a physics lesson, or, bleeding from the head

Let’s talk objects in space, shall we?

There are some things that should not collide: cars and occupied strollers, our planet and massive asteroids, Michelle Obama and John Boehner.

Also? This:

should not collide with the head of a twelve year old.  Or to put it another way, the head of a twelve year old should not collide with a goal post.

To go back to our physics lesson, would you like to know what happens when a twelve year old body, moving rapidly through space, collides with a stationary metal pole?

Here’s the answer: An inch-long gash along the top said child’s skull.

Yes, my friends, my child was, in fact, bleeding from the head. Blood dripping down his face, sopping onto his hands as he tried to mop himself up.

IMG_2046 His coach called with that odd mixed message “he’s fine but his head is bleeding, quite a bit, actually…” Which you know? anytime “his head is bleeding” is part of the conversation, “fine” seems just a tad incongruous.

This being Abu Dhabi, I had to drive drive drive to the soccer field and then drive drive drive to the ER with Liam clutching a towel to his head, muttering that it wasn’t fair that he had to miss the game, that he wasn’t bleeding that much.  This being Abu Dhabi, I also had to drive to hell and gone to find a parking place at the ER, and this being Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, the intake nurses in the ER carry late-model iPads (Liam found this fascinating and forgot the injustice of a self-inflicted head injury).  This being Abu Dhabi, in the pediatric ER waiting room, there was a woman doing her evening prayers in front of the plastic doll house and just under the TV blaring reruns of “Ben 10.” This being Abu Dhabi, the Irish nurse liked the name Liam, the Filipina nurses thought maybe Liam was Filipino, and the attending physician asked us slowly and carefully “can I talk to you in English?”

The doctor rinsed the head wound with saline, sloshing out the dried blood and a little bright red fresh blood. Here’s a thing: One really never wants to see the blood of one’s children. A biology lesson: blood should stay subcutaneous.  Seeing Liam stretched out on the hospital bed, I had a weird flashback to the second-to-last day of his stay in the NICU, when after two months he’d finally hit the magical weight of four pounds, which meant he could be discharged. But first, he had to have an operation on a double hernia.  Four pounds (1.8 kilos) is like a very small sack of rice, basically, and it amazed me that anyone could even diagnose a double-hernia in something so small, much less operate on it.  But operate they did, and the sight of that tiny little body on a huge hospital gurney (which was, in fact, probably child-sized) rendered Husband and I into teary-eyed pulp.

Liam wasn’t even knocked out for this procedure, just as he wasn’t for the chin-on-the-edge-of-the-swimming-pool procedure, or the running-full-tilt-into-a-cement-wall procedure. This procedure only required a BIG needle of anesthetic and four staples.

Pause for a minute, please, and remember the sound of a stapler chunking into, say, a bulletin board. Now instead of a bulletin board, imagine that stapler ka-chungk,, ka-chungk, ka-chungk, ka-chungk into your child’s skull.


Staples. Who knew.

He’s fine, is this hard-headed twelve-year old. He has a headache, duh, but no concussion, no wobblies, no nothing. Wolfed down pizza for dinner, snapped at his brother, muttered about the fact that his team went 1-1 instead winning outright.  Simple: we wash the wound every day with saline and the staples  come out in ten days. The doctor who ulp stapled Liam’s head said that basically, Liam could go play soccer that evening (I said no fucking way, or words to that effect).

What did I learn? I learned that even if you don’t know them very well, moms on the sidelines of your kid’s sports team will hold shut bleeding scalps, will offer to drive your kid to the ER, will give a lift to the team-mate you were supposed to drive home, will scrounge up an old towel to put on top of the bloody gauze bandage. I learned that having a next-door neighbor who is a nurse familiar with the city’s ERs is a really, really great thing.

I learned that even if you know it’s all going to be all right, driving your kid to the ER is never, in fact, all right.

And I learned my physics lesson: that if your child’s skull collides with a metal goal post, those forces will combine to create an abiding need for a glass of wine after the stapled-head child goes to bed.

