Chooch fell down the steps earlier this evening. Thank god he was nearly all the way to the bottom before it happened, but he still fell from a distance great enough to result in a full flip through the air and a sloppy landing into the corner of a bookshelf.
I was at the bottom of the steps when it happened. First, I saw his toy airplane hit the floor, and when I heard a second thump, I turned toward the steps expecting to see more of his toys being hurled, as he sometimes does to be a dick. But the second thump turned out to be Chooch himself, hitting the fourth-to-the-last step and then bouncing back into the air long enough to gain the speed necessary to acquire a gooey gash on the side of his dome.
It was a flash of his blue shirt, a sickening thud, and my heart was lodged in my throat.
There was blood.
Since it was a head wound, there was a LOT of blood.
I remember there was that moment when time just flat out stopped, and we stared at each other, him in a supine position on the carpeted landing, and me in a paralyzed lunge. And then I think we started wailing hysterically in tandem. I saw the blood and my legs went noodley and I began gagging which caused HIM to gag and he was crying so hard and I was just flat out in a state of motherfucking PANIC.
Every time my brain would start to churn out rational thoughts, my synapses would get clogged with the sight of blood. It would be like, “Call the doct—-BLOODOMGBLOOD.” “Get some ice from the freez—-OH HOLY FUCK THAT’S A LOT OF BLOOD.” “Chooch, sit down—-OMG HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE THAT’S LIKE AN ENTIRE PERSON WORTH OF BLOOD.”
And he wouldn’t let me touch it. He just kept sobbing “Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” and he squatted under the dining room table and all I could think was that what if he hit his head so hard that his memory got all fucked up and his mind put together some horrible fable wherein I pushed him down the stairs?
It took something like 28 phone calls to Henry consisting of me screaming all helter skelter at him before Henry finally deduced that he should definitely not be at work and thank god for that man because he walked through the front door all calm-like just as I had gotten Chooch to settle down by putting on Silent Library, best show ever. Henry scoped out the gash as best as Chooch would let him, never once accused me of being a shitty mother, and very sedately announced, “OK let’s go to the hospital.” Just like that. He didn’t cry. His voice didn’t tremble. His knees didn’t quake. He kept it together and let me be the shaky, nervous, panicked, OMG-death-is-imminent parent.
It was slow night for emergencies so we were seen within ten minutes of arriving at the new Childrens Hospital. After a nurse took his vitals (I wish she would have checked my blood pressure, too) we were deposited into an exam room, where an older woman in a black cardigan came in wielding a clip board. “OMG it’s a social worker, I’m being questioned, they’re going to take my son away from me” was what went through my mind. It turned out to just be someone from Reception, who wanted to verify our address and insurance information. I resumed regular breathing.
Every time I would close my eyes, I saw the accident happening all over again, and it turned into a video game where I try to control myself to get there faster and catch him. Henry kept drilling it into my head that it wasn’t my fault, but I was the one home with him. I had just been with him too — he was in his room, where he goes to poop, and I checked in on him. He said he wasn’t done, I said take your time. I came back downstairs and it happened a minute later. And in the midst of all the commotion, all the crying, and all the blood, all he wanted was for me to change his poopy Pull-Up.
We were blessed to have a young and pretty doctor, and Chooch set him sights on her immediately. He actually let her, without a fight, push his ringlets to the side so she could assess the damage. She ran through some standard tests, making him follow simple instructions like touching his nose, sticking out his tongue, and touching her fingertip, and gave us the reassuring news that she saw no need for scans and that he didn’t seem to have suffered any neurological damage. She left, and we were left to entertain him for twenty minutes while the numbing agent sat on his wound.
Of course, he was back to being a crazy ass, doing and saying all the odd things he’s wont to do and say, and I asked rhetorically, “But was he EVER neurologically sound?” It was also fun to tell him that the zombies were skulking about the hospital floors, searching for him, because they could smell his brain stench emanating from his glutinous scalp cleft. Henry scolded me, so of course I did it some more. What, Chooch LOVES zombies!
While the doctor was gone, Chooch started acting real goofy, walking in clumsy circles and talking with a protruding tongue. At first I was like, “Maybe he hit his head harder than we thought…” but then it hit me. “He’s acting like a kid with a crush,” I pointed out to Henry, who heartily agreed.
“This is how he was acting around the girls working in Kiddieland on Sunday,” Henry said, and we laughed as Chooch pressed his face against the sliding door of the exam room, eye-flirting with a nurse out in the hall. Then I had a fleeting vision of hm growing up to be the next Richard Speck and suddenly it wasn’t so cute anymore.
Chooch wound up getting three staples. The doctor came back with a nurse and somehow they managed to keep him prone on the exam table with him displaying nary a buck or struggle. He whimpered a little when his wound was being washed, and he definitely cried audibly during the stapling, but all in all I’d say he was much braver than I ever would have been in his position. I’d have been, “It’s OK, just let me bleed out, k, c-ya bye” if someone came near my head with a fucking medical stapler, bitch you better step off.
Chooch didn’t want to remove his patient smock, so the doctor let him keep it, along with the large syringe she used to squirt his wound with water.
We were in and out within an hour and a half. The new hospital is amazing and it was a much better experience than the last time we had to take him to the old Childrens Hospital. n of course, why should my night end quietly, all the neighbors were out when we came home so I got to tell them all about how I’m a shitty mother who couldn’t function when her kid needed her most. I just keep getting more and more awesome.
Of course, once we were home, Chooch had at least ten more near-accidents, four of which were on the steps.