The sound of her head hitting the sidewalk… I can still hear it. As if it keeps happening. Over and over.
Don’t look at her face. Then you’ll see the damage. Then you won’t be able to deny that something terrible just happened.
So I picked her up as she screamed but kept her face turned away from me as I handed her to M.
He snuggled her into his shoulder. But just for a second before turning her towards me to make an assessment. Ignorance and all its bliss about to come to a swift end.
The bump was gigantic. And growing. Miraculously, no bleeding. But oh that bump. I’d never seen one so awful looking. It grew larger and larger, second by second.
We sat with her for a moment, tried to calm. Her and us. But it was useless. She was in pain and we were terrified.
Quickly to the car. Quickly to the ER.
Waiting. Crying. Ice packs.
Did she lose consciousness?
Did she vomit?
Did she cry right away?
All good signs. And yet, breathing still did not come easily.
Terrible thoughts live in the ER. Will she be ok? How much pain is she in right now? Is this a lasting damage kind of thing? Why are we even here? How could we have prevented this? Why did we not keep her safe? Can we turn back time? Just an hour? Just to right before this happened so we can stop it?
And then come the decisions. Decisions live in the ER too. The really tough kind that overwhelm in their complexity. No decision ever seems like the right decision in the ER.
24 hours of monitoring? Or a CT scan?
Wake her up every other hour over night and take the chance that something might be terribly wrong, lying under the surface, only to present itself later in a terrible experience at home? Or expose our tiny one to radiation and force her to endure a terrifying trip through ‘a big doughnut’ which we all know is not at all as fun as it sounds?
Take a chance? Or know for sure?
These moments. They are some of parenthood’s toughest. Because what do you do when you want to do what is best for your child and none of the options seem adequate, let alone best?
Well, it turns out, you follow your child’s lead.
We opted for the CT. We opted to be sure (after two lengthy discussions with the infinitely patient ER doctor).
But our girl? She would not lay down in that machine. She wouldn’t touch it, she wouldn’t look at it, and she would not lay still on it.
So we left, with pages of instructions on 24-hour monitoring. And we monitored. Watched her every move all afternoon and woke her every 2-3 hours overnight.
And you know? She was fine. No concussion, no signs of further damage. The bump even began to shrink so that by the next morning, it was no more visible than any normal bump or bruise she gets on any normal day from any normal fall.
But the terrible thoughts? And the awful decisions? The mark they made does not heal nearly as quickly.
This happened almost 4 weeks ago. I’m just able to write about it now. Our girl is fine, well out of the danger zone and the bump has completely gone away. We are lucky. And incredibly grateful to the doctor and nurses at Virginia Hospital Center. Once again, you have made an ER experience as calm as it possibly could be. Thank you.
linking up with Shell. Join us and Pour Your Heart Out.
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