Monday, December 10, 2007

Some firsts I'd rather skip

The first year of your child's life is just a series of milestones, one after the other. The first smile. The first word. The first steps. The first trip to the emergency room.

Yes, last Sunday, The Husband and I had the delightful pleasure of taking our baby to the ER to make sure he had not jammed his teeth back up into his head possibly embedding them in his brain. (Short version: He hadn't.) It had happened very suddenly. We had just gotten back from church and The Husband was making grilled cheese sandwiches while I searched for a recipe for cranberry bread and Jack played in the cabinet with the pots and pans. The next thing we knew, he had fallen on his face and blood was pouring from his mouth. Mouths bleed a lot, people.

This was not our first experience with this phenomenon, because Jack has fallen on his mouth at least four other times this year. This was more blood than I had seen, however, and I find bleeding from the mouth particularly troubling, as it is very difficult to see the extent of the damage what with all the crying and wailing and blood pouring out and all. Does he need stitches? Who can tell? At any rate, I held Jack upside down to try and look in there and in the brief flashes I could get, it looked to me like Jack's two front teeth had receded into his gums by at least 50%. I said, "That's it, we're going to the emergency room," and off we went.

I should take a moment here to tell The Husband's side of the story, which is that I "panic" every time Jack gets hurt. He bases this claim on the way I say, "Oh! He's bleeding! Oh! Oh! The blood! Does he need stitches? Should we take him to the ER? How do we clean it? Oh, he's swollen! His lip is swollen! The blood! The blood!" and things along those lines. But it is my position that I do not panic, it's just that I let The Husband be the one in charge of determining the extent of the damage while I take over the job of comforting the screaming, bleeding baby. I do this because I can let him be the one in charge. He's right there, all ready to take charge with his cool, calm, former lifeguard head. If he were not there, however, I would be quite capable of cleaning up the blood and driving to the ER all by myself, because I'd have to be. So no, I don't panic.

So. The ER. The Husband and I were pretty sure that Jack's teeth were probably fine, because he wasn't even crying anymore by the time we were packing him into his car seat, but we weren't going to take any chances with his teeth. He was triaged and registered within 20 minutes of our arrival, and then we had to settle down to wait. The Husband bought Jack a muffin because none of us had had lunch, and Jack had no problems chomping away at it. By the time we were finally seen by the nurse practitioner, Jack was biting a paper cup and pulling on it with his hands, further convincing us that his teeth were fine.

When the NP took a look, he told us that Jack had split his funiculus (that piece of skin that connects the top lip to the gums), but that his teeth looked fine to him. His gums had just swollen up, and that was what made me think his teeth had been jammed. The NP did suggest that we get a dentist to take an x-ray to make sure there was no root damage, and we did that on Saturday. Actually, we didn't. We took him to the dentist, but the dentist said an x-ray wasn't really necessary since Jack's teeth weren't even chipped.

And so it all ended well. Jack's teeth are fine, his funiculus appears to have healed, and we've all agreed that he has filled his quota of accidents for the next year and there will be no more falling on his mouth. We've AGREED.


mightym said...

I dread this first. Dread! When it happens to me I will SO BE PANICKING.

Arwen said...

All I had to read was "Jack" and "emergency room" and I was tensing up. I'm so glad he's okay!

P.S. I totally get you on the not-panicking panicking thing. I think I'm the same way.

Allyson said...

I know what you mean. Alex did not end up at the emergency room when his brow (mere centimeters from his eye, must think of scale in this case) met with my friend's brick fireplace hearth at Thanksgiving break. Oh! The wailing, the swelling, the gash...blood

I panicked. Did he need stitches? Did we need to go to the ER? Apparently all he really needed was some applesauce. He was fine in MINUTES. I am still in recovery.

Lindsay said...

I hope you got that agreement in writing.

I'm glad all is ok!