Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RemembeRED: Twelve


            My son James injured his hand when he was eleven months old. Two of his fingers were crushed when the small table he used to pull himself up, fell down on him. We were fortunate that a plastic surgeon was on call at the time and stitched up his ring finger. His fifth finger was also injured but wasn’t given much attention because the ring finger was so severely lacerated.
These days however, that fifth finger is giving him some trouble. Writing is difficult for him and he is self-conscious of the way the finger looks. During a fever dream this winter, he screamed and cried while trying desperately to “fix” his fingers in his sleep. The next morning I asked his pediatrician to recommend an orthopedic surgeon to look at his hand.
This Friday we have an appointment at Boston Children’s Hospital. In preparation for that visit, I picked up the records of his original ER visit from our local hospital. I made the mistake of reading the report in the parking lot of the hospital. So many details of that day are crystal clear in my mind, but that clinical report written in black and white chilled me. As scary as the whole experience was at the time, I don’t think I realized just how serious his injury was until today. I didn’t really understand why they didn’t pay any attention to the lesser injury. Until I read the report, I had never heard the term “partial amputation” used in regard to my son.
I didn’t watch the doctor stitch (I had passed out while watching my husband’s hand being stitched in the ER a few years before and I didn’t want to repeat the incident). I focused on trying to console James, as he lay restrained and screaming. I rubbed his arm and shoulder and whispered, “It’s going to be okay.” His eyes kept rolling back into his head and I thought he would pass out. There were moments I prayed he would. The surgeon was unfazed and just kept working. It took twelve stitches to repair James’ finger. Today was the first time I realized how many stitches went into my baby’s tiny hand.

This post is a response to the RemembeRED promt from The Red Dress Club which asked us to fill in the blanks: “The first time I ____________ -ed after  _____________-ing.” I loved the idea of this prompt and I really wanted to write something funny. I searched my brain to think of something to write about and came up with nothing. Then today, I found myself crying in the parking lot of the hospital thinking about James’ hand. It isn’t funny and it’s rushed, but it’s from the heart.
This was taken a couple of weeks after the accident.
I keep a copy in my wallet to make me laugh when I need it.