15 April 2010

Today's Gratitude: the resilience of children

My sweet 3 year old daughter was dancing/twirling yesterday morning. When she stopped, she lost her balance and fell, hitting her ear/head on her sister's open dresser drawer. This resulted in a pierced ear, right through the top portion, and an abrasion on her scalp where the drawer came through her ear and scraped her head. She also has a strained trapezium (shoulder)muscle from how hard she hit. As she laid in my lap screaming, I applied a paper towel and an ice pack and called her doctor. They recommended a trip to the ER so I gathered up all 5 (we had a friend over at the time) and we headed off to my sister's house so she could watch the other 4 while my baby and I went to the hospital. The screaming had subsided after about 15 minutes, but she continued to apply the paper towel and the ice pack until we reached the ER.

As we sat in the waiting room, she was absolutely fine, except for the blood coming from her head and ear. While we were in triage, she inquired about the oxygen saturation meter (the little thing you put your finger in with the red light) and complied perfectly as they took her temperature and blood pressure. When they showed her the pain scale with a bunch of faces from a happy face (0 pain) to an extremely pained face (worst pain ever), they asked her to show them how she was feeling. Of course she picked the happy, smiling face and said she was feeling no pain. As they moved us to the exam room, she excitedly climbed into the hospital bed to wait and informed me she was big enough to sit in it by herself and pointed to a chair for me to sit in. So far, so good.

Then the doctor ( a med student) came in and touched her ear, she squeezed my hand in pain. Then he came in to clean it up enough to examine it and I sat on the bed next to her rubbing her back. She was so brave and strong, trying so hard not to cry out in pain. It broke my heart as I watched her little body quiver in pain and saw her fighting back the tears as she quietly sobbed. When he was done, she sat up and gave me a hug and then was fine again. She eventually fell asleep and remained asleep as the attending physician checked her ear. He decided that stitches would not be necessary, but that they would thoroughly clean the wound and then we could leave. A little later, a female doctor (not a med student, not an attending) came in to thoroughly clean the wound. My little princess was still asleep, but awoke as the doctor came in. This time she screamed the entire time as I am sure the pain was awful. She squeezed my hand and hugged her little stuffed bunny so tightly, but she stayed still as best she could. She continued screaming after the cleaning as I hugged her, but when the doctor came back with a red popsicle, she stopped crying all together ;) A few minutes later when they came in with her discharge papers, they asked her pain level and it was back to zero.

The events of yesterday were heart wrenching for me to experience, but the one who was truly in physical pain bounced back so quickly. Sure she has moments of pain, like if she tries to lay on that side of her head, but she has already pretty much put it behind her. I am so grateful that little ones are so resilient because this is one memory I would like to forget.

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