Oh what a night.

We had our second trip to the ER last night with the same results as the first.

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30pm, the boys were playing outside in the gorgeous weather, while I worked around the house. I suddenly hear AJ cry. Moms, you know the cry… the get-down-here-right-away-this-is-serious cry. I race down and see AJ’s mouth covered in blood. I am just thankful that I didn’t get down there three seconds later, as he then wiped his very bloody hand (he was holding it to his mouth) over his eye and hair. If I would have found him in that state, I would have thought he was dying he looked so bad.

I bring him inside, try to calm him down, and clean him up. He has a nice gash right above his lip and it’s bleeding pretty good. The blood doesn’t bother me, as I know head wounds bleed more than other parts of the body, but the cut is good. Now my mind starts thinking. It looked to me like it might need a stitch or two. If it was anywhere else on the body, I would have stuck a band-aid on it and let it be, but this was right in the middle of his face. If the accident would have happened earlier in the day, I would have also just watched it for a while to make a better assessment about what to do. But at this point it is 4:45 and our doctor offices close at 5pm. Not a lot of time to wait and see, less we end up in the med center (more $$).

I call the offices first to talk to a nurse to see if a visit is necessary. After describing the nature and location of the cut, she tells me to bring him in. I quickly load up the boys (fortunately they were already dressed with shoes from being outside.) I call Marc, who was headed home, and tell him to meet me at the offices. If the boy ends up with a stitch, we might need the both of us to hold him down.Of course, we had to wait quite a bit at the doctor’s office seeing as we didn’t have an appointment and we were technically after-hours now. I am starting to question now if we should be there. His lip is still bleeding, though not nearly as much. He is happy and playing. We finally see a doctor (not AJ’s normal pediatrician) and she gives his lip a good look before giving us two options. She could glue the cut in the office, or we can take him to ER to get it stitched. She says either way he will have a scar, but the ER option will probably be much less of one.

Ugh. Marc and I just stare at each other? We could get it taken care of right now and be done with it, but he could possibly have a good scar in the middle of his face. Or we can spend the evening in ER with a hungry, busy two year old just for ‘cosmetic’ reasons. I think the doctor could sense our hesitancy, so she offered, “If it were my child, I would take him to ER.” She mentions that the ER did stitches on two year old faces everyday with specialized pediatric doctors, etc. They would have meds to make him more comfortable and still during the procedure, and if necessary, they have a pediatric “plastic” team available. What?! I then mentioned that AJ still used a paci at night (intending to ask how that would affect any treatment), and at that she said, absolutely, ER was the way to go. Okay, then. At least they didn’t charge us for that visit.

There is no reason the whole family needs to go to ER. Marc takes Andrew home, and I head downtown. It is dinner time and I know there will be no food other than vending machines available in the ER and who knows how long we may be there. I swing by McDonald’s on the way to ER, which perks AJ right up. I packed it away in my bag to eat in the waiting room and we get checked in. I ask if it is okay for us to eat our dinner and she tells us, “no.” If AJ does need any sedation, he can’t eat. Poor kid, plus we are smelling the whole ER up like french fries.

We sit in the pediatric waiting room until called back to triage. AJ did so well. Much better than expected. Although, I was starting to get the feeling that the ER personnel did not appreciate having a patient sent to them for something minor like a cut on their lip. Granted, everyone was nice and no one said anything blatantly rude…. but the message came across. After triage, we waited some more before being led back to the ER where we were placed on a hall bed. That is just how a sounds. Which is fine… I understand. After seeing some of the patients that came (or were rolled) in… they needed the rooms worse than we did. It was just that the halls were busy and trying to keep a busy toddler on the bed and out of the way was a challenge. We waited some more.

The doctors came around and again… that look of “why are you here” flashed across their face. However, the main doctor was very nice. She looked at the lip and cleaned it out well to see how deep it was. She/they determined that glue was not an option as it would not stick to the wound. They could A) do nothing, but put topical antibiotic ointment on it or B) place an IV in his arm to sedate him to put merely one or two stitches in it that wouldn’t close the cut much more than it was already.

She left the decision up to me, but strongly felt that with AJ only being two, the risk and effects of sedation far outweigh the benefit of a stitch or two. She felt bad that our ER visit could potentially be for nothing, but it just wasn’t worth it. I prayed in the hall that I would make the right decision for AJ and just not the easy one for the doctors, but overall, I agree with them. He is going to have a scar either way. It may be a tad worse this way, but not bad enough to put my little guy through all that. After having to put Andrew “under” a few times…. it is not a pleasant experience. So we went home with no glue, no stitches, cold smooshed McDonald’s in my purse, and a large co-pay poorer.

This morning, AJ seems fine. I should have given him some Tylenol last night as he didn’t sleep well (meaning I didn’t sleep well), but his cut looks better already, even he has a fat lip. After seeing all the other poor children in the ER last night, if a cut on his lip that required no treatment was the only reason we were there…. I have no complaints.

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