird!

  61. Glad she's okay, but what the F*@k happen?

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  63. Ah! Gotta love that dermabond! Elayna got a lovely gash on her forehead from her sister slamming the cupboard door at just the wrong moment. I thought she'd need a couple stitches but was SO relieved when they brought out the glue! We were the only ones at the ER that night but we were still there over 2 hrs. I can't imagine ever having to go to the ER with a kid with DH gone. Glad she's not hurt worse and hope they both stay healthy for the rest of the year!

  64. Even as a Peds nurse, I get completely retarded when my own kids are sick!
    Blood can be a very scary thing if you aren't used to it, but you did everything you should have. Glad Natalie survived, and lived to jump off the couch another day!


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