Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Calling Dr. Parent. Calling Dr. Parent.

Who Gave That Child A Knife?


In the proud tradition of nearly all the women in my family, I thought I had ground out my husband’s penchant for hypochondria by our seventh year of marriage. No longer did he complain about various aches and pains, knowing that it would yield no sympathy, no respite from the duties and joys of marriage.

However, the syndrome I thought I had eliminated apparently had merely lay dormant all those years. When Sonny Boy was born, it emerged in a virulent, altered, misshapen form. Though HOB (Husband of Betty) could no longer arouse my sympathy for his perceived ailments, he could bring to my attention various ailments that might be visiting our home through our son. I choose to believe it was unconscious.

The fact was he was a nervous Daddy with a penchant for medical drama and in possession of the most dangerous of all literature for this particular kind of man: The Medical Encyclopedia of Child Health. If Sonny Boy felt too warm the to touch, HOB looked it up and declared it to be the flu. If Sunny Boy hiccuped or sighed too heavily, he turned to his tome proclaimed it was asthma or another form of respiratory distress.

Even though I was a new mother and somewhat nervous about my role, I was on the other end of the spectrum when it came to health alerts. When Sonny Boy was around one year old, I started teaching night classes. One morning after a late night of teaching, I was hoping beyond hope to sleep until the glorious hour of 7:00am. However, it was around 6:00 that the bedroom door flew open and I heard HOB’s voice boom out, “The worst possible scenario has just played itself out!” I lifted my head from the pillow and saw Sonny Boy in his fuzzy footed pajamas grinning down at me from HOB’s arms. “He has just eaten cat vomit!” HOB announced. “I think we should take him to the emergency room immediately!” I rubbed my eyes. “Was it new or old?” I asked calmly. “DOES IT MATTER?” HOB asked loudly, rolling his eyes, handing me the baby and going to find his Medical Encyclopedia. I snuggled there on the bed with my little one, his baby smell definitely spiked with more than just a tinge of Chicken Fiesta in Gravy.

The breaking point for me came one night when HOB was changing Sonny Boy’s diaper and yelled out, “His kidneys have completely shut down!” I hurried to the room and saw HOB shaking the diaper he had just pulled off. “This thing should be wet and it’s not!” “OK,” I said. “That’s it. You are not allowed to say these dramatic kinds of things anymore AND I want the book.” He ignored me. “Turn it over to me right now and nobody will get hurt,” I said. He glanced towards the bookshelf and I saw the volume of subversive literature. I took it and hid it behind all the cookbooks—a place where man does not tread in this household.

It worked, sort of. The lack of a reference book did damper the father-as-alarmist a bit. The creature did, however, emerge from time to time, but it took more to elicit now. Sonny Boy cracked open his head on the car door when he was about three. The cut was deep and the blood was heavy as we loaded him in the car seat. HOB sat in the back with Sonny Boy and I drove to the hospital. Sonny Boy stopped crying as the car moved and was soon completely silent. “He’s gone into shock!” HOB said just as we were almost past the fire station near our house. I was nervously maneuvering traffic to get to the hospital as fast as I could, but at HOB’s words, I pressed on the accelerator even harder. That’s when I heard the sweetest thing I could have heard at that time: my son’s bird-like voice from the backseat. “Fire truck!” he said, "Fire truck!” pointing and smiling to the red vehicle. I glared at HOB in the rearview mirror. Complete shock, huh?

(An hour later, HOB stood beside Sonny Boy as the doctor wove the needle in and out of the skin of his forehead. I stood at HOB’s side, closer to Sonny Boy’s feet. Every once in awhile I glanced up at the sight of the skin being pierced by the curved needle. After about five minutes I felt light-headed and thought I might have to step away. Then, I heard the nurse say, “Sir, you need to come with me. You’re just about two seconds from fainting and we don’t need that right now." HOB was white and shaking as they led him away to go lie down. “Move up there, Mother,” the nurse commanded and I did as I was told.)

A year later, Sonny Boy had another head crack while jumping on a hotel room bed. We found the emergency room in the city we were visiting, got through the stitches and were back on the road to home in no time. We were getting pretty good at this medical stuff we thought.

Then along came Evan.

At 18 months he climbed up on the coffee table and fell off. He cried, but then seemed to recover. Two days later (yeah, so I won’t win Mother-of-the-Year award, OK?) I discovered it as I watched him try to crawl across the floor. He got a dinosaur cast for that one.

