Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bethany's Arm

It was September 18th that Bethany tore the big hole her arm. She had been 10 years old all of 24 hours!  It was a nasty looking wound from a parental perspective. I have sewn bigger wounds closed on a goat that had been attacked by a coyote. It wasn't a fun thing to do, but beyond seeing the animal in pain it didn't bother me to do it. A large hole in my child is a bit unsettling.

Joshua saw the injury before she did. It alarmed him, so he jumped up and grabbed her before she could look at it. Then, he rushed her to Clint and I. 

Clint and I heard that stomach dropping "Mooooooommmm!" It's the way children say it that YOU KNOW something is really wrong. Your heart feels like it is stopping, but your feet fly so fast, you have no memory of how you got from where you were to them! 

When I moved Joshua from between us, Bethany finally got a good look at it. Oh boy! She went sheet white, her mouth fell open, and I could see the fear rising in her face. She said, "I feel very shaky!!"

There is one important lesson I learned early on thanks to a godly mother of a large brood sharing the tip with me: MOTHER, YOU greatly influence the tone in your household. Everyone looks to you. Even many Daddies, when they come home weary from work, look to see how Mom is reacting and responding. Your attitude will affect those around you. If you want a cheerful, happy house, behave that way. If you want a moody, sullen family with a bad attitude, behave that way. I was blessed to have this wisdom passed to me early on. It may take time to correct course if a bad attitude has become habit. A Bible study on self control and the Fruits of the Spirit may help you.

I was concerned when I saw the wound because I knew it was prime for infection, would hurt her to have it sewn closed, and would leave a noticeable scar. It was also horrible to see INSIDE my child!! But, my concerns didn't matter. What mattered was helping Bethany manage her fear. I had to control my reaction (self control) and focus on the main thing: helping my daughter in whatever way she needed help. 
I spoke gently, but firmly, "Bethany, look at my eyes. You are OK. I know; it is a big hole. It is hard to look at, BUT this is a minor injury. You ARE OK. You will go to the ER, have it injected with Lidocaine which will numb it, and then you will feel only some tugging as it is stitched closed. The worst part is over. The Lidocaine will sting less than a wasp sting for about 3 seconds, if that. Then it's easy peasy!!! You are OK!" She shook her head and calmed right down.

As we waited for her siblings to grab her shoes, my purse, and Clint's wallet, we tried to stem the bleeding a little more by pushing the skin closed. I took a picture for her memory book, but it is too gross to share here. We took her to a "Doc in a Box" place because it had no waiting. 

We explained to the doctor what happened. While he got the necessary instruments, we explained to Bethany again what would happen and how it would feel. He was very nice and took his time with Bethany. He explained everything he was doing along the way. She grimaced at the first Lidocaine injection, but was fine after that. She watched and even asked Clint to make a movie of it with his phone!

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getting the Lidocane injection

I told him we had tried to stem bleeding further by pushing the skin closed, but it had only pushed the layer of fat out leaving the layers of skin, muscle, and fascia visible. He looked surprised and enthusiastically queried,  "Are you a nurse?" I took that a a compliment and said cheerfully, "No, I am a homeschooling mother, and we have had anatomy lessons while processing our livestock and game." He responded very favorably about homeschooling and our son's desire to be a doctor. He said homeschooling lets the student spend more time doing things like dissections, so they carry more away with them.

He was about halfway through stitching Bethany when a man having a heart attack drove up. That was very distressing for all of us because he was in critical condition! Sadly, a "doc in the box" is not equipped for this kind of emergency and is therefore prohibited from treating beyond monitoring and assisting until further help can arrive. In this case, they monitored vitals and assisted with oxygen. If you feel you are having a life threatening event, you need to go to an emergency room!!! You can save yourself or your loved one some valuable time. 

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Bethany was disobedient about a playground rule and fell from a height she never should have been. When she fell from that height, she landed very hard against the swing set support which caused the injury. Clint gave her a talking to* about obedience, rules, safety, and lessons learned the hard way. She had to deal with the shock, pain, stitches, and the heart attack patient. She had to maintain quiet activities for 10 days and will have a lifelong scar. We felt that was enough negative consequences for her disobedience for her to have learned a lesson so we didn't add anything to it. I hope the other children learned a lesson too.

*Caleb called a lecture his siblings were getting "a talking to," and it has stuck.