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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crazy Inspiration

the corner of this counter
#4 cut his ear really badly last night. He fell in the kitchen and hit his ear on the corner of the counter. It's cut all the way through. We ran him across town and got it all stitched up. He was tough through the entire thing. I'm always amazed to watch my children when things like this happen.

One thing I've learned, when someone gets hurt, is that my job, as the mother, is to stay composed--more than composed, calm. I think I become calmer than normal. I start speaking quietly to counteract the crazy vibe that starts to take over our home.  My job is to mellow everyone out. The moment I lose it, all is lost.

As we ran out the door, #5 followed me. I stopped to put my shoes on, and he grabbed me around the waist, "Mom, is he going to be okay? You're going to take good care of him, aren't you?" Tears were running down his face. I hugged him, rubbed his back, and told him everything was going to be just fine. We'd get him to the hospital and they'd know just what to do there.

I was touched by the little brothers strong feelings for his older brother. You know, sometimes in the day to day happenings of life, you start to wonder just how they feel about each other. When something like this happens, there's no question any more.

Things went just fine. As #4 lay there getting all stitched up, I knew my job was to sit next to him, to offer my hand to squeeze as hard as he needed when things hurt, and to distract him. Right before they stuck the needle in his ear to numb it, I started asking him all kinds of questions about his day and about life in general in an attempt to keep his mind elsewhere. He asked me to move so he wouldn't have to watch everything through the reflection in my glasses. I was happy to oblige. I didn't want to watch. They said the cut was about an inch long, so it took quite a few stitches, but all went very well. I felt relieved that he hadn't lost the entire top of his ear.

We got home and everyone was in bed. I'm so grateful for my older children in situations like this--their ability to hold down the fort while the Warden and I are gone.

We got #4 into bed with direct instructions not to sleep on the right side of his head. When he went to bed, it was still numb, but he had some Tylenol on board, so we were hopeful for a good night's sleep.

At 3am, I woke to someone crying by my bed. I was pretty groggy and remember talking to #4 and giving him instructions to "take more Tylenol" and "get some ice" and "go back to bed." He obediently went downstairs. As I lay there, I became more awake and suddenly realized that I'd sent my son, who's hurting, to go take care of himself.  What did I just do?!  What was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn't.

I jumped out of bed, and as I did so, I had the impression, "Put the ice in a sock." Huh? I didn't stop to ponder it, I ran over to my closet, in the dark, and felt around for socks. I rummaged around until I found a white sock and ran downstairs. There was #4 sitting at the kitchen table. Just sitting there. Poor guy.

I went over and got a small ziploc bag out of the drawer, walked to the fridge and filled the bag with crushed ice from the dispenser, sealed the bag closed, stuffed it into the sock and walked over to #4. I wasn't even thinking about what I was going to do from there, but in #4's hands (for no real reason that I'm aware of) was an ace bandage. It was the strangest thing. If you'd been an innocent bystander during all of this, you'd have thought this was something we did everyday. I placed the sock on his ear very gently, he handed me the bandage, and I wound it around his head to hold the sock into place. I reached over, opened a drawer and grabbed some tape out (Ha! I guess the tape IS there sometimes when you need it--tender mercy) and taped the bandage into place.

After giving him some Tylenol, he was set for the rest of the night. He slept very well.

When I went in to check on him early in the morning, he was sleeping on his right side on the sock filled with ice.

I kept him home from school. It seemed in the doctor's instructions that the first 24 hours were the most important. We kept Tylenol in him, and he just laid around. The big concern is to take care of the cartilage. The doctor mentioned "cauliflower ear," which I guess is when the cartilage dies and the ear just flops over. Being a middle schooler's tough enough. I don't think he needs that on top of it. It's just a matter of protecting that ear for awhile, so there will be no P.E., no rough housing, no trampoline, and no soccer game on Saturday. Poor kid.

The doctor had shared this reality with him just after he was stitched up. He was so disappointed. On our way home, he started to bemoan the fact that life was going to be "so boring." I reassured him that it would only be until we went to see the doctor again in a week. As soon as the doctor says it's okay, he could do all of those things again.

We'll see how this week goes. Could be interesting.


Alyson said...

my job, as the mother, is to stay composed--more than composed, calm. I think I become calmer than normal.

I feel exactly the same way, and do just the same thing. I think these are real learning experiences for kids, and help them to appreciate good health more. It's been 7 weeks for Macklin, and he still has to sit at the side of the trampoline while the kids jump and stand at the base of the tree they've climbed and walk slowly behind them as they race across the yard. Is it hard for a 6YO to not be able to be active like he wants to? Sure, but it's just a tiny window of time, and it's for his protection and healing, and he's doing it and not complaining. I'm sure #4 will be just fine during his little period of healing, bless his heart.

Julia Shinkle said...

Interesting how when the things the "define" us change how our perspective changes. Sweet boy.

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