Yesterday was one of those days that sticks with a person.
Carson was climbing the tree in my parent’s backyard yesterday while we were all enjoying some pool time with Jen Altig and Sarah Sykes (and respective children).
He started with an, “Owwwowwwowww!…” and then began the blood-curdling screams that stop a parent’s heart. In my case, they stop the parent. I froze. I was in deep thought. “He’s really hurt. That’s a real scream. What’s wrong? He’s not that high. Is he stuck? Is there a beehive up there?” It all happened in a split second, but everyone else had started moving.
I’m still not exactly sure what actually happened up there, but when I reached the tree, blood was pouring out into a puddle at my feet. His back was to me, so I couldn’t immediately identify the source. And I never would’ve guessed this. I unhooked him from the forked branches by lifting him a little higher, and when I set him down I finally saw it. Part of me wanted to pass out, part of me wanted to throw up… the skin was folded back, with fat attached to it, hanging open and bloodied. I couldn’t think. I called out to Jen, a nurse, who was already standing there, calmly asking me to get a towel.
Ok., you made it to the funny part.
He wasn’t crying, only screaming. And now he was yelling, “I”m going to die! I”m going to die!” Jen was assuring him he would not be dying today, wrapping his arm and asking me if I had a first aid kit. A what? I don’t know. Do we? Is it yellow? Would it be in the bathroom? The garage? The car?
She said I would need to take him to Thunderbird’s E.R.. “But I don’t have time!”, Carson yelled, “I’m think I’m going to die!”
“You’re not going to die!”
“Yes, I am!”
Jen wrapped his arm in gauze, wrapped a clean wash cloth over the top of that, and taped it snugly for the ride. My contribution: I thought he should have a shirt on, because I’m a Mom, and felt weird about him being shirtless in public. So I found a tank-top and popped it down over his head, and threaded his good arm through the hole. Apparently, if even one nipple is almost covered, I feel like modesty has been served. Aubrey was in his bed looking for a comforting animal to take with him to the hospital and, in true journalistic form, she grabbed her diary and a pencil. I have a camera phone.
Oh, this was to be a well. documented. event.
As I hung up with Justin in the car, I told Carson his Dad would be meeting us there.
“To watch my death?” He asked.
When you walk into an E.R., it’s like being the next contestant on a show. Everyone stares, sums you up. I knew we were being mentally triaged by those who had already been sitting there for hours, to see if they would still hold their place or drop back. We had to be a sight. A little boy with blood running down his leg (punctured in the tree; I hadn’t seen that one, yet), a wash cloth taped to his arm, and a cock-eyed shirt bunched up at his neck, a woman with his blood on her, and a little girl with wild curls, scribbling in a book as she walked. As soon as blood was spotted, the harried, one-woman-admittance-show pointed and shouted, “Is that blood?!?” I expected lights. Sirens. Security. Thankfully, we were taken back immediately by a very nice guy to whom Carson, with big, honest eyes quietly asked, “Am I going to die?”
He was a trooper. And I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom. The team that was working on him were commenting to each other. He was serious. After his arm had been x-rayed, his doctor, a P.A. and a tech came in to tell him they were going to start working on his wounds. “So”, he asked, “did you get the results of my x-rays, yet?” They all stopped and smiled and looked at each other. “Yes”, the doctor said, “we did.” “So, no fractured bones, then?” Carson asked. Another round of smiles. “Nope, no fractures, buddy.”
Even on Morphine and Ketamine, he was awake for the last 70% of the procedure. He had a P.A. sewing up his leg, two techs assisting, one nurse administering the drugs, the doctor working on his arm, and his mother leaning over them all to take pictures with her phone. (I admitted it was creepy, and all but the very honest Tech named Nick were quick to argue that it was normal. Nick agreed it was indeed, creepy.)
As they worked, he answered their questions about dinosaurs and what he had learned in school that day. (“Stuff I already know” was his answer. Punk.)
When he was all stitched up the team wished him well and complimented him on his bravery. The doctor gave us some parting information and as they filed out of the room, Carson called out, “Thanks, guys!”
And I feel grateful, too. Grateful it wasn’t worse. Grateful Jen was there when it happened. Grateful for my husband and parents’ presence in the hospital, grateful for a team of people who were very comforting and kind to him, and grateful that he says he feels good today.