Tim and I had invited several families over for supper that Friday night. Have you ever had a hunch that you're getting ready for something that isn't going to happen? I had that feeling all day, but gave little thought to it. Believe it or not, I even had the thought cross my mind that one of my kids might need to get stitches that day - I pushed that aside as an overactive, slightly morbid, imagination.
With the house clean, table set, peanut butter pies ready, potatoes ready to boil and the roasts reaching perfection in the oven, I decided to quickly get ready while the kids were playing outside. Again the thought crossed my mind that one of my kids might get hurt. "Weirdo!" I berated myself for even allowing such a thought. But just as I was finishing my shower, Tim calls in to me, "Hey, we're gonna have to go get Kobe some stitches." He said it so casually, I didn't take him serious for a second, but one look at Kobe's bloody face left no doubt that Tim was only trying to keep me from freaking out!
Apparently, Corey was practicing his golf swing and Kobe had gotten too close. Just above his eye was a huge cut with all manner of things that belong inside, sticking outside. Kobe just lay quietly on the floor while Tyler, Amy and Corey huddled around him. I wish I had a picture of that scene. It was so darling, it will forever be ingrained in my memory.
Throwing my wet hair into a ponytail, we carried Kobe out the door and headed for the hospital. Kobe remained quiet and calm during the drive there, but as we got closer, his eyes began to get heavier and heavier and I had a hard time getting him to respond to me. Once there, the medical staff wasted no time in getting Kobe in for a CT scan ("no internal injuries") and then back into the room for his stitches. Having held his big sister Amy through this procedure, I knew the pain he was about to go through and I wished I could trade places with him!
After the six stitches were in place, the phone rang. From the look on the doctors face, I assumed it was her teenage son calling and asking for money. I was wrong, it was "someone" who had reviewed Kobe's CT scan and said there was, in fact, a hairline fracture to his frontal bone - as well as an indentation. I was taken aback! I really was. Up to this point, I had my mental list of things to do at home still on overdrive. I thought we were just running in for some stitches, some advice on caring for the wound and how to keep him calm overnight. This news changed everything!
Before I knew it, we were told that Kobe would be need to be taken to Bronson Hospital - and "no, you can't take him - he'll need to go by ambulance". We were also informed that Kobe would eventually need plastic surgery to repair the damage above his eye. I wondered if the staff was surprised at how naive I was! Kobe seemed fine to me, and I was caught off-guard by everything. The nurses in the ER were very kind though and answered all my questions - mainly, "Am I not scared enough?"
|The swelling would eventually push his upper eyelashes down to about even with the tip of his nose.
Soon the EMT's came in, loaded Kobe up and away we went. Kobe remembers the ambulance ride and loved that they drove fast and kept the sirens on.
|Strapped in for the ambulance ride
The EMT warned me that there would be "lots of people" meeting us at the door and not to worry. He was right. There were between 10 to 12 staff members who ushered us into a room with the word "Trauma" on the door. I finally felt fear for the first time when the second person to greet me at the hospital was "Ray, I'm the chaplain here." A wave of panic crashed over me in that moment. Now, don't get me wrong. I like chaplains. I'm glad they're at hospitals. I love what they stand for and Who they work for, but are you kidding me? Is it so bad that you're sending a chaplain to me? It was a moment I'll never forget. I wanted nothing more than to grab my little boy and race out of that hospital.
Beyond the chaplain, I saw doctors and nurses crowding around Kobe. His little body way too tiny for the bed he was lying on. Words were flying all over the room "four-year-old male patient... trauma to the head.... concussion... fracture...head wound... and I had to remind myself that this was my Kobe they were talking about. It really was surreal.
Slowly the excitement in the room dissipated and soon it was just Kobe, one doctor and myself. Kobe began giggling as I played peek-a-boo with the teddy bear he had been given in the ambulance. I felt calm again.
Kobe was kept in the PICU for observation that night and was released the next morning. Through it all, he never complained of pain (except for the shots he got before getting stitched up). He received no pain meds which astounded one nurse who finally gave him Tylonel (we decided it was to make her feel better! smile) So many of our family and friends were praying for him and as Kobe lay there pain-free, we knew...
|Watching movies in the middle of the night!
It's true that people respond to pain in different ways, and yes, Kobe is pretty tough, but I watch his eye heal much quicker and much better than anticipated... and I know...
I know why his one-hour appointment for the cognitive screen was concluded within fifteen minutes and a clean bill of mental health.
I know why the plastic surgeon we were referred to saw no problems with how the wound was healing.
I know why Kobe felt no pain.
God has been so good to us and I cannot thank Him enough for the health of each of my children! We were able to come home on Saturday morning (where I nearly had a heart attack when I found Kobe just a few hours later in the kitchen trying to cut his stitches out with scissors). Life is back to normal around here and Kobe continues to heal with no complaints about his eye... well, occasionally at bedtime his eye "really hurts". Then it "hurts" so bad he even walks with a limp! :)
I'll never forget our night in the hospital though. It made me appreciate even more what Impact of Hope does for families with seriously ill children. The experience we had as parents of an injured child was so minor compared to what many others go through, and my desire is to help make a difference in their lives.
My heart goes out to families everywhere who's daily lives are lived out in a hospital room. I remind myself whenever I am tempted to complain about wiping down another disgusting toilet seat, picking up toys or attacking a mountain of laundry just how truly blessed I am. Mundane normality is a blessing I'm sure many mothers wish they could have and I hope to never take it for granted.
|Easter Sunday - 2 weeks after the accident