Monday, February 6, 2012

Perhaps the bloodiest, most traumatic 20 minutes of my children's young lives

We finally...finally...had our first family visit to the Emergency Room.  And no, it wasn't because Andrew jumped off a roof with a homemade Batman suit constructed from fabric and LEGO blocks, like I'd suspected would bring us there.

I was in my bedroom, putting away laundry, and I heard Simone scream from the next room.  A bone-chilling scream like I'd never heard from her, and I ran in there to see her covered in blood.  Covered.  Hair already dripping red, hands like she'd dipped them in paint, and soaked through her clothes.  Blood was squirting (squirting!) from a wound in her forehead, but I couldn't tell yet what all might be bleeding.

I could figure out that she'd knocked her head into the wall - but why all the blood?

I ripped open a pillowcase and tied it around her head and started searching her body for more wounds.  She was just staring at her bloody hands, still crying in terror.  

I called my dad and asked him if I should drive to an ER or call an ambulance...how serious might this be?...and he said driving, but we should definitely get it looked at.  

When we came downstairs, Jack saw Simone covered in blood and started crying too.  I have rarely seen him panicked (I can't even think of another example right now), and apparently, he thought she might die because there was so much blood.  For full disclosure, that was my initial thought when I saw her.

I kept my calmest Mom-Voice and kept saying, "She's going to be okay.  We just need to get her to the hospital.  We just need to get to the hospital."

When Andrew heard that part, HE started crying too.  It wasn't until almost 10 minutes later that he could finally communicate his fear: "If Simone goes to the hospital, is she going to die like Grandma Lynn?"

And for the first time in the bloody, cry-filled chaos, I realized that my sweet-hearted little child thought that if you get a head injury and go to the hospital, you will die.  Like Grandma Lynn. My mom's last two weeks were initiated by breaking open her head when she fell in my parents' garage.

So my intentions of soothing them with going to the hospital created this traumatic moment for them that I didn't anticipate.  Yes, they know she had Muscular Dystrophy and that a "disease was eating her body."  But their short lives had taught them if you break open your head and you're taken to the hospital, you will die.

Oh my goodness, the gravity of steering tiny young souls through the newness of life. 

Once I could assure them that Simone absolutely-positively WOULD NOT DIE from her head...that she just needed to be sewn up, and that actually was going to be pretty interesting (sewing human skin?)...the boys were able to calm down and focus on being the sweetest, most gentle, loving brothers history has ever seen. 

Simone needed, apparently, to have the blood washed off her hands.  Because once we cleaned her up, she moved into completely calm mode and never blinked from that.  Not even when they wrapped her up and started sewing into her.   The team suturing her said they had never seen someone (adult or child) lie so still while getting stitches.  

I have no idea what created that calm in her, but I will forever be grateful for it.

The added benefit to all this:  I think a lot of healing happened in their idea that hospitals are where you go to die.  That doctors also save people there. Or just give 8 stitches to a little girl who conked her forehead on the corner of a closet door.

It's been quite a day.

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