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15 Responses to a physics lesson, or, bleeding from the head

  1. Arnebya January 24, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Staples. I shudder. Listening to staples going into one’s child’s head? I PASS OUT. Probably not really, but the desire? The desire would so be there. I’m just gonna lie ‘pon the floor now because blood…staples…mah baby…just leave me here.

    I am thankful (and knocking all the wood) that none of my kids has yet to require the dreaded ER visit (you know, outside of over-worried new parent cries of BUT SHE’S SO WARM.) The boy, though, I think, will end this streak.

    I’m glad Liam’s ok. Will you also watch the destaplitization? (I am making the just leave me here face again.)
    Arnebya recently posted..Pushing Back PossibilityMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 27, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      I can’t even *think* about destaplization b/c it makes me all wobbly. Looking at the staples in his scalp… shudder. I had thought (a while back) that I would escape the ER visits. Bwhahahahaa…. Tempt not the gods with such thinking, that’s my advice to you!

  2. Nancy Horwich January 24, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    OMG! Can’t they all wear helmets? All the time?

    • Deborah Quinn January 27, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      I’m considering, instead of helmets, that we should design a bubble-wrap suit, to be worn from ages 6ish to about 17ish.

  3. Maria Isabel January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Totally brought flashbacks of bare-foot sons running into the house with blood trailing in after them! Being Emirati boys they were playing soccer “bare-foot”, it would be unheard of to play with shoes!

  4. Lynda January 24, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Great post. So happy he’s okay! I have 2 boys of my own, 5 and 4 years old. Luckily, we have not been to the ER. (fingers crossed it stays that way!)
    Lynda recently posted..Dubai’s Souks – A Photographic TourMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 27, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, fellow UAE-ite! Those ER visits…I’ve now done them three times, all on the same boy, all for different points on the same head. He’s sort of working his way around his skull, god save us. Ugh. Knock on a lot of wood & remember that head wounds bleed A LOT but aren’t always as serious as the amount of blood would suggest : )

  5. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms January 25, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Oh you poor momma. Drink that glass of wine and then have another. Ellen
    Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms recently posted..The Kindergarten DilemmaMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 27, 2013 at 7:50 am #

      Ah the ER-based woes of parenthood, hmm? Yes. The staple-head is fine and his mamma may have had two glasses of wine, indeed. And probably another glass after watching the de-stapleing. UGH

  6. Lady Jennie January 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    ouch ouch ouch!! Poor Momma! (It’s worse for us than for the kid)
    Lady Jennie recently posted..ShatteredMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      so much worse for us – that SOUND of the staples…

  7. Marinka January 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    OMG, I almost passed out seeing those photos. I’m very dainty, you know. Poor Liam! And more importantly, poor you! (And me, obviously).

    I’m glad he’s ok!
    Marinka recently posted..Baby FeverMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      Oh honey, I’m so sorry that Liam’s head wound has traumatized you 🙂
      Heh…just be glad you don’t have the echoing sound of a stapler thudding into your progeny’s scalp. A much better sound is the delicate gluggetyglug of the wine into the glass.

  8. Tracy January 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Removing staples does not hurt at all.

    I used to teach this stuff at a nursing college. I have personally removed thousands of staples when I worked in orthopaedic surgery. No pain.

    Just wet the area with saline first and he will not even notice, I promise. These are medical staples, and though they look exactly like paper staples they are not, I assure you.

    Also, there are very few pain receptors on the scalp, which is a mixed blessing.

    I cannot imagine being the mother of a four pound baby who is going for surgery.
    You are one tough momma.

    • Deborah Quinn January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      hamdulillah, my next door neighbor is a nurse! and she’s offer to de-staple the lad, in a few more days. He hit the age where, you know, hair *matters* and so he’s dying a thousand deaths because the top bit of his hair is a tad…unruly at the moment (the doc said to keep it more or less dry, so we sort of wash around that spot). Lovely to see you here again, Tracy!

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