Every joke has its foundation in truth.
When I joke around about how miraculous it is that my son has lived to see his first birthday, it is because for a while there I really didn’t know if he had any sense of self-preservation. He would try to launch himself down the stairs instead of climbing carefully down each step; he would run full speed without looking up to see he was headed straight for the sharp corner of a table; he wouldn’t wait for my help before running straight to the deep end of the pool with all his clothes on. I guess for boys his age this behavior is pretty normal.
Somehow Asher gradually became a little more cautious. He got nervous around the top of a flight of steps and slowed down his aimless running. I guess I started letting my guard down. Well, after last night, it is back up with a vengeance.
We were in the middle of enjoying a delicious spaghetti dinner made by Dan (a rare treat). Asher was strapped in his booster seat at the table, and he must have gotten his feet to where he could “push off” because he caused his entire apparatus to topple backward toward the sliding glass door. As I play this event back in my mind, I’m pretty sure the whole thing happened in slow motion. His head made contact with the metal door frame, and then there was crying and a lot of blood.
Because there was so much blood Dan called 911. There were four men with blue rubber-gloved hands in our home in less than 3 minutes. I hardly saw their faces. I had been applying pressure to the back of Asher’s head with a large white towel, which is now in the garbage, and the bleeding had stopped. (I might add that this was not an easy task since Asher was squirming and screaming and generally freaking out.) Somehow after the four angels got there I was very calm. They strapped him to some kind of kid-sized stretcher; he couldn’t move a muscle. He was still crying as they loaded him into the back of the Ambulance.
We live close to the hospital, so it was a short ride. I stayed with him and my eyes never left his face. I sung him his lullaby and talked to him in an upbeat voice. I touched his face, his arms, any part of his body that was not covered in braces and velcro. He gradually calmed down and he stayed pretty brave and calm, despite being unable to move, throughout the long time at the hospital. A couple times his lips started quivering, but I would reassure him and touch him and Dan would turn on an episode of Charlie and Lola on his iphone. Asher always needed to be holding one of our fingers in his left hand, and whenever a nurse or doctor came near he would watch them with intense suspicion.
Asher needed two staples in his head. They didn’t shave his hair, they didn’t numb the area, they didn’t give him any medicine, and there were no scans or x-rays. I guess he was functioning normally and he didn’t show signs of trauma in any other area. We are supposed to watch him and take him to his pediatrician for a follow-up tomorrow. Currently, the most traumatized member of our family is me. Once Asher was asleep last night the calm left me and I started feeling like I had millions of crazy tense hormones floating around every muscle in my body. I’m feeling them now. I’m also still smelling Asher’s blood on my hands, despite scrubbing them numerous times in the last 24 hours. I feel like Lady MacBeth.
At one point in the hospital, our doctor tried to joke with us by saying “Don’t worry, he’ll be in here at least 50 more times before he’s five.”