About two years later Sonny Boy and Evan were wrestling one night while I was making dinner and I glanced over to see Sonny Boy holding on to Evan who was straining to get away. “Let go of your brother,” I called. Sonny Boy did and Evan went flying into the corner of the wall, cracking open his forehead. The blood gushed out and I scrambled with a kitchen towel to staunch it. I turned off all the burners, and wrote a note with blood covered hands, “At hospital” and left it on the table. Poor HOB came home to find the bloody scene—the towel, the note that had gotten blood on it, the bloody stove knobs. We were still in the waiting room, Evan now calm and smiling waiting for his stitches when HOB raced through the double doors, panting and sweating, causing two nurses to come to his aide.

Then there was the broken arm in second grade (monkey bars).

Then the broken arm in fifth grade (monkey bars).

Then the skateboarding incident that required an ambulance and CAT scan.

Then the broken wrist in Colorado requiring major surgery (snowboarding).

Along the way there were multiple head wounds, more trips for both boys to the emergency room. Needless to say HOB eventually had to calm down concerning the various cuts and bruises. He had no choice. His body and mind could only take so much. I became a little more willing to stop under-reacting as well.

We knew we had reached middle ground one Sunday evening when Evan was racing around a corner, fell and came to us with yet another cut to the forehead. We both looked at it. It was not too deep, not too long. “You know,” I said. “Last time we went in for something like this, they just steri-stripped it.” HOB looked at me and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I nodded, like the wizened old cowboy out on the range, “We’ve seen it done enough. I reckon we can fix this thing ourselves.”

HOB went to the store, got the steri-strips and we cleaned the wound, I held it together while HOB cut the strips and applied them one by one, cross-crossing them like a real pro, ending with a flourish of tape that connected them all in straight, beautiful line.

He’s come along way.

But he’s still not getting the book back.

62 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

Boys!
they wear every scar like a badge of courage...
Great post and story BB.

A girl needs 2 Talk said...

Your posts are full of such amazing stories! I feel so happy just for having read it!

Think HOB will now know where the book has been after reading this??

Nicole MacDonald said...

*LOL* OMG that'd drive you mad!! And thanks I needed inspiration for a character like this - he's perfect!

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Old Kitty said...

I don;t know about you but I need a lie down after reading this.

I know I'd be HOB a million times worse! Gawd help my pretend children!! I'd be needing sedation everytime! :-)

Take care
x

slommler said...

Oh my gosh!! You have definitely become the expert in emergency room visits!! Proud of HOB for doing the tape on the wound thingy. He didn't even panic. Sounds like he has gotten better? But I wouldn't give him the book either...it might cause a cascade effect...the likes of which the household would never survive!!
Ha!
Hugs
SueAnn

Elisabeth said...

I'm afraid I'm with HOB on this. I too tend to panic when my children have accidents.

Once one of my daughters caught her leg in an exercise bike - she was about eleven - and her foot was broken open, I screamed at the sight of it.

They've never let me live it down. Not being one to appreciate full anatomy I found myself saying, 'She's severed her aorta'.

Needless to say your aorta is a long way from your foot.

I've tried to calm down since.

What a terrific post. You had me on the edge of my seat, one bloody disaster after the other, but none of them as disastrous as HOB feared. Thanks.

All this panic is not good for your blood pressure.

Mamma has spoken said...

I'll take your book! My hubby is the opposite. Every time I took the kids to the doctor, I heard about how he never went to the doctor for such a silly thing. Even when I told him that it was an infection that could cause death if not treated, I heard that he never went to the doctor for strept, broken bones, stitches, etc.
I now tell him how that's because I am a better mother than his mom ;o)

Copyboy said...

Hilarious! I love the kidney part. I laughed out loud at that one.

Madi and Mom said...

OH MY WORD BB you have me rolling on the floor laughing (at the expense of SOB and E)...but thankfully I know they both made it past the accident prone stage and are now handsome healthy young men. What a story...Madi became a little gaggy when I read to her that SOB tasted the unmentionable...LOL
Thanks for the Wed. LOL and MOL
Madi and Mom

Gaston Studio said...

Well Betty, you surely brought a number of smiles to my face this morning. I think though, I'd have had to hit HOB over the head with that subversive book before I hid it, just to make an extra point!
Good read!!

