Monday, July 21, 2008

Pride Goeth after the Fall

Let's see, let's see, what was it about last Thursday that was so exciting?

The fact that Sean decided the best way to rid himself of sand from the sandbox at the pool was simply to discard his bathing suit while strolling across the pool grounds en route to the showers?

No, that's not it, although I believe I had to be resuscitated after I died of embarrassment.

The fact that the pool had to be shocked because of an accident of an unsanitary nature in the diving well?

No, although I am relieved to say that my kids were nowhere in the vicinity when it happened.

The fact that, thanks to her absurdly klutzy mother, Allison ended the day with staples her scalp?

Yeah, THAT'S it.

Let's set the scene: Allie is pitching an enormous fit in our driveway that is showing no signs of abatement. In an attempt to calm her down, I pick her up and carry her through the garage and into the house. I trip over the threshold, fall down, and Allie's head slams into the junction of two adjacent walls.

A quick inspection of her head reveals blood. When I probe the site, my finger slips into a crevice.

After my neighbor, a doctor, confirms that the injury needs stitches, Allie and I race to the ER (Sean stays with my neighbor). We have to wait about 2 hours to be seen, but after an hour Jeff joins us. Allie is a paragon of equipoise the entire time -- the bleeding has stopped, she isn't in a lot of pain, and she seems totally herself ("My head doesn't hurt anymore," she tells me at one point. "We can just go home now.")

I was expecting stitches, but the ER doc explains that staples are used for scalp lacerations because they are faster to put in, don't necessitate hair shaving, and are ultimately less painful.

When the nurse asks Allie to be still while they clean her cut, she says solemnly, "I'll do my best."

Allie gets increasingly upset the more attention is paid to the wound. By the time it's been cleaned and the hair pushed aside, I (deliberately, I confess) catch a glimpse of it myself. Wow, what a bad idea. Now I'm upset again, and the nurse measures my blood pressure to make sure I'm not having a vagal response. Jeff wisely remains in front of Allie, out of viewing distance.

The stapling process is the hardest part. Allie is screaming, and her whole body tremors. But it takes less than 10 seconds and then she is in my arms again. Fifteen minutes later we're home.

We left the hospital with the admonition to avoid swimming until the staples come out in 7 days, along with a staple remover kit for the pediatrician. Seven days without swimming? I think we should also have been discharged with a list of suggested alternative activities. Because NOW what are we supposed to do all week?

Seriously, though, I am relieved that she is okay -- and wracked with guilt that I hurt her. I know it's counterproductive and useless, but I can't help envisioning the accident over and over again.

I have a feeling that the guilt will last longer than the staples.