Last Friday was a little chaotic at our house. The boys and I were home in the morning, waiting for Shawn to finish up a few things at work, and then we were all going to head to the farm for the Wirt family Christmas after lunch.
The boys were wild that day. Like animals. At 11, I was tired of refereeing and asking them to calm down so I told them I was going to take a shower and get ready for the party. Here is what I said:
"Stay in your bedroom. Do NOT stand on the beds. Do NOT wrestle on the beds. Do NOT jump on the beds. Do NOT push each other. Do NOT hit one another. Do NOT throw toys. Just play nicely, read books and wait for me to finish."
Clothes Basket Boat Disaster
Pretty simple instructions. Right? Basically, do whatever you want but don't get wild and rowdy on your beds and split your heads open. What I neglected to say was: Do NOT pretend the empty clothes basket is a boat and try and ride it down the side of your bed like you're going over a waterfall.... I don't know how I forgot that one, but I did...
Well.... Toward the end of my shower I heard a big crash followed by a wail like that of a wounded bear. I identified Bo's "I'm in great pain" howl and jumped out of the shower. Mazy was first out of the room: "I didn't do it! It wasn't my fault! I didn't do it, Mama! Don't tell Daddy!"
As I wrapped a towel around me and another around my dripping hair, I yelled for Bo to come into the bathroom and show me where he was hurt. He came in, crying and holding his head. I sat him on the toilet seat and examined him. Blood was flowing from his head, dripping from some kind of wound behind his left ear. I couldn't see the cut very well, with all the blood and hair in the way, so I grabbed a clean washcloth, ran it under the warm water and held it firmly to his head.
Still Not Mazy's Fault...
Bo continued to wail. Mazy continued to shout, "It's not my fault!" Within moments, I had a splitting headache. I gingerly washed his head and took a look. The feeling of panic started in the pit of my stomach and rose quickly when I realized this was a fairly deep cut. It looked like someone had used a chisel to take off a chunk of his skull. It was gross. And it looked like it really hurt. My empathy rose even higher as I tried to soothe my bleeding baby. Fortunately, the bleeding stopped rather quickly, or at least slowed down so it was just seeping a little.
Big Brother ran downstairs for an ice pack (one as big as Bo's head...) and I sprayed the wound with antiseptic numbing spray. We had Bo lie down on his bed with the ice pack and I got him to take some Tylenol.
Then I ran to my room to get dressed. That's when Shawn came home. Thankfully. Honestly, I probably would have sprayed some more stuff on the wound, tried to put a band-aid on it and called it a day. It didn't seem all that bad to me. Of course, I hadn't really gotten a good look at it.
Dr. Daddy, on the other hand, vigorously scrubbed it clean and shaved Bo's head so he could get a good look at it. He immediately wanted to take him to urgent care at one of the medical clinics in the neighborhood for stitches. When I got a better look at it, I could see why. It was pretty deep. And still bleeding if you messed with it. Bo was howling again, this time about not wanting to go to the doctor. I didn't blame him. I felt like howling too.
That's when we had the bright idea to super glue it.
To Stitch or to Glue...
Doctors use super glue all the time. It's much easier and just as effective as stitches for many cuts. Granted, we are not doctors. And they probably don't use the stuff that comes in the little plastic tube that you use to fix broken coffee mugs...
The benefit of actual medical assistance would have ruled out a concussion or something else we might have missed. But we are both familiar with concussions and closely examined his pupils and behavior and were convinced he was not concussed.
I did have another moment of panic thinking about what would have happened if this cut had been on his temple, in his eye, on his mouth, through his cheek... etc. But as a parent, there is no time for "what iffing," you must act decisively and quickly.
So we do what we always do in medical emergencies. We called a relative who is a trained paramedic and sought his advice. I will not divulge his identity as I would never want to get him into trouble. But, he walked us through all the scenarios for stitches versus glue, concussion identification and scarring potentials.
His advice: super glue it. If you can successfully hold the wound closed and glue it together, and it holds and does not bleed and does not become red or inflamed and you are very confident he does not have a concussion, you can probably skip the ER.
So that's what we did.
And the wound stayed shut. It stopped bleeding. It never turned red. Shawn's field dressing was a success. Thank god. Because if it hadn't, there would have been a lot of awkward explaining to do to the ER nurses and doctors.... "Well, you see, we knew duct tape wouldn't work, but we were confident that this super glue would!"
Another parenting milestone... Dec. 30, 2011: the day we avoided the ER by glueing our child's head together...