We took a trip to the urgent care yesterday, Matthew and I. It started out innocently enough. I asked him to throw away a can. I'd left a tiny part of the lid attached and, somehow, he managed to slice his finger on it. Blood poured out. It dripped on the floor. It filled paper towel after paper towel. It would not stop.
We were waiting for an A/C repair man who was supposed to have been to the house two hours before but hadn't showed up yet. I continued to apply pressure, called Troy, told him I thought I needed him to come home, made sandwiches with one hand, and got Matthew ready to go. Troy got home just a few minutes before the repair guy appeared. He wrapped Matthew's finger up tightly and I put my son in the car, instructing him to keep his hand over a bowl so that he didn't bleed all over the new (to us) van. One day, not too many years from now, he'll be on a couch somewhere, citing this moment.
"That's when I knew I was doomed, doctor. That's when I knew my mother had real issues that she was going to pass on to me. She cared more about the interior of a seven-year-old vehicle than she cared about me."
I'd seen enough of the cut to know it needed stitches.
Except when I got there, the doctor told me that the fingertip is the most painful place to stitch. He said that, though it did need stitches, the fingertips are also quick to heal and he'd prefer not to traumatize my son. He said it would alter his fingerprint but that it didn't matter because he's only four and doesn't have a record.
I interjected, "Oh, little do you know." And realistically, well, the kid has plenty of motive he just lacks opportunity. If one could be arrested on sheer dramatic emotion alone, he'd have a record more robust than the day is long.
The doctor also mentioned that he couldn't go in the water for at least eight days but that, with stitches, it would be ten. Our trip to Tahoe commences in one week. He bandaged it up and gave me instructions to change the dressing once a day for at least a week and then to keep a band-aid on it while it continues to heal.
He's four years old and mad as a hornet that he has to wear a bulky bandage on his finger. I can't even imagine what would have happened if we'd had to hold him down and stitch the sucker. Someone would have ended up with a black eye, of this I'm sure. And it wouldn't have been Matthew.
Last night, at our church softball game, he got the dressing filthy--despite my many instructions about STAYING AWAY FROM THE DIRT--and we had to change it prematurely. As soon as we took the bandage off, it started to bleed again. It wasn't bleeding as badly as it had earlier in the day so I got a better look. That cut is deep.
I'm certainly glad that we didn't have to traumatize him with stitches to the fingertip but I'm beginning to wonder just how long it's going to take this thing to heal. And just how mad my son is going to be every time we put yet another bulky bandage on it.
"I want this thing off now, okay?" he says as though it's not up for debate.
"No. You need to keep it on. Your finger has to get all better."
"Um. But it's all better now so I'm going to take it off," he replies.
And I worry (somewhat desperately) what the teenage years with this boy will be like.