Parenting: Visiting the ER as a parent
February 14, 2011 (WPVI) -- I spent last Thursday afternoon at the emergency room.
As the mom of two VERY active kids, I figured there was no avoiding a few trips to the emergency room at some point. I honestly thought my first visit would be with my five-year-old son, Luke, who loves to climb everything and anything - the higher, the better. But, today I was holding the hand of my sad and somewhat scared three-year-old daughter, Emma.
Wednesday night, my brother ("crazy Uncle Bob") was in town and the kids were overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. They thought it was fun to climb up our sofa and jump off the back.
Before we could put an end to the dangerous activity, Emma fell headfirst onto our floor. The only thing that broke her fall was the middle finger of her right hand. Her forehead landed on that finger as she crashed onto the floor. The result: a lot of tears, a small bump on her forehead and a quickly swelling, purple finger.
By morning, the swelling and discoloration reached up to her knuckle. Here we go, the dreaded trip to the emergency room.
We tried to prepare Emma for her visit, telling her the doctor would look at her finger and take a picture of the bones inside. We told her not to be scared, but we understood if she were since this would be her first visit to the hospital.
She quickly corrected us, "that's not true. I was in the hospital when I was born!" How can a three-year-old be so smart?
She cried that she didn't want to go to the hospital and assured us that her finger was definitely NOT broken. We let her pick her favorite stuffed animal and I packed my own emergency kit (books, snacks, and lollipops in case we really needed help.)
At the emergency room, the nurses and doctors made it all very easy. Emma was shy and tentative at first, answering the nurse's questions in a tiny whisper. But, after a few princess stickers, Emma started to forget about the "boo boo" on her finger and even seemed to enjoy being the center of attention a bit. She didn't cry at all and even giggled when I launched her stuffed lion into an impromptu song and dance (anything to make the wait more interesting!)
We looked through a few fashion magazines and picked out our favorite dresses on the pages (I let Emma pick first - she picked all the ones I liked. What a sense of style!)
The x-ray confirmed our suspicions. Emma DID break her finger, the very tip of her middle finger. The doctors splinted it and sent us home.
Turns out, Emma was the brave one. The entire visit, I was fighting back the tears. Greg caught me wiping my eyes while trying to remain cheery for Emma's sake. I finally broke out in a full-on cry alone on my way to work. As a parent, it's hard to see your child in any kind of pain, physical or emotional. I would have broken all my fingers to keep Emma from breaking just one. But we survived our first trip to the emergency room.
I hope to stay away from hospitals for a while. In the meantime, thanks to the doctors and nurses at Riddle Hospital for taking such great care of my little princess. And my prayers go out to all the parents who are helping their children battle much more serious ailments.
cecily tynan parenting reports, holidays, parenting, cecily tynan
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