Parenting is full of questions: Is this healthy? Why is the dog jingling? Is it time to call an ambulance?
Sometimes answers are easy. If it glows in the dark, don’t eat it; princess necklaces jingle even when you’re furry; and, if there’s a rock sticking out of your kid’s head, it’s time for the hospital.
With three girls, we’d half-expected our chances of ER visits would be less than if we’d had three boys, but we knew it would happen. It didn’t take long.
Georgia, 2, earned the distinction for our family with a “mishap” last weekend. She was standing on her patio chair trying to see where the dog had pooped in the backyard. Plastic garden chairs are not stable, though, and as she leaned over for a better look, the chair slowly toppled backward.
What made the entire thing agonizing for me was I watched it all happen.
I was sitting across the patio table and it was impossible for me to catch her. She just slowly floated away from me out of sight; I’ll likely never forget that vision.
Such things make me angry. Regardless of what my wife said, punching the door frame repeatedly did help, especially after I pulled Georgia up to find a trail of blood sliding down her cheek and a rock still in her forehead.
According to the helpful nurse on the phone after we called 8-1-1 (yes, 8-1-1), it was the fall that was most concerning. She fell an extra 12 inches, or so, onto cement from our cedar deck.
The nurse was worried about a concussion, but unfazed by our daughter’s stone face. He was an interesting person to speak with.
If you don’t know, 8-1-1 is the “nurse hotline” in B.C. We spoke with a man with an amusing British accent eager to be the next Patch Adams. At one point in the conversation, I took the phone from my wife, Erin, so she could put our youngest to bed.
When I came onto the line, I told Nurse Patch he was talking to me because we’d had to suddenly juggle babies.
“Juggle babies!” he said. “My, word, that does sound dangerous.”
I was so caught up in smashing door frames that he rendered me speechless. At any rate, he said George needed to be seen because she fell from a height greater than her own.
For us, though, it was that ugly gash right along her hairline that had us terrified.
Thankfully, Erin was able to perform a rock-en-dectomy with tweezers.
She also volunteered to drive to the ER while I stayed home with the other two girls. Georgia handled everything like a warrior. She even said, “thank you!” to the automatic doors opening and closing for her at KGH.
The trip also reminded me of something I’ve always thought: everyone should spend a few hours at the ER as a reminder to be thankful for your health.
Erin said the worst part of the entire episode wasn’t watching the ER doc spray medical glue on George’s head to close the cut, it was the poor little girl in the next room.
She must have been five or six, and she was wailing. Erin said it was difficult to make out why she was crying, but it was clear she was exhausted and afraid.
It seemed to my wife this little soul had had enough doctors, that perhaps she was undergoing a painful procedure yet again, and she just wanted it to stop. She was even bargaining. It makes you ill just thinking about it. You have to wonder how parents of sick kids do it. It also made us incredibly thankful our first trip to the ER was over and done with in two hours.