you should see the other guy…

March 1st, 2010

Friday was a big day in the Diego house.
Just as I was crossing Market on my way to the office Friday morning, my phone rang. It was Doug calling to report that Sylvie had banged her head and might need stitches. No strangers to cuts and bruises, we were both thinking the school was likely over reacting, but quickly rochamboed to determine the who’d be spending the day with Sylvie. Since we both work in the city and live in the East Bay, our commute can be kind of crazy. It is a 45 minute ride via bus to the office, but until 3:30PM, the only way back is via BART + 15 minute walk to our house + 10 minute drive to school. Not a big deal when we’re talking vomitous or feverish kids, but when the kid has a head wound, it is less than ideal. Thankfully, Sylvie’s favorite teacher happened to have a car seat that day, and the director’s mom was around to sub for a few hours. So, while I was making the epic journey home, Alyssa and Sylvie were headed to the ER at Children’s.

On my walk to the house, I ran into a neighbor who had seen Sylvie and was very concerned. My first sign that it might not just be a scratch was when I explained I hadn’t seen Sylvie, yet, and he waved his hand across his brow explaining that she’d hit herself there. That’s a large area – the whole brow. Maybe he just didn’t get a good look at exactly where the blood was coming from? You know, heads gush.

1:45 hours, a Bart, a walk, and a drive later, I arrived at the ER. Sylvie had already been seen, and they were waiting for me before discussing the dressing options for her wounds. Yes, wounds. My god, she looked like little frankenstein with crusty blood holding a very intricate butterfly of bandaids to the bridge of her nose and a Van Gogh-esque tourniquet covering the left side of her face. Her previously pink shirt was tye-died with blood and her blonde hair was tinged pink in spots. So, yeah, they weren’t overreacting. I didn’t take a picture because she looked so scary.

I think it is worth mentioning at this point that although I felt like I was going to pass out, Sylvie just looked irritated to be stuck at the hospital. She wasn’t crying; she didn’t look concerned.

We got to business shortly after I arrived. Sylvie removed her bandages so that the doctor could get a good look at the wounds – no tears, just all business, like a tiny robocop. The doc cleaned the cuts, discussed how to close the wounds without leaving scars, and then loaded her up with Fentanyl via a syringe up her nose. In a few minutes, they were back with a board to strap Sylvie to. We’d played up that they were going to wrap her up like a baby so when they returned, she laid down without drama. They asked her to close her eyes like Sleeping Beauty, and then gave her a local. I expected her eyes to pop open at the first prick of the needle, but Sylvie didn’t even flinch! (My eyes were averted through most of this.)

The Sylvie burrito and the needle (note that I’m holding her brow down so that I don’t have to look at her skull):
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Exhausted from the stress of the injury, Sylvie fell asleep mid-stitching. About this time our nurse had to leave for fear of fainting. My little angel on the table:
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The long story short: Apparently Sylvie had smacked her head on a cubby struggling to remove her sweater. She split the bridge of her nose and about an inch over her left eye. The nose opened up big enough to fit an adult pinky finger, so it required 3 real stitches. The eye was easily taped with 5 steri strips.

All stitched up and ready to go:
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On my drive to the ER, I had been thinking about how when I broke my chin open in tap class at 4, my mom brought me right back to do gymnastics just hours after I’d been patched up. Man, she was a tough lady! For the next 4 hours that had seemed absurd. But somehow, as I was driving home with my perky patched 4 year old pleading to go back to school so she could still have her play date, it made sense. I mean, she was all patched up and feeling okay. And, really, if she got this banged up just taking her sweater off, what was I saving her from by having her hang out around the house for the rest of the afternoon? So yeah, she still went on her play date. I know it sounds crazy, but in this situation, you’d probably do the same.

Later in the evening:
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Stink eye:
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And another:
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So she’s all better and taking to her new name – Scarface – a lot better than we’d anticipated. I’m still a little worse for wear.