Two Reasons Spending Christmas in the Emergency Room Was Good
Outside of having a baby, going to a hospital is not a good thing. It means someone is sick or injured. However, this Christmas trip to the emergency room turned out to be good for a couple of reasons.
I was sitting at the dining room table at my in-laws in Minnesota after having dinner and opening presents, about to play a board game. My wife called me, which was strange since I thought she was in the house.
"Rockley cut his knee open pretty good sledding, go get a pair of his pants and tell Kendra to come out to the Suburban and look at it, it needs stitches," she said in the way an officer would give orders to a soldier and I carried out those orders
Kendra, our sister-in-law, is an ER nurse at the hospital we ended up going to. She headed outside to check him out while I searched for a fresh pair of pants for my 10-year-old, and my mother-in-law grabbed an armload of bandages and gauze, and tape she still had in stock.
By the time I got there with the pants, I realized I had pulled a John McClane and didn't have shoes on. Rockley was sobbing and shivering with adrenaline. He was pretty scared. The worst injury he had before this was ripping a callus off his hand doing ninja. I looked at his knee and saw a gnarly 2-inch gash that was deep and wide.
I knew it wasn't a catastrophic injury, but he didn't. It was bleeding a lot and that terrified him.
"I don't want to die," he said while crying and hugging my arm harder than he's ever squeezed me before.
"You're not going to die," I said. "We just need to go get some stitches in this and you'll be good as new in a few days."
"Are you sure?" he asked, not quite believing me.
"I promise," I comforted. "I'm not just trying to make you feel better. You will be fine."
Kendra bandaged him up, I found shoes and a coat, and we headed to the hospital in Willmar.
As is usually the case when you show up at an ER with a non-life-threatening condition, we waited for about 45 minutes to be seen. The short hospital stay itself was relatively uneventful. Fortunately Home Alone was on Freeform while we sat there. Nurses came and took an x-ray and then the doctor got him numb and put in seven stitches.
This whole experience turned out to be positive in a few ways. The first is that it will be the most memorable Christmas day in our family's history so far. What you do on Christmas tends to blur together and the memories become brief pictures in your mind with no reference of when they happened. Along with that memorable Christmas, Rockley learned a lot, as kids often only do with experience, some basics of injuries, and how caring for them works. My brother and I are pretty decent amateur EMTs because we both went in for numerous injuries of varying seriousness as kids. We've been there and done that.
The other positive, at least for my wife and me, is that we both saved about 2,000 calories of sweets and treats that we would have eaten in the three-plus hours we weren't at the house to eat. We probably avoided gaining a pound or two.
Yes, the whole experience was not fun and will no doubt be expensive, but it is better to be glass half full.