Friday, June 15, 2012

Can You Tell Me What Happened?

Yesterday, I was working from home when I got a phone call from the Boys and Girls Club.  “This can’t be good,” I thought to myself.  P goes here after school, and while the calls are very few and far between, I still tense up at any caller id from his whereabouts (based on years of calls during elementary school).

An unexpected call from here can only mean he either behaved inappropriately or he got hurt.

And option number two it was.

While playing basketball with another boy, a third thought it would be funny if he pushed Boy #2 into P.  Boy #2 lost his balance, barreled towards P, and head butted him in the mouth.  Boy #2 falls to the ground and starts crying in pain, while P’s lip starts bleeding.  

Upon closer look, it was decided a call home to mom was needed. 

When I got there, I wasn’t sure what I was going to find.  They had warned that he might need a stitch, so I figured there would be blood.  As I walked into the facility, I could see P sitting with an ice pack on his lip.  I approached, and then, as if in slow motion, he removed the pack to reveal pile of bloody ground beef that made me recoil in horror.  My stomach turned ever so slightly, but I sucked it up and took a step closer to see what the damage really looked like.

It looked worse up close.  It was deep and ran the length of his bottom lip, front to back.  The bottom lip had also puffed to twice its size, making it look almost comical.  After the second look, I again backed up, this time to flap my hands and make gagging sounds.  It was all very entertaining for the audience, who had already had their fill of the grisly sight.  Poor P just stood there, looking like he was barely holding it together.  My brave boy.

After a quick call to the pediatrician and explaining what happened, they directed me to the ER, where a plastic surgeon could be called, should he be needed.  Turns out lips aren’t the easiest to repair.  I gave a silent prayer that we wouldn’t need a plastic surgeon, because this accident was already going to cost us an arm and a leg.  And a lip. 

When all was said and done, we came away with two stitches and no plastic surgeon.  It was all very straightforward: check-in, triage, stitches, check out.   As far as ER visits go, it was ho-hum.

But there was the the constant CHILD ABUSE line of questioning that is worth mentioning.

I counted 6 instances of being asked these words: “Can you tell me what happened?”  The first time, it was while on the phone with the pediatrician.  When I called and told them my son has busted his lip, they didn’t care that he was bleeding, unconscious or dead.  Their first question was, “how did it happen?”  I barely noticed this, since it was only the first of the six times.  The second time they asked, they wanted to know more specifics of the events.  I thought they were just being thorough.  But then in ER, when the guy who took our name asked, my radar went up.

In triage, again, we gave the story.  It was at this point, the triage nurse received a phone call and took a moment to answer it.  Here’s how her conversation went:

“Yes, I’m doing it right now.  Playing basketball.  No, it’s ok.  Yes, you know I’d tell you right away if I thought so.  Sure, thanks.”

Suddenly, I’m feeling a little uncomfortable.  All along, I’ve been “under suspicion”.  With this realization, my next thought flies to, “P, you better not decide to joke about us doing this to you.”  And now my silent prayer has switched to one that hopes he doesn't decide to go Stand-Up Comedian on me.

We made it through two more interrogations before they seemed satisfied and dropped the inquisition.  And fortunately, the devilish thought didn’t occur to P until after the stitches had been completed and we were alone.   I didn’t hesitate to nip that impulse in the bud.  Once I explained to him the gravity of what his joke could lead to, he mulled it over and decided to refrain from joking.

On a side note, he was a complete trooper about the shots and stitches.  He never freaked out, not even when they covered his eyes with gauze and placed a surgical drape over his head and body, leaving only his mouth and nostrils exposed.  I even caught him signalling SOS with his nostrils.  This made the doctor laugh, which only encouraged him to perform some more.  By the end of the visit, I had to give him a mean look and tell him to knock it off.

At that point, he says to me:  “Mom, you do look kind of mean.  Especially wearing that jacket.  I can see why they kept asking what happened.  Do you have any chapstick?”

I’ll say one thing about him, the boy is resilient.

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