Monday, April 13, 2015

They Did To My Son What They Do To Terrorists in War - Torture - by Rachelle

I hate to write this post, but I have to. I have to get it out somehow. It’s haunting me. It’s like a nightmare I can’t get away from. 

My youngest son, Evan, had his second ER visit the other night. Second…and he’s only three. I don’t like the odds here. Maybe we can be done with ER visits now? I know I sound na├»ve, and right now, I’m pretending to be. I know there will be more, but the other night’s visit was enough for a lifetime of ER visits. I’m good, thank you very much. 

So the other day, when I was cooking dinner with my sis-in-law who was visiting from Colorado, my brother, hubby, and all four children (our two and their two) went to launch rockets at a nearby park. Before they left, Evan was soaking in the bath, talking nonstop about launching his rocket. He was so excited. This kid is the next great rocket scientist or aerospace engineer, I’m telling ya. He is so passionate about anything that takes flight. I’m telling you this so you’ll know why my heart was so broken for this little boy who not only got hurt, but did not get to make more than one launch that day. 

A previous rocket-launching outing...just to paint a picture

My nephew Caleb came into the house not long after they left for the park, and I said, “did you have fun flying rockets?” He said: “Yes. But we didn’t come home because we were done flying rockets.” “Then why did you come home?” I asked. “Because Evan needs to go to the doctor.” 

I ran outside to find all three children out of the car with Evan still inside, screaming, holding a bloody napkin around his finger. “What happened???” I asked frantically. My husband, Bobby, calmly informed me that Evan had smashed his finger in a gate at the park. I knew the park immediately. And which darn gate he was talking about. It’s this fast-closing, spring-loaded gate that is shorter than my 3 year old. A perfect hazard that nips the fingers of most children who enter or exit it. 

Well, this time it was more than a nip. The way this gate closed tore Evan’s fingernail right out from the cuticle. Completely out. I almost couldn’t look at it. I have a stomach made of (what’s the opposite of steel. Mush?), apparently. I cringed, I cried internally, and I gave him a huge hug, kissed his teary face, and ran inside the house to grab my shoes.

Bobby and I headed to the ER. I could write an endlessly long blog post about what we saw and heard in that ER (during the 2 hours we were sitting on a hallway bed awaiting a room) – like the lady with the ruptured appendix, the man with the bloody face, the baby screaming, or the elderly man who moaned constantly – but I won’t. 

Instead, I’ll tell you what happened once we got into our room. It was pure hell. I had to wake Evan up (we’d been at the ER for more than 4 hours at this point, and it was way beyond his bedtime. He had actually curled up in a little ball on the hallway bed before finally going into our room). So I scooped his warm, cozy little body up and placed him, chest to chest, on me. 

Moments before the torture began

Notice the rocket flag in his pocket (pictured above:)
The doctor had to numb his finger with lidocaine, so he started out by poking him numerous times at the base of his finger. Evan started whispering “owe, owe, owe” over and over, until his whispers turned louder and louder. 

He was trying so hard to be so brave. And that’s all I kept thinking was, Wow, this is going to be easy for him. He’s taking it like a little man! 

The doctor had warned Bobby and me before he started that this was going to be a scream fest. Evan was going to prove him wrong. 

And then it began.   

As we all know, lidocaine should work instantly…”should.” It didn’t. With Evan pressed tightly to my chest, the doctor to my left, Bobby to my right, and my face pressed into Evan’s neck, I saw none of it. I just heard it and felt it. Evan’s body shook violently in my arms. So violently that I had to hold him down hard while his bottom half squirmed all the way up to my neck. He’s a strong boy.

It’s okay, I said right into his ear. His tears dripped onto my lips. “It’s gonna be over soon. Evan, look at mommy, it’s gonna stop hurting really soon.”

That effing lidocaine was turning me into an effing liar. The pain didn’t stop. The doctor was pulling up Evan’s raw, bloody cuticle and trying to shove the detached fingernail back in (the doctor’s fear was that if he didn’t get it in there, the nail bed would heal closed without a new nail growing in…and Evan would never have a fingernail on that finger again). He had to try. 

Again, I couldn’t see a thing. All I kept thinking was, “Why is he still crying!?! Shouldn’t the medicine have kicked in by now?” The doctor tried a few more times. Just when I couldn’t imagine Evan’s cries getting any louder or any more desperate, they did. His body was retching in pain. My face cringed as though I was feeling it myself. 

Earlier, a mother had been standing in the ER right before we went into the room. Her daughter’s appendix had nearly ruptured and she needed surgery immediately.
“When they hurt, you hurt,” she said sympathetically, looking down at my 3-year old precious boy lying there, awaiting his torture. She pointed at her daughter – who was at least 50 years old – as they wheeled her past us. “No matter their age.”

Evan was hurting and so was I. I can’t begin to put the pain into words. As Evan’s body was heaving forward, his face right in mine, his eyes looked like they were going to pop from his head as he strained to look at what this doctor was doing to his finger. His face was redder than his wagon. He kept screaming “This is stupid! This is stupid! I hate this!”   

His screams got louder every time the doctor attempted to put the nail back into place. Later, when it was all over, all I could think about was how, in war, they do this same drill as torture to get information from bad guys. The doctor was trying to help, but he was torturing my son. 

“That’s enough,” Bobby and I said. “This clearly isn’t working.” 

The doctor left the room and left us with a question that we needed to answer when he returned. “Do we poke his finger one more time…this time, directly to the cuticle? If we numb it there, he won’t feel a thing when I put the nail back in.”

We sat there for about 10 minutes. Evan fell asleep on my chest once again, and was snoring within seconds. We decided yes, one more poke. But that’s it. Inject one more time, and if he feels even the slightest touch afterward, we are done. 

He injected, Evan screamed, and we