Monday, February 25, 2013

Head Banging

Yesterday, as I lingered over my lunch in the church basement and discussed with some friends when I might realistically expect my girls to be able to make meals, our conversation was halted by a horrific scream. I recognized it immediately as Toby.

He came running around a corner, holding his head and wailing as I got up to meet him. He had been pushing a little toy shopping cart and had gone racing through the church kitchen, slipped on the floor, and banged his head into a corner of a wall. I caught him up in a hug and shushed him for a second, holding his head. When he caught his breath I asked him to point to where it hurt and he pointed to the side of his head opposite the side I was hugging him from, "Right, here!!!" he cried, and continued sobbing. I lifted my hand from that side of his head and saw that my hand was covered in blood. By this time Matt had arrived on the scene and I sent him for a wet paper towel because it was hard to tell with a mass of matted, bloody hair, just exactly what we were dealing with. After the initial dab with the paper towel--which Toby protested to the hilt--it was clear that the injury wasn't too large or serious, but we needed to get the matted hair out of it to assess it better.

We decided to hold him over the kitchen sink and gently spray his head with warm water to wash the wound and get a better look at it. Toby did not appreciate this act of first aid. He screamed...and screamed some more. I was actually taken aback by what we saw after the blood and hair had been cleared away. The wound was about 1/2 in long, 3mm wide, and 3mm deep, and oozing a continous trickle of blood down the side of his head.

I called over a few parents for advice on whether or not we should take him to the ER. The bleeding was mild, there wasn't much to stitch but using some dermabond glue to hold the skin together might have minimized the scarring. After some discussion we finally decided against going to a doctor, but four hours later, when we were at Matt's parents' house and Toby's head was still oozing blood I second guessed myself. We called a few more people and once again decided it really would be just fine without intervention. We washed the wound again, put some triple-antibiotic ointment on it and took him home to go to bed.

Today he is acting 100% normal, has a healthy-looking scab on the wound, and says his head doesn't hurt at all. As a father of 5 boys assured me yesterday, we will likely see much worse in years to come. It's amazing that with 5 kids who have had most every illness in the book, we have never really dealt with traumatic wounds before--zero broken bones, zero stitches, zero concussions. I'm glad we got a mild introduction to the world of traumatic injury this time.

For awhile this morning I entertained the thought that this might be all the worse we see as we raise our boys. Then, as I was in the basement putting some laundry in the wash, Toby came down and picked up his scooter. "I'll be careful not to get any ouchies this time," he assured me. And two breaths later he was whooping, "I can go so, soooo fast! Look at how fast I can go!"

Yup, with that kind of carefulness, I'd better be prepared to meet more trauma in my lifetime.

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