Sunday, August 5, 2007

Garrett and the Great Bloody Head Caper (another oldie)

This happened back in March and was posted on myspace but Heidi J. never read it so I'm posting here. (Shout out to Heidi!) Enjoy~

Garrett and The Great Bloody Head Caper

This is a story of a head wound. It's the story of a seven month old who has suddenly decided to become mobile. My boy can't walk, in fact, he can't even crawl. But he can roll and roll and roll and he does a mean backward scoot. No longer content to stay where you put him, and now acutely aware of where mommy is at all times, this is the story of a tantrum.

Generally speaking, Garrett is an angel. I could not have asked for a better baby. Troy and I joke that he was hard to come by because babies of his excellence and caliber are on back order from heaven. However, lately, showering has become a real problem. I either have to take one only when Troy is home or I have to endure eight to ten minutes of shrieking from my young son. He sounds like someone is ramming needles into his skin or breaking every toe on his tiny little foot one by one by one. No amount of talking calmly to him, no amount of singing, no amount of silence, and, though I'm not proud of this fact, no amount of matching his yells will quiet the child. He wants me and he wants me NOW. Not when my hair is clean. Not when I've finished shaving. Now. Immediately. Truth be told, I think he prefers me filthy.

I've been putting him in the laundry basket, just outside of the bathroom door, with a bunch of toys and hoping for the best. Usually, ten minutes later, I am clean, my blood pressure is a little higher, and Garrett is beet red with tear stains and snot all over his face. The screaming generally starts as soon as I pull the curtain closed on the shower. But he's on to me. Yesterday there was something about inserting him in the laundry basket or taking off my clothes, or turning on the water that was cause for a total meltdown. He was screaming and smacking his hands up and down and I'd finally had it. I just wanted ten minutes of warm watery bliss. No shrieking. So I got the brilliant idea to put him in the shower with me. Our tub has a giant ledge in the back (I'm really not sure why) and the water doesn't really hit it. I figured I could put the basket up there, with Garrett in it and he could see me and I could shower and it would be the best of both worlds. I know what you're thinking but no...this bright idea is not how Garrett came to be bloody.

With the baby still in the basket, which was still on the floor, I turned around to make sure the shower head was pointing down so that Garrett wouldn't get soaked when I put the basket on the ledge. I don't know what he did, but apparently my turning my back on him was cause for one of two things:

1. He pulled himself up for the first time (he's been getting close so this is a possibility)
2. He, angrily, flung himself forward, thus tipping the basket.

In any case, in the nanosecond that I had my back turned, I heard the giant thud and the subsequent blood curdling scream unlike anything I have ever heard come from his small little lungs. As I turned and went to pick him up I yelled, "Garrett this is what happens when you throw giant tan--" I cut the lecture short. Drip, drip, drip. Three quick drips of blood hit the floor. My first thought was that he'd bonked his nose, "I've never had a bloody nose how do I stop it." (It's true, I'm some kind of mutant.) However, this was followed closely by the realization that my child's face was literally covered in blood. By now it had been about seven seconds since I'd heard the thud and his ear had a puddle of blood sitting in it. His right eye was nothing but blood and he wouldn't blink it out so he looked like something out of a horror movie. And there was an L-shaped dent about a centimeter long above his left eye, just under the hairline. Under the L shape was a hole that kind of looked like I'd rammed an ice pick into his head. Blood was continually gushing from aforementioned L-shape and ice pick hole.
Remember how I'd been just about to get in the shower? I don't know if many of you shower fully clothed but, I, for one, do not. Blood gushing baby screaming unlike anything I'd ever heard. Naked mommy. It was really, a thrilling combination. Troy--by the way--was three hours north on his way home from winter camp with some elementary schoolers.

I turned off the water, grabbed some toilet paper which I immediately put to his head and dashed for the phone. My parents were on their way in moments. By the time they got to my house, I had got the bleeding to stop, I'd managed to get myself mostly re-clothed, and Garrett, actually, seemed to think the whole thing was pretty funny. After all, he'd gotten his way. I was still as dirty as before and now I was also covered in blood. My dad, who knows a goodly amount about first aid, figured he needed some medical attention. My mom went down with me, since we figured he shouldn't be alone in the backseat of the car. Thinking he needed stitches, we headed to the ER. However, just a minute from my house we decided I should call. It's not that I don't love my son, but if I could take him to San Marcos for fifteen dollars as opposed to Zion for a hundred, I'm going to. I had to pull over because I was on the phone with a nurse who asked me fifty two billion questions to determine whether or not he needed hospital attention.

Does he recognize you as mommy? -yes

Can he move his limbs? -yes

Does he have blood coming out of his ears? -no

Did he fall more than five feet? -no

Does he have a headache? -um. I...really...don't...know. He seems fine now. (How, exactly, do I determine if my seven month old has a headache? Ask him?)

Does he have bone protruding from his face or skull? -no (Yah, lady, my kid has bone hanging out of his face and I'm sitting on the phone with you wondering if it's really neccesary for me to take him to the emergency room. I know they have standard questions that they have to ask but come on...)

Several questions later it was determined that he could go to Intermediate Care in San Marcos. It was incredible. No wait. Fifteen dollars. Beautiful facility. Very nice doctor. The first guy, the one who cleaned it out, thought he needed a couple of stitches. The doctor determined that, once cleaned out, what looked like a literal dent in Garrett's head was actually missing skin, therefore, there was nothing to stitch. He pulled the skin as tightly as he could and put three big strips of tape over the wound. Then he bandaged over the tape so that inquiring fingers wouldn't disrupt the healing process. He goes in to get it checked tomorrow.

I think I stayed fairly calm. I might have sounded a little freaked on the phone with my mom but I think I remained in control. I applied direct pressure and got the bleeding to stop. I managed to calm him down so that the shrieking wouldn't intensify the entire situation. I dealt with the whole bloody caper. But there was a minute there, when I couldn't get the bleeding to stop, when I was staring into this puncture wound (I still don't know if he hit the screw on the bottom of the toilet or the edge of a raised tile) wondering how deep it went and what kind of skull fracture and subsequent brain damage my baby had acquired all because I selfishly wanted to take a shower.

Once the bleeding stopped and I realized that I didn't see any skull at the end of the puncture tunnel and my baby was interacting with me and, indeed, smiling, I realized that Garrett needs to learn to curb his temper. It's not unreasonable to ask him to let me take a shower. However, there will never be a laundry basket with a baby in it sitting on my bathtub ledge. I've seen the damage an 18 inch fall can do, three or four feet is definitely out of the question.

He's all boy. Troy said he did it because he knows that chicks dig scars. We'll see...

1 comment:

  1. i love a good scary story with a happy ending. especially since this just may happen to me one day and, if it does, i will surely say to myself "garrett survived this, so tristan will too!"

    p.s. chandra (girl who attends mvcc and is due in december) just found out she's having a girl. what is UP with all these females??!)