Wednesday, September 21, 2011
From His Sick Bed
Collecting my thoughts is impossible. Organizing them is far worse. So, I could approach this from a chronological standpoint, or I could relate to you one little moment on one afternoon that will shed some light on some of the shi-izzle that is going down here.
Due to construction, everyone in our house has been reassigned a sleeping space. Little Mason's sleeping space is currently a mattress on the floor of his brother's bedroom. This is not an ideal situation for anyone, however, Mason seems to enjoy having sleepovers with Cooper and he has commented many times that he likes his space (though he did tell me I should turn it into a couch -- not actually have him sleep on a couch but find another mattress to lean against the wall next to the mattress that is on the floor and make a couch out of the bed). I have made every effort to make this nook very comfortable. I have moved in his favorite puppies and penguins. I let him buy new crib sheets from IKEA in what he refers to as "batman blue" for his little mattress. Cooper has donated two extra pillows to Mason's cause, just in case he rolls off the mattress. They stay up late reading stories to each other and singing silly songs. They have been tired every morning when I wake them up for school, but it is like an extended camping trip that they enjoy. Let me also add that while Cooper has a full size bed that he could share with Mason, Mason prefers the floor to sleeping with Cooper. I can appreciate this. Cooper is a furnace that never stops moving. Sleeping next to him is like sharing a sleeping bag with a feverish pot-bellied pig.
AN-Y-WAY... besides becoming Mason's sleeping space it has become his sick bed.
This past week Mason was with Cooper and me at the rec center watching Coop's karate lesson. He was sitting on a bench and I was running on a treadmill. He decided to get up and walk behind the row of exercise machines. He tripped and fell and when he put his hands out to catch himself his right hand hit the moving belt of the treadmill.
Now, I know treadmills are dangerous. I unplug the treadmill at my in-laws house when we are there. I don't let my children play on them. Mason wasn't roughing around, he wasn't trying to touch it. He just tripped and fell. He thought that getting hurt by a treadmill would get him in trouble. So when he got hurt he lied to me and told me he fell on the brick wall next to the treadmill.
Obviously there was like this big rush of first-aid and fretting (Note to gym managers, when a patron tells you they need first aid don't page the 16-year-old lifeguard. Call 9-1-1). Though I could see it was bad, I just kept thinking all he did was fall on bricks. He doesn't need to go to the emergency room. A lot of people saw it and the conclusion from everyone was to just wait until morning and see. Mason's opinion was that it "hurts worser than when my private parts got slammed." By morning it was swollen, encrusted, and oozing -- an appetizing combination -- and I decided to take him to the pediatrician. That is when Mason decided to confess. He had actually fallen on the treadmill and did I want to send him to timeout?
The first doctor appointment was intense. The lack of attention the night before had created some scenarios that disguised the signals of his actual condition. The skin trauma was in fact severe enough that the pediatrician elected to table further testing to determine if Mason's fingers were fractured. This left us all focusing on two little fingers that looked as if they would require skin grafts to restore tissue loss.
We've since learned that the fingers are not broken. Phew! And we are fairly certain that plastic surgery to restore skin thickness is not necessary. Major phew! We're still changing the dressing twice a day and following doctor's orders to the letter because we want to avoid joint contracture. This just means that as the skin heals it gets a little tight and if we're not careful it will make it so that Mason can't open his hand all the way (I think that's what it means. Doctors talk this way to confuse mothers. Even smart mothers.). So far his range of motion is not affected.
All that mess has meant that Mason has spent some quiet time reading books and playing with sticker books because he can't draw as well as he would like. Oh, and he can't go to swimming lessons until the lesions are closed. His current plight is mild. And it would feel mild rather than frenetic if he were sleeping in his own bed, not sharing a bathroom with everyone in the family, and if his mother knew where she temporarily stashed the first aid kit.
Through this small medical mishap I learned that my job as a parent is to recognize the vulnerability that comes when a child realizes he made a mistake. I can't make the consequences of accidents and poor choices so scary that my children make more poor choices rather than trusting me.
And let me tell you, there are certain jobs I could never do. Being a pediatric nurse, physician's assistant, or doctor who has to debris burned skin on a small child or infant is one of them.
Lastly everyone in the family has been witness to the basic truth that sometimes more pain reveals new growth and if we can just endure it, everything will be restored with time. One other thing, brush up on your first aid.