I am a mother of two, and for the next month at least, I can still qualify as being a mom of two boys, two years and under. Yes moms, they are both still in diapers, but we are working on that. We do the best we can. I am a laid back mommy, and I have to be in order to maintain my sanity. My house looks like a playschool war zone, and the laundry is an immortal beast that I cannot tame. I have given up on trying to sanitize everything that touches my infant's mouth, but when one of my babies is hurt, common sense takes a back seat, the over protective mother in me materializes, and I find myself in the ER paying $150 for a Physician Assistant to tell me that my baby bumped his nose and all he needs is some Tylenol. Such was the case this fall morning.
I was enjoying a relatively calm autumn morning with my boys at the neighborhood park. It was perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky, and with the exception of two other toddlers and mommies who were playing at the swings, we had the entire park to ourselves. Slides and jungle gyms were all free and clear for the boys to explore. This was going to be great, I thought. I even remembered the jackets, diapers, snacks, and sippy sups (all for two, mind you). The boys played for a while on the toddler slides and we moved to the preschool playground when Camden (34 months) became bored and wanted to go on the big-boy slides. Although his legs are short, he is an expert slider. His chubby little legs took off running and Cavan (15 months) tried his best to keep up. I followed with all the gear.
The boys appeared safe and were having fun, so I sat down on the bench for a second. "This is nice" I thought. I never get to sit down at the park, and usually I return home even more tired than the boys. I noticed Cavan climbing the stairs to go to the big slide, so I run to him and pull him down to the ground. This did not make him happy. I diverted his attention to something else, and I noticed Camden a few feet away. Camden calls me for something and I move toward him. I turn around and see the baby running to another side of the play structure. I move again, but not fast enough. Cavan trips on the monkey bars, hits his nose on the cold metal bars, and falls to the ground. I pick him up thinking that he would be fine. He was screaming, but he did not fall from the bars. They extend from the bridge of the play structure to the ground. He just tripped over the low bars. "Cavie's all-right," I told Camden, who was visibly upset as well. "He just has a boo-boo." Then I saw the blood spill from my baby's nose. We run to the bathroom, and I get tissue and pinch his nostrils shut. I cuddle Cavan in my arms and hold Camden's hand, and we cross the parking lot and head to the car. I clean the blood with wipes, assure the boys that everything will be fine, and then I head for home.
Cavan is very upset and his older brother, Cam is whimpering saying he's sad. It's not far home, and I can tell that Cavan is trying to cuddle in his car seat and go to sleep. He just needs some rest, I thought, and he will feel better. We get home and I give Cavan some milk. His nose has stopped bleeding and he shows me he is tired. I cuddle with him and then put him down for a nap. I have a quiet lunch with Camden and then we play puzzles, read books, and color. He even helps me start supper. Cavan wakes from his nap and Cam gets excited that his playmate is back. He looks bruised, but he is happy. The boys have an afternoon snack and go about the rest of the day as normal. Ryan comes home and dotes on the baby for a while, and we have supper together. We agree that everything is fine.
The next morning I check on Cavan and was horrified to see that the swelling in his nose had not subsided. He looked pitiful and resembled a toddler boxer. I panicked. "Oh, God! What if Cavan broke his nose and I didn't even know? What if he is permanently disfigured because of my neglect? What if he is still in pain? Should I have taken him to the doctor?" My mind was reeling with doubt, and I started to feel worse by the minute. I decided to take Camden to a drop-in day care and rush Cavan to Urgent Care. We are new to the town and still do not have a local pediatrician. The medical records are en-route to the new office, and we cannot be seen yet. The doctor at Urgent Care informed me that he didn’t have the equipment necessary to care for Cavan. "Equipment?" I thought. "He needs a CAT scan?" Oh no. This is worse than I thought. The Urgent Care doctor gave me directions to the hospital and informed me we needed to go there "just to be safe.” After all, Cavan could have a head injury.
We head to the hospital and Cavan is getting fussy along the way. He is tired and hungry. I don't have lunch or even a sippy cup with me. I wasn't really planning on being out this long. I definitely wasn't planning on a trip to the ER.
We arrive after five minutes of driving, and I become anxious about being in an ER with my bruised, but otherwise well baby. "I hope he doesn't catch the flu (or worse) in here," I thought. After triage and insurance verification we waited for what seemed like an eternity to be seen by the doctor. Cavan did not want to stay in his stroller, and I didn't want him out of the stroller running the floors and touching everything. The PA arrives, makes baby talk, shines a light up Cavan's nose and says “It's just a bump in the nose. He'll be just fine. He can have Tylenol for the pain." He leaves shortly to get our discharge paperwork. Another employee returns with the forms and says, "Your insurance co-pay is $150.00. How will you be paying?"
Michelle is a freelance writer and musician, and is enjoying being a coastal mom of two boys in Wilmington, NC. She is a member of the WilmingtonMommies network and has written for 910 moms the magazine and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. As a professional singer, she has performed with Opera Carolina, the Spartanburg Philharmonic, and the Charlotte Symphony, among others. Visit Michelle's music page on youtube at www.youtube.com/