Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using: SPRING, SNOW, FLOWERS, CHOCOLATE, DRESS, and DINNER.
They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact on us.
Last weekend we spent our Sunday in the emergency room with a three year old with blood poisoning spreading up his arm faster than we could document it. The doctors were throwing around words like surgery, IV, and infection. My brain couldn’t process what had happened. I just kept looking at his chubby little hand with the tiniest cut on the palm just below his middle finger. It looked like scratch. I couldn’t understand how we’d gotten there.
The whole fiasco had started less than 24 hours earlier while we were enjoying a relaxing SPRING afternoon at my mom’s house. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the squirrels were tormenting the dogs. It was a perfect Saturday. Until it wasn’t.
We were sitting on the deck watching the three year old throw balls for the dogs. His laughter was infectious. He was having so much fun chasing after them and hurling the little ball as far as his stubby toddler arm could manage, that no one had the heart to say anything when he occasionally trotted exuberantly into one of the FLOWER beds. It was worth a crushed tulip here or a battered daffodil there to witness the sheer joy of childhood.
Eventually, the dogs grew tired and retreated to their beds on the deck for a quick nap. The three year old stubbornly forged on with the game for a while, throwing the ball for himself and then chasing it down. He’d been stuck inside for so long because of all the SNOW this winter that I think he was plenty entertained by the sight of grass under his feet.
After fifteen minutes or so of aimless wandering in the yard, he grew bored and came looking for some stimulation. He crept up the steps to the deck on all fours because he’s three and sometimes when you’re a toddler you just have to climb the stairs like a bear. Unfortunately, the dog was asleep at the top of the stairs and being snuck up on by bears, or three year olds, is not among his favorite wake up calls.
It happened so quickly I didn’t even see it. The three year old crawled across the dog bed, the dog snarled, and the three year old cried. It was over before we’d even processed what happened. I gathered up my sobbing first born and proceeded to assess the damage. He had a couple tooth-shaped indentations on the top of his hand and one tiny scratch and a larger cut on his palm. The cut was bleeding, but once I cleaned it up it wasn’t very gruesome. I washed it, applied some Neosporin, slapped on a BandAid and considered the matter closed. As far as the three year old was concerned it was nothing a little CHOCOLATE couldn’t cure.
By the time the wounds were properly dressed and the child pacified with sweets, it was already starting to cool down outside. We headed back in the house to start DINNER. No one mentioned the dog bite again.
The next morning I woke to a strange sound. It took me a minute to clear my head enough to realize that the three year old was sitting at the top of the stairs outside our bedroom crying. I jumped out of bed and rushed to see what had happened. Had he fallen down the stairs? Thankfully, he had not. It was still early so the stairwell was bathed in the soft golden glow of dawn.
I sat down on the step next to him and asked what was wrong. He said his hand hurt, which given he’d been bitten by a dog the night before wasn’t entirely surprising. I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t something more serious. I looked at his hand. It was hard to see in the dim light, but it was definitely swollen. Ok, I guess that could be normal after an animal bite.
I carried him downstairs to the bathroom, parked him on the toilet, and brought him some ibuprofen for the swelling. Now that I was surrounded by the painfully bright fluorescent lights of our bathroom, I asked to look at his hand again. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. His right hand was about twice the size of his left. There was a large red splotch on the back of his hand and the skin around the bite on his palm was purple. There were also a series of red streaks traveling from his wrist about half way up his forearm. They looked like veins only red instead of blue.
I still didn’t panic. Even though I knew that red streaks coming from a wound pretty much never meant anything good, I just refused to believe that a 2mm bite from a healthy dog could lead to anything life-threatening. Certainly not that fast. Despite my skepticism, we packed up both kids and headed to the emergency room. Why do kids always get hurt on Sunday when doctor’s offices are closed?
