Is it just my kids, or do all emergencies involving children occur at night? Its as if kids can sense that if something goes wrong after dark it will be more exciting, adventurous, and expensive. God forbid a child should fall and get hurt when you could schedule a doctor’s visit at a reasonable hour. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Friday evening was like many in our household, full of merriment and laughter. Reina pretended to be an inchworm while wearing the green nylon Ikea tunnel. It looked like so much fun that Ryder decided to get in on the act, despite not being able to see out of the tunnel when he held it upright around his body. No matter, he giggled with glee as he blindly walked around in circles. Naturally, the instant I turned away to look at his brother, Ryder smashed his chin into the corner of the toy kitchen (also from Ikea). After much screaming, and a fair amount of bleeding, Ryder let us examine his chin and it was clear to both Mama and Baba that boy child needed to go to the Emergency Room.
How typical. I’ve never visited the ER at Beijing United Family Hospital in daylight. I’m not even sure its open during the daytime. Not being one to miss a visit to the ER, girl child decided to tag along to keep her brother company. During the cab ride over, she reassured him that everything would be all right and told him of her own late night adventure to the ER when she cut her head. It was a tearless and painless experience since her cut was minor enough to be sealed with what looked like expensive Super Glue.
Ryder was not so lucky. His gash needed four stitches. The doctor and I quickly determined that applying a local anesthetic was the best option for us, though maybe not so much fun for Ryder. I wasn’t sure how one nurse was going to keep his body still while I held his head and consoled him during the procedure until she quickly swaddled him in a layered bed sheet; clearly not her first rodeo. She effectively immobilized his arms, but he writhed enough that the nurse still got a resistance workout.
If you have never watched a doctor prep a wound for stitches (this is a courtesy warning to the squeamish), the most harrowing part was when the pointy bit of the syringe full of what appeared to be way too much anesthetic was plunged into the flesh around the wound. Multiple times. His chin began to swell and anesthetic mixed with blood began to seep from the open gash. Had my wife accompanied us, we would have had another emergency on our hands, as she would have fainted.
Despite the doctor’s assurances that the boy could no longer feel the pain, Ryder’s brain failed to process this information and he continued to cry, “Baba, Baba, Babaaaaa!” My hats off to the doctor for working so deftly under such conditions. In a matter of minutes, boy child was sutured and running around the ER with his sister.
When we finally got home, Ryder sat in his mother’s lap for a cuddle while they discussed his experience. Suddenly he said he wanted to back to the hospital. It seems the pain of his injury was outweighed by the adventure of the night.
Photo: Christopher Lay