Venassa said...

Sounds like your boys had painful childhoods. But then again I got stitches twice, almost a 3rd time, and I was a careful child.
I laughed thinking of HOB coming home to the bloody scene. Poor guy.
I love your stories. And I'm glad he's come a long way. If he was HOV (husband of Venassa) I would've had a heart attack from all the overreacting when the boys were first born.

Parsley said...

Gee...sounds like you guys need to go into the medical field OR at LEAST volunteer in the ER where you can calm parents. LOL

Brian said...

Panic is a very important cross-species trait!

Sara said...

Hahahahaaa, that picture is classic! Things were so much different then! Also? God help me if I end up with all boys.

Alissa said...

Wow, amazing that you all survived those childhoods. I'm not sure what mothers do today what with the widespread availability of the internet. Perhaps there's a way to block WebMD from the family computer.

marlu said...

I laughed out loud too - and then realized how lucky we were to raise to boys (now 49 and 51) with no broken bones and only one split lip. A chair slipped and he hit the edge of the table on the way down.
Love your stories!!

Out on the prairie said...

This made me think of my grandmother, she always wanted to find ills.She even changed doctors when he didn't agree with her diagnosis.My girls recovered well from the maladies she found, the best was deafness.I laid grandma to rest in a rose garden at a church, but wonder if she is stirring when the roses aren't doing well.LOL

Patti Lacy said...

Oh, I love boys! Can tell this one would be the "apple of my eye."

Blessings, dear Betty.

P

Joe Cap said...

I don't know how you are still sane after all this...between the terror of SB having so many accidents, and the HOB over-reacting...
Oh, wait, ARE you still sane??

Liz said...

I think it's hysterical that HOB is the "woman" in this situation!

But he really ate cat poop?!?! YUCK!

Catherine said...

LOL ~ oh my stars you are funny ~ you tell a good story girl!

Though I must admit, the photo of the little munchkin with the knife makes me nervous... :)

Have a Happy Wednesday!
xo Catherine

Baby Sister said...

I love your stories. I don't think I can be a mom just for the bloody parts...yuck.

Brian Miller said...

oh my..lol...i think our littlest one is in the priority membership at the ER...kinda glad i did not have a book..smiles.

Writing Without Periods! said...

I grew up in a family of girls. Boys are such a wonder to me. Even my husband!
Mary

Marlene said...

There is a reason why I mothered girls and not boys, I think. I'm not sure I would have survived all that! Yay to you for getting through all those mishaps....

And pssst.....with all those trips to the hospital, were you ever questioned if you beat your kids? HA HA HA.

Tracy said...

LOL. I know someone just like that and it is HEREDITARY, I swear. Just warning you. :-)

Edlund said...

Hey I love that picture. So cute.

Katie said...

"But he's not getting the book back"

::snort::

H.Toufga said...

I love most if your posted stories and this one is just great one too. the photo is also classic and nice ..

Keep up

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

I laughed heartily!
I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

B xx

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

“His kidneys have completely shut down!”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

So funny- great post-

SO glad my hubs is a doctor- I would be crazier than I am if he was not- I am still crazy though-

baygirl32 said...

Oh my! soo glad I don't have a son.

Mommy on the Spot said...

My tendencies lie a bit closer to the HOB side of the spectrum. And seeing how it looks from here, I am thinking I have to tone it down. Thanks for the reality check!

TS Hendrik said...

Another fabulous post! I was laughing pretty hard at the part about him holding up the dry diaper. Hilarious!

Sarah said...

I think HOB and Betty balanced each other out nicely. Can you imagine a bloody kid crying while both parents passed out on the floor?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How on earth did your husband survive? And by that, I mean how did you not kill him.
The cat vomit incident was great!

Shan said...

This probably more fun to read than it should have been (no offense to suffering little boys). It brought back all of Corey's trips (so far) to urgent care and the emergency room. My "favorite" was when the school nurse called and the first thing she said was, "Mrs. P., we've stopped the bleeding." Like he was bleeding when I left him there!

It's good to see how two people can come closer together over time. I still wouldn't give back the book either.

blueviolet said...

His early medical pronouncements of kidneys shutting down and such are hysterically funny!

Ann said...

