Thursday, September 1, 2011

All in stitches

Casualty of War?
stitches day 4
I wish I could say we got to see one amazing sparring match and that Chi was the victor... but this injury wasn't the result of a match. Nope, class hadn't even started when Chi collided with another student. He has a golf-ball sized bump on his forehead, and Chi? Well, she cut her eye just below the brow.

I was outside the building when it happened (again, class had not started). I walked in to see my baby covered - yes, covered - in blood. Her eye was swollen, she was crying, and her whole body quivered in shock. It took forever for someone to get ice. The bleeding would not stop. It took everything in my being to avoid freaking out. I admit that I might have freaked out in my head and subsequently gone into a state of shock. Master was convinced we'd be okay without stitches, but I sought advice from Oma who insisted we go to emergency.

We ended up, instead, at Urgent Care (a subsidiary of the hospital system), and the very nice doctor insisted we consider the cosmetic damage to my daughter's face should we let nature heal her without assistance. Dr. J determined sutures were the optimum fix, but Chi determined no needle would touch her face. He obliged her fears by trying to close up the gaping slit with medical tape. It didn't look at all effective. I determined (on his almost adamant suggestion) that stitches were the only viable option to restore my baby's face to pre-accident conditions. Chi protested.

I think my mind is blocking out the ensuing battle. Chi was told to lay on the hospital bed. She did, but then proceeded to loose grip with sanity. Her body writhed on the table, her head thrashed from side to side, and she began to shake as tears streamed from her eyes. I think she might have screamed... more than once. She began a verbal tirade that was painful to hear. She was in absolute panic.

Dr. J proceeded to administer the numbing shot around Chi's eye calmly countering her shouts with his soothing voice. "I won't lie," he said. "This will sting. There's no way to get around it. But, you wont feel anything after it." Despite the anesthetic completely eliminating all feeling for Chi, she still insisted that she was in searing pain. The soft towelette used to absorb the ooze (that made me queasy enough to need to lean on the gurney for support) caused Chi to thrust her torso up as she tried in vain to flee. "No needles. No! I've changed my mind. Just let me have the scar. No needles!" she screamed.

At this point, my mom tried to escape from the lobby. She heard Chi through the thin walls. Feeling helpless, she could not bear to be in the vicinity. Unfortunately, the hour was drawing late as Chi struggled against the doctor, and the receptionist had locked Oma inside.

Dr. J was patient long after I, too, had decided to forgo the stitches. Clearly Chi was not going to allow him to touch her and I could not bear him trying to get a needle anywhere near her delicate eye while she was convulsing and thrashing uncontrollably. He persevered, however, and the nurse held her kicking legs while I stroked her face and leaned against her arms. I demanded she close her eyes and chanted "Close your eyes. Relax. Calm down, Chi." Over and over.

Chi began her own chant. "Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts." And just as I thought she'd calmed enough for a safe process, she thrashed one last time and hollered, "I have no happy thoughts!"

At this point, I can only assume mental exhaustion set in. She settled her body then and mumbled at random: "I'm going to college... I'm getting a scholarship... All A's... A red car... I'm going to be an artist..."

I inquired, "What kind of car, Chi?" The nurse added, "I have a red car."

She continued to rattle off her life list and anything else that popped into her head as she tried to self-soothe her fears away.

Despite my churning stomach, I forced myself to watch as he threaded the curved needle, punctured her skin and weaved the three black stitches near her brow. The scissor like tool he used to knot each suture clicked as he worked. The minutes ticked away slowly. Then, finally, he inspected his handy work as he wiped her brow. He nodded his head. "You were smart to get the sutures," he said to Chi and she opened her eyes.

"Did he start yet?" she asked nonchalantly as though we'd simply been standing around staring at her. "I didn't feel anything. All I hear is clicking."

The nurse chuckled (silently, so as not to make fun of Chi, but her shoulders shook and the bright smile told of her amusement.

And as Chi climbed down from the bed, Dr. J said in an aside, "You'll want to come back in five to seven days to have them removed, Mom."

It felt like a terrible phone call from the "Ring:"

SEVEN DAYS... dial tone....

1 comment:

Amarie said...

Poor Baby Girl! So brave! I can imagine how you must have felt. My three have had me in the E/R for everything from dislocated shoulders, fingers squashed in doors, and 2 broken arms (same child.broke both her the same time). Hope she gets better soon!