Sunday, March 26, 2006

Will it leave a scar?

It was a difficult day yesterday. My wife and daughter were in the other room and I was talking with a friend when we heard a crash and a cry. The tyke had fallen, clearly. I froze, as I do whenever I hear that. Then, I heard my daughter’s cry – good, she’s still breathing – and my wife’s cry – not good, it must be serious. I rushed towards the other room only to see my wife rushing out holding the little one in her arms. My daughter’s head was covered in blood.

I did what I find I usually do in these situations. I suddenly became very calm and, taking another look at my daughter’s head, said, “We’re going to the hospital.” In a couple of seconds we had a wet towel at her brow and I could see that the blood was coming from what was actually a small but deep cut on the forehead. The first thing was to stamp the flow, which we did. During this time, the friend set up his car so we could just jump into it, my wife wrapped the little one in a blanket and I grabbed warm clothing for her to get dressed in when we had the time. On the way out the door I thought how glad I was that it wasn’t sub-zero outside anymore.

In the car we could observe how the tyke was acting. She was screaming at first but then calmed down and just looked at me holding her and her mum holding the towel to her head. The cut appeared to be the only thing that had happened and the skull is very thick on the forehead. Her eyes seemed fine and she hadn’t vomited or had any of the other sign of a brain injury. I was feeling still quite calm and was thinking through the situation. Things didn’t seem all that bad. The immediate harm seemed limited and it didn’t look like there would be any long-term effects. But, then, I’m not a medical doctor. My wife became worried at how quiet the tyke was and tried to get her to say something, anything. Finally, we asked, “Do you want to go to grandpa’s?” “Aha,” she answered just as she usually does. Ok, good.

One at the hospital our feelings were proved to be right. The cut was fairly small and after being washed out was closed up using a special plaster that acts like stiches in that it helps the wound to heal. Also, the doctor went with us through all of the normal symptoms of brain damage as well as looking at the little one’s eyes and checking how she holds up her head. All is well, we found out. He was quite a pleasant man and chatted a little with us to relax us and, probably, to judge how we were reacting. He told us a story of how a child came into the hospital with a serious skull fracture that was almost definitely not caused by the reported cause of it pulling an iron down onto its head. Perhaps I am reading too much into it but I have come to rather suspect that this was to see if we would look guilty at the reference to family violence. If that is what he was doing, good on him, I’m glad to have someone looking out for my daughter’s welfare like that.

Later on yesterday, my little daughter was back to running around and laughing as if nothing had happened – the only sign that anything was different being the plaster on her forehead and the spots of blood on the kitchen floor that I washed off with a cloth. That and the fact that my wife and I both have to take out coats to the dry cleaners. Or at least that’s what it seemed like till this morning when my wife was feeling my daughter and gave her something that was too hot and make her scream out in pain. I jumped at the sound and felt nasty shivers all over. The little one was already fine but I was still feeling jittery.


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