It sounds to me like you and HOB make a pretty great team. I think we had more than our share of mishaps here with my son but with all the stuff he did he never actually broke any bones. It's amazing.

Gigi said...

Those boys sound like my brother. 3 concussions in one year. Broken noses, severed limbs...just kidding about the limbs.

Gigi said...

Those boys sound like my brother. 3 concussions in one year. Broken noses, severed limbs...just kidding about the limbs.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Great story! Boy did that bring back memories of my parents. With five kids in our family I saw one extreme to the other... My youngest sister is ten years younger than me and it's a wonder if anyone even flinched if she hit her head :-)
Cheers,
jj

The Retired One said...

Too funny!! As a kid, my parents didn't believe it taking us to the Dr. unless we were almost dead, so I can relate to the end part, aLOT. ha

Hilary said...

I'm sure you exaggerate but oh what a hoot. Give that man a hug.. just don't let him grab the book when you're not lookig.

Aging Mommy said...

Wonderful post. My husband gets terribly worried if our daughter is ill which thankfully has not happened very often so far. Having read this amazing post I think I am glad we have a daughter and not an accident prone son :-)

Katie Gates said...

OMG, my ex and I never had kids, but I got a good taste of his alarmist nature when the Northridge earthquake hit. He sprang from the bed, screaming loudly: "It's the big one! It's the big one!" (He actually made the cats look calm by comparison.)

Pearl said...

Oh, my! Having been raised by people who did not believe in doctors unless you couldn't stop the bleeding, I found this hilarious.

In a compassionate sort of way, of course.

Pearl

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh my goodness, the child with the knife!

I know couples where one parent is overly concerned to a point that they get a little... well... hysterical. As long as one is the voice of reason. If both are a mess, those poor kids!

My son cut open his chin when he was three and I was nice and pregnant. He was on his stomach in the tub and launched forward, hitting the metal piece that stuck out. Syrupy blood oozed out. I realized I was the parent and had to act all parent-like about it and not freak out.

He got a few stitches and was as good as new.

Dreamfarm Girl said...

You had me in stitches myself at the cat vomit, and in tears by the total kidney failure. Oh, so so funny!

Gigi said...

What is it about these nervous nelly Hubs? Although (knock wood) we haven't had to deal with stitches and such - we have had the emergency room visit for what "had to be appendicitis" that turned out to be nothing more than gas.....

Jo said...

Awesome picture!

Sounds like you have a couple of very active sons!

Georgina Dollface said...

It's amazing some of the things that kids get into and manage to survive. Forget cat'sa nd nine lives, I think kids come with a whole bunch of free passess when they arrive in this world. There's no other way to explain how so many of them beyond the first 10 years. That photo is so awesome and so chilling too!- G

Jimmy said...

Sounds like my childhood in a sense Betty, are you sure there were no bungee cords involved :)

Daisy said...

HA! Oh my! Those boys have taken you through and back again haven't they. I've got two boys too, and we've had our share of ER trips, but nothing like what you have been through. Sounds like you and your husband are a good match. :D

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

In some strange and very extreme way the two of you balance each other out.

ds said...

Oh, dear! CS gave us plenty of emergency room scares back in the day, but never (knock wood) anything broken. You tell this so well, but as the Nervous Parent of my household, I have to confess, I'd be a wreck...

Pat said...

This was so funny - not the part about your kids getting injured of course, but your husband's reactions. He just needs to "simmer down now!"

Lourie said...

My son scares me! He has already broken his nose, chipped a tooth and hmmm...there is something else...oh yes, he sprayed perfume in his eyes. Boys! He will be 5 next month. I have broken at least 8 different bones. Garden variety of sprains and strains. No stitches though. Crazy stuff.

Tabor said...

Congrats on surviving parenthood thus far and on the POTW. The head crack and blood spurting out into the air are all familiar to this mother.

Steve Gravano said...

Yea, I have three sons, at times it sounded like you were writing about them. Great story. Congrats on your POTW.

Fragrant Liar said...

Hahahaha. You guys were made for each other. ;-) I see you've met somewhere in the middle now. Gotta be less stress in that.

What a great post.

kcinnova said...

I think my face just cracked from the grinning! I'm so glad Hilary sent me over here to read your POTW winner. I'm might even be happy that most of my sons have avoided such experiences... except the one who recently learned why soccer players don't wear sunglasses.