Monday, July 12, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good in this story does not come from a character named Blondie, nor does it come from Clint Eastwood himself.  There is a character involved, however. Before Saturday I had never seen or spoke to this character. She was just another unfortunate person stuck in medical purgatory with us. Then out of the blue this stranger approached our little family circle and offered us her turn. She was next in line to be freed from Emergency Room Waiting Area #1, but she was ceding her spot to us. The lady said she couldn't bring herself to go ahead of a crying baby. It's a sad commentary on society that whenever someone does something nice I am completely floored. I only expect rude comments and totally self involved behavior from everyone I encounter. But on this day God sent a kind, compassionate person to help us out. Arica hugged her. I thanked her time and again, and we hurried off through the swinging doors.

The bad should seem obvious by now. We were in the emergency room with a crying baby. Yes, that baby was Braden. He had hurt his arm earlier that afternoon. When this woman interceded and got us some help we had been in the waiting room for over three hours. In all that time Braden had not moved his right arm. Even the slightest movement or jostling would elicit a painful cry from the little trooper. As long as we could keep his arm still things were manageable. Still Braden had been crying for the better part of four hours and that is heart wrenching for a parent. Equally as terrible was watching him try to do things while his right arm hung limp. It was awful.

Sharing the bad moniker in this story is the hospital. What kind of place doesn't cater to children. We watched several people that looked OK come in after us and get medical attention before us. The powers that be were letting people jump a crying baby in line. There were a few emergencies, and that is certainly understandable. Short of people that need immediate attention, crying babies with limp arms should go first. Children are the helpless, defenseless future of mankind. Surely that warrants special care. Thank goodness that one of the patients had more decency and good sense than the hospital. In this case the inmates running the asylum was a blessing.

The ugliness in this story lies in the genesis of the whole situation. The man that caused my son this pain will bear the title of The Ugly. That man is me. I sent my own son to the emergency room.  I was swinging him around by his arms and legs. Nothing snapped or popped. There was no violent jerking or collision. Yet, when I sat Braden down he began to cry. He was holding his arm. He wasn't moving it. I kissed it over and over because this normally cures all his ailments. Still the crying continued. Finally I called Arica who was on her way home. She called the doctor's office only to find that the clinics were closed for the day. Our only option was the emergency room. So here I was holding my crying child, cradling his lifeless little arm, and staring straight into the ugly truth that all this was my fault. That is a tough burden to shoulder.

Of course this story can't end there, and thankfully it won't end on a grim note either.This story will have to become The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Blessed. We were truly blessed there was no serious injury. The doctor came in, looked Braden over, and proclaimed he thought it was something called Nursemaids Elbow. If you twist and pull a little ones arm just right the ligament in their elbow will pop out of place. Apparently that had happened to Braden. The doc bent Braden's arm, Braden screamed, and in a few minutes all was well. Braden went on like nothing ever happened.

Other than all that it was just a normal Saturday including a good woman, a bad injury, an ugly feeling, and a blessed and healthy child.

Note to self: Stop swinging Braden by his arms.


Brandy said...

I am so sorry. my dad did this to me when I was little too. I don't remember anything about it. My parents do tell me the story that everyone was treating my dad like a child abuser.

I took G to the ER once and it was worst experience ever. Keeping G from touching everything that the sick people had touched was such a chore.

SurprisedMom said...

Swinging Braden by his arms is probably something Braden enjoys or enjoyed immensely. Almost all kids like to be swung around. It's fun. So I hope you're not beating yourself up, too badly. You're not ugly and you're not a bad dad. You and your son were having fun. It's sad that it ended up hurting Braden, but you didn't know that would happen.

As for emergency room, they are notorious for their slow, inadequate, unfair service. Unfortunately, patients are just numbers, numbers in line and numbers on the bottom line. To make a crying baby wait almost four hours to get seen is abominable. Babies should go to the head of the line, right behind life and death emergencies. If I ruled the world, or at least the hospitals, this would be a hard and fast rule. Babies don't understand why adults don't make the pain stop. They don't understand "waiting your turn." They are scared. I'm so sorry Braden had to be in pain for such a long time. Give him a hug for me.

The women in the emergency room is an angel. I hope if that ever happened to me, I would be gracious enough to echo her actions.

I'm sorry your weekend was such a rough one. I bet both Arica and you were exhausted after your visit to the emergency room. I hope you're recovered somewhat.

Manic Mommy said...

So glad he's okay! My neighbor's son had nursemaid's elbow and I do know it's fairly common. So sorry you were the cause! So, so sorry the hospital was such a horror show!d

PJ Mullen said...

Poor little guy. Glad it ended up being something relatively easy to cure. I had a moment like that once, scared the bejesus out of me. I decided swinging little man around was no longer a good idea.

Tom said...

I feel bad for the little dude... but you can bet he's going to get a whole bunch more bumps, bruises, scrapes and lacerations before he reaches adulthood.

Don't be hard on yourself. Like SurprisedMom said, he probably enjoyed the play and will remember that a whole lot better than the thing with the arm.

Baby boys are made out of rubber. They might get bent, but snap back quick. Keep swinging him, just be mindful of his elbow ligament.

Eric said...

I take it they do not have a children's er? That's the only place we go when they kids are hurt or not feeling well. When my son broke his arm earlier in the year, we went right to the back.

Sorry about your experience. Glad the little guy is doing better.

Jack said...

My dad did that to my sister. The good news is that she is perfectly fine and doesn't remember it.

I am sure the same will happen with Braden. It is scary, but sounds like things worked out.