I had just locked the bathroom door behind me when Adrie screamed up the stairs, "Mom, Nathan's hurt bad--COME QUICK!" I finished as fast as humanly possible and ran up the street to where the neighborhood soccer game was going on.
Darren was at a conference in Washington, D.C. This was all mine.
Nathan was lying on the grass with a bunch of kids hovering over him. My neighbor, Alex, had a towel wrapped around his leg. Adrie whispered, "Mom don't freak out" as Alex moved the towel aside quickly to reveal the most hideous gash I had ever seen. Two of Nathan's buddies stood around with gaping mouths looking from me to Nathan anxiously. Nathan's knee was split six inches across, clear to the bone.
"What did you hit, Nathan?" I asked. Nathan moaned.
"We think the sprinkler head," Alex said. "But we're not sure."
"He must have been going 100 miles an hour," I told Alex.
"I was sliding to get a goal," Nathan choked. Ahhh. The all-important goal. Something to risk life and limb over. Literally. I hated all sports at that moment.
I managed not to react, but mustered up all the serenity I knew I had hiding somewhere. We called the neighbor over, Jeff, and his wife, Debbie, who is a nurse. "He needs to go to the emergency room right now," Debbie said calmly after a small glance underneath the towel. Jeff and his son Mark loaded Nathan onto my lap into Alex's back seat and I cradled his head and told him stories in the back seat as we drove to the ER.
In the ER we were first among all the other patients after the nurse looked at his leg. They made him stand on the scale even though I told the nurse exactly how much he weighed. I couldn't believe how slow it was to get checked in.
The worst part was the multiple shots into the open wound to deaden it. He was amazingly brave and strong during the ordeal. He would squeeze my hand when a shot went in and grab my head. When the pain dissipated for a minute, he would relax and wipe away the tears. I was it at that moment. His only comfort.
Then came irrigation of the wound. The nurse washed out a tons of grass and dirt with warm water that Nathan said felt really good. He managed to let a small smile escape.
Grandpa Greg and Uncle Alan showed up to give comfort and a blessing. Thank you both.
Then came stitches. The doctor thought it would take 20 minutes. It took nearly an hour. He did the under layer first with the self-dissolving kind. Then the top, which took nearly 30 to get the wound closed. When finished it looked like a baseball. Then ex-rays to make sure it wasn't broken. Then a tetanus shot. Then a knee immobilizer so he can't bend his leg.
Speaking of baseball, Nathan's out for the season. Sound familiar? He can't bend his knee for five days or the stitches could pop out. We are trying to find ways to entertain him.
Just Monday he was at the pool with his two soccer buddies, jumping off the diving board and going down the slide.
That's out for a month.
UGGGHHHH! I don't know if I can take it for the third time in nine months.
We clean the wound, change the dressing and slather it with antibiotic ointment three to four times a day. We take Tylenol with codeine for the pain. We are grateful to live in the era of TV, DVDs, game cube, computer games and board games.
We're grateful he didn't sever any tendons and need surgery. He has escaped surgery several times in the past nine months.
I am wondering how to build a bubble around my accident-prone, super-competitive son, to protect him from himself. Or to at least give the neighbors a break.
Jeff, my neighbor, called later to see how Nathan was doing. He said he's had five boys, hundreds of stitches, and too many trips to the ER to count. "It's just boys," he tries to reassure me.
Darren and I are not so sure. We think he needs to chill out when he's playing sports. Especially when it's just on someone's front lawn. He plays everything like it's the finals in a tournament!
"That's one tough kid you've got there," Jeff said. From how the past year has gone, he's going to need to be tough.
Later I remembered my Dad and his multiple scars. He had a smiley-face scar on his knee as well, and when he was entertaining kids, he used to love to pull up his pants and move the scar around and pretend it was talking! I wish I could remember now the story of how he got it. I probably heard it a hundred times.
It was eerily similar to Nathan's!