I braced myself to spend all day in the waiting room surrounded by the sick and the accident prone. Fortunately they sent us to triage right away and we were seen by a nurse within 10 minutes. Apparently when you use the words three year old, dog bite, and blood poisoning in the same sentence you get upgraded to VIP treatment. It has been just over an hour and a half since I first noticed the lines on his arm and they had already moved past his elbow and half way up his forearm. The doctor told him the infection had spread to his lymph nodes as well.
I thought dogs’ mouths were supposed to be clean.
After the nurse we were seen by a physician’s assistant. He took one look at my son’s hand and ordered an X-ray. I was having trouble assimilating the perky child telling the nurses about all the moons in the solar system with the aggressive infection that was demanding such swift and earnest action. It was just a dog bite, I was repeating over and over in my head. I kept waiting for someone to come in and tell me I’d overreacted by bringing him into the hospital in the first place, but that person never came.
They wheeled in the enormous portable X-ray machine to my son’s squealing delight. In his mind, this was shaping up to be the best Sunday ever. Getting to see a picture of the inside of his hand was well worth the minor annoyance of a swollen hand. I stood idly by while the nurses buzzed around him, posing his hand for the photos. I felt like I was sleep walking, which considering I was lucky I remembered to put on pants as we ran out of the house that morning let alone eat breakfast, was probably partially true. I hadn’t even bothered to DRESS the baby.
A few minutes later we were visited by the doctor. He was hesitant to let us leave the hospital without admitting my son for monitoring, but said because he didn’t appear to be in a great deal of pain he was going to let us take him home with strict instructions to rush him back in if anything changed for the worse and he would be rushed into surgery immediately to clean out the wound.
I was still processing the fact that we almost had to stay the night in the ER for a dog bite. It wasn’t even a giant german shepherd, more like a petite poodle.
We left the emergency room a mere two and a half hours after we left the house that morning. Clutching my now very tired baby and a prescription for some hardcore antibiotics, we headed back home in a daze. The three year old babbled cheerily from the back seat about how he’d seen inside his skin and how he wanted to go to his friend’s birthday party later that day. Had this child really been moments away from surgery?
By bedtime that night the streaks on his arm had receded back to below his elbow and by the next morning they were almost gone. In the five days since the injury occurred we have been to convenient care, the emergency room, and the orthopedic hand specialist twice. I didn’t see as many doctors when I gave birth to my son. All from a tiny little nip from a dog that he’s known his entire life.
I’ve watched my son fall off beds, smash into table corners, split his lip on the edge of a bathtub, scrape knees and elbows, crash his bike, and fall over more times than I can count. He’s never been to the doctor for anything other than his regular check ups. Not once. Until now. Sometimes the most innocent looking events are actually the ones that sneak up on you when you least expect them and bite you in your unsuspecting butt.
Fortunately for us, it seems he narrowly escaped a much worse fate. His hand is healing nicely and has responded well to the antibiotics. They do not expect he will need surgery after all. It wasn’t until our most recent doctor’s appointment, when they gave us this good news, that I finally felt the full weight of what almost happened to us. I looked at that sweet little hand, that I made inside my own body, and shuddered to think of some masked doctor cutting it open on a cold table with his sterile knife.
Such a tiny thing can have such a big effect on you. And looking at that tiny hand in mine as I held him close I felt all the fear and all the pain that I’d blocked out for those five days. He asked me why I was crying and I wasn’t even sure I knew the answer. I told him “because I love you so much”, and he accepted that as a perfectly rational reason to break down into a sobbing pile of goo at his feet. He kissed me and then promptly retracted his hand and ran off to play. To him it was nothing, but to me it was everything.
Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact on us.
Please check out these other great blogs who participated in this month’s challenge:
http://bakinginatornado.com – Baking In A Tornado
http://followmehome.shellybean.com – Follow me home
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/ – Stacy Sews and Schools
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com – Someone Else’s Genius
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ – Confessions of a part-time working mom
http://www.themomisodes.com – The Momisodes
http://www.impoverishedvegan.com – Impoverished Vegan
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com – Spatulas on Parade
http://batteredhope.blogspot.com – Battered Hope
http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com – Evil Joy Speaks
http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com – Juicebox Confession