This morning started out like any other school day. At a quarter past eight I had fed Jake and Nate their breakfast, Max and Rebecca were happily at the table eating their breakfast and I was puttering around the kitchen. Everybody was dressed and we were on time. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jake bouncing along through the kitchen and to the den. Then suddenly I heard a great howl from both of the older boys.
I whirled around and saw Jake reeling back keening in pain with his hands covering his mouth. Nate was rolling on the floor clutching his head and crying. I paused trying to decide which child to go to first. Then I caught a glimpse of blood between Jake’s fingers. Grabbing a handful of paper towels I got to Jake just as he leaned forward. I shoved the towels under his chin and blotted up the bloody mess before it spilled out of his mouth. I stood there comforting him while cleaning up his face. Once he calmed down a bit I got a good look at his mouth and saw that he had split his lip. It was a good size tear, just under a half inch in length on the inside of his lower lip. I stared at it for a few minutes. It was right at the cusp of needing stitches. Great, this means a trip to the doctor, so much for making the bus for this kid. I gave Jake a fresh paper towel and told him we were probably going to the doctor’s office to check him out.
I then turned my attention to Nate. He was still on the floor whimpering in pain. I squatted down next to him and asked him where he hurt. He moaned “My head, my head hurts.” He then patted the side of his head. I parted his hair and careful examined him. There wasn’t even the tiniest of marks on him. I helped him to his feet and stole a glance at the kitchen clock; it was just a little bit before . Hey, we could still make the bus!
Jake was wandering about in his sandals and Nate had his socks, but no shoes. I told them to get their shoes on and to get in the car. Jake protested that he was going to the doctors and that he didn’t need to put on shoes. I pointed out that he would be directly going to school afterwards. Meanwhile Max was hopping about wanting his boots. I asked them if they were in the car and he said yes. I knew Rebecca’s boots were in the car, so it was a fair to guess that Max’s would be there too. We scooped up the backpacks and got into the car.
We made it to the bus stop in plenty of time. As we waited I cleaned up the few drops of blood on Jake’s shorts. Amazingly the rest of his outfit had remained clean. The driver was a bit puzzled when I escorted just Nate to the bus. I stepped onto the bus and told her about this morning’s drama. Basically I would be driving Jake to school. The driver gave a little gasp and then dug out a couple of pieces of candy for Jake. She said that he probably wouldn’t want to eat it now (nor would I want him too), but she wanted to give him some. I thanked her, stepped off the bus and waved as the bus pulled away.
Back in the car I had another decision to make. Where should we go? I could drive to the pediatrician’s office, but that was a solid half hour’s drive. It could also be a complete zoo there with a very long wait. The alternative was a walk-in clinic that was just 20 minutes away and 10 minutes from the school. This too could be zoo and sometimes they get a bit overwhelmed and punt the awkward pediatric cases to the local ER. Hmmm. I decided to go for the clinic. Jake has gotten stitches before and behaved like a champ.
During the drive to the clinic Jake asked me what they were going to do. I have found that when Jake goes to a doctor it is best to give him full rundown on what may or may not happen. So I told him that they would clean the wound and poke around it and they *might* put in a few stitches. I then told him that I had noticed earlier that there was a small flap of skin on his lip. It looked as though he had skinned the top of his lip as well. The doctor would probably trim that away, but it should not hurt... much. Soon we were at the clinic and we pulled into the parking lot.
There were a fair amount of cars parked, but the waiting room was mostly empty. I signed Jake in a sat down with my crew minus Nate. A few minutes later we were called up to show the health insurance card and pay for our co-payment. Max was a bit noisy at that point and I had to keep shushing him so I could hear the receptionist. Once we were done we returned to our seats. Almost immediately Jake was called to go back, to the examining rooms. I then herded everybody through the vital signs stations and on to the exam room. Soon the Dr. poked her head in and introduced herself.
As she examined Jake she told us how she seems fat bloody lips all the time. Her youngest child was just learning how to walk and was always falling down and bashing his lip. She poked and prodded and even checked his teeth. They were all fine and still firmly in place. Then she ducked out of the room to pick up a surgical kit to trim off the flap. Jake sat there and quietly waited as she removed the flap of tissue. I was very proud of how well behaved he was. This was even more remarkable considering the rambunctious antics of his two younger siblings. She then looked at the lip some more and told us how she didn’t think he needed stitches, but it was a close thing and she wanted to consult with the other Dr. that was there. She then stepped out and ushered the other Dr. into the examining room.
He peered at the wound and commented about the scrape on Jake’s lip. She explained how she had already trimmed away a bit of skin and all that was left was the cut itself. After a moment and a bit more poking he agreed that stitches would not be needed. At that point I commented that I was glad that it was a tough call for them about the stitches, because I hadn’t been sure myself. I was then told we could ice the wound and they would be giving us a script for an antibiotic. Since the wound was on the inside of his lip it was a likely spot for an infection. With a handful for papers for me and a boatload of stickers for each child we were sent on our way. At that point it was just turning 9:20, Jake was officially tardy.
In the end he was only 20 minutes late. He did get a tardy slip, but at least he had a very good excuse.