Several weeks ago I was in the bedroom and I heard one of the girls start crying loudly. Totally normal (my home runs on drama). Then Steve called to me and I got that worried feeling. I hurried to the kitchen to find Steve holding Nate on the counter with a whole bunch of blood coming out of his chin. Steve quickly moved the towel and ice away to reveal a really deep cut. I knew this was the kind of cut that needed stitches. I called a friend to help me out and we got ready and headed off to the hospital.
(Oh, and forgive me… both times the entire thing was recorded on my iphone via instagram. Not the highest quality pictures.)
I had just enough China ER experience from getting stitches myself to helping a friend get stitches for her son that I knew it required a lot of run around. You first have to go and register at the hospital, then you go find a nurse or doctor who will quickly tell you how much the cost of your visit will be. You go to a different counter to pay that and come back. Then they check the wound again and tell you a different price, requiring you to go back down the 3 flights of stairs to pay again. So by taking a friend along, you have help with the run around that is bound to occur.
The kids’ tutor and our dear friend was waiting for me and Nate. Nate was doing a good job keeping pressure on his chin and not freaking out too much. He was mostly nervous about any potential shots he might get. We finally got all checked in and seen by the doctor. We had requested the ‘beauty doctor’ vs. the just ‘so/so’ doctor. (That’s the direct translation). So we paid our $97.73. And moved along in the line of people who needed to be sown up. I did find that I was constantly moving myself to block Nate’s view of other patients who had rather gruesome wounds.
We moved into the room and Nate really struggled to be calm. He was so terrified of getting a shot! That’s what happens when you have had as many shots as he has. And also when you inherit a condition called ‘needlephobia’ from your Uncle Drew. He desperately wanted to be kept in the know as to what was going on, and the doctor and nurse were not in the mood to have patience with a young kid who wasn’t being still. I finally explained to them that if they would just slow down and allow me to tell him what was happening it would go a lot better. They finally listened and Nate held still while they gave him a numbing shot. Once that was finished he was the perfect patient. He remained perfectly still while he got his 9 or so stitches.
I did find it funny that during the procedure and when it was all over he kept asking me to take pictures. He wanted to see them himself, and have them to show his sisters as well. He even had our friend take a brief video with her phone of him getting his stitches. Elizabeth and Anna weren’t interested in watching that! I will spare you all too.
A week later we went back to the hospital, walked right in to where the doctor was and he quickly took us back to remove the stitches. It was simple and Nate did a great job because he didn’t have to get a shot.
I really thought that the ER drama was behind us. Silly I know. I have 5 children, 2 boys. There will be more ER visits… but it was rather stressful and I was just choosing to believe that it was behind me. For awhile at least.
Then we went on vacation. We were only going to be gone for 3 days. On our 2nd day we were headed down to the pool to swim again. Nate had started running down the hotel hallway and as he neared the elevator he tripped. He landed right on the corner of the wall and sliced his forehead open. He stood up as we were getting to him and we quickly saw it was serious. The blood was not dripping out, it was shooting. Anna and Elizabeth were right beside him and Elizabeth had blood on her too. I quickly reached up and pinched his forehead closed to get the bleeding to stop and we rode the elevator down to the 1st floor. We immediately got the front desk staff hopping to help us. They grabbed bandaids, towels and ice. Jumping into action and going above and beyond. They quickly called for a taxi, one of the staff started putting bandaids on to keep the wound closed. He then picked Nate up and held him so gently and kept telling him in broken English, don’t cry! Nate was in his swimsuit, with his swim cap (required for Chinese pools) and goggles in place. We carefully removed them and kept trying to get the bleeding to stop.
Poor Steve was holding Luke, and left Hope with the girls upstairs for a moment while he ran up and got some clothes for me, came back down, ran up again for money and passports, back down. Finally we had everything, the taxi was waiting, and we headed off with one of the hotel staff. I was so touched that they were willing to send someone with us. He paid for everything and did all the run around so I could just focus on Nate. Once again Nate was concerned about the shot, but not nearly as much as the time before. But the doctor decided he would try to use skin glue to hold the wound together, which meant no shots! Nate was just so relieved he did a great job. The hospital was really close to our hotel and was much nicer than the one at home, and not nearly as busy. It didn’t take long until we were back with the doctor and Nate was treated. He didn’t mind the glue at all and before we knew it was over.
We headed back to the hotel to find the babies in bed, and Anna, who was so very scared for her brother finally calmed down. Nate was proud of himself, of how brave he was. And I was too! I can’t believe how well he handled it all. As for me, it took the whole next day for my hands to stop shaking… and I am still longing to get the image out of my head. He will have a nasty scar for awhile, but he will be fine. Now the goal is to keep him from re-injurying the wound!
I find that at moments like this, I have to really guard myself against getting an attitude. It is a little frustrating telling them to please change all the paper on the operating table and make sure that things are somewhat clean. To have expectations based on my foreignerness, and communicate that in a non-condesending, gentle way. It’s a challenge for me.
I hope to not repeat this anytime soon. Steve agrees with me! So much so that he promised the kids if they can go a month without any ER trips, he will buy them ice cream.
I like that deal!