Asher had his first serious run-in with gravity today.
We were at an open house for Growcology, a local gardening/arts/sustainability organization. It was a beautiful afternoon--I was feeling inspired as I sat in the barn, listening to speakers talk about ways they want to bring art and music and nature and community together, watching Asher play joyfully with other kids as Michael and our dear friends supervised. At some point, Asher ran down a gently sloped ramp and tumbled at the bottom. It didn't seem like too bad of a fall at first, but when we picked him up, blood was streaming down his face. There was a large gash on his forehead, but it was hard to see it clearly through the bleeding. With our friend Nancy in tow for extra support, we headed off to get it looked at.
The first Urgent Care we visited didn't accept pediatric patients until 5:30; it was about 4:20. We called our family doctor to see if the office could work Asher in before the day was over; they were booked solid, but they told us our doctor would be attending at the Urgent Care we normally use, which opens at 5, so we headed over there. Before our doctor arrived, though, a nurse took a closer look at Asher's head and said they wouldn't be able to do stitches on a baby there because they didn't have a "papoose board" to hold him down; she suggested we go to the ER. Thankfully at this point, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and Asher was acting like his normal happy self again, but the gash was pretty wide at the bottom, and we knew it required attention, so off to the ER we went.
I have never seen an ER so packed before. I have been pretty germ-phobic since Asher's birth, and bringing him with an open wound into a room full of germy people was quite unsettling, to say the least. Michael and I took turns staying outside with Asher while the other waited inside with all of the coughing, seeping Day of the Dead extras. When Asher's name was finally called, only one of us was allowed to go back with him, and because I have built-in food and comfort as a nursing mama, that one was me. We were ushered through the swinging doors to yet another waiting area made out of a tiny exam room, packed with other "Fast Track" patients with various maladies. One fellow, who was there with tingling legs, kept leaving the area and coming back with food he swiped from the "Patients' Fridge", magnanimously handing out string cheese and graham crackers to the other patients in the room. "I'm going to call you the Cafeteria Bandit," said one woman, there to see if her pneumonia had returned, as she gratefully unwrapped her string cheese. It was dinner time at this point, and most people had been waiting for hours. Asher kept tugging at the white ID bracelet they had wrapped around his ankle, but for the most part, as long as I kept singing to him and nursing him, he was doing amazingly well.
We were eventually shuttled to our own exam room, where he freaked out a bit as they cleaned his wound; Michael was allowed to join us just in time to hold Asher down--no papoose board needed, after all!--as they glued and taped his head back together. The doctor said that glue would make for less scarring than stitches. It will be interesting to see how this fall leaves its mark on our boy's sweet skin.
In the car on the way home, I thought Asher would fall asleep immediately, but he was wide awake and smiling, even hiccuping, which has always been a sign that he's having a good time. He weathered the whole incident with his usual good-naturedness; such a champ. He went to sleep after a bath and some playtime, and now we're supposed to wake him every two hours, just to make sure he's responsive, but the doctor wasn't really concerned about any real head injuries. It's just a precautionary measure, one I'm glad to take.
I did not handle the whole episode nearly as well as Asher. Nancy had to keep reminding me to breathe as we went on our help-finding odyssey. I sort of shut down at first--Michael had to keep telling me to put pressure on Asher's wound because I would kind of glaze over and let go of the tissue. Of course I am greatly relieved now--it all could have been so much worse. I honestly don't know how parents handle more serious situations. I have been watching with awe and an aching heart as Emily Rapp deals with her baby son's recent Tay-Sachs diagnosis, writing with such courage and honesty and passion, it takes my breath away. I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through--this scrape nearly did me in. I can only hope I have enough mama courage inside of me to draw upon whenever I need it. And in the meanwhile, I want to keep remembering to enjoy every moment I can with my amazing little guy, with all of those I love--we never know when one of us is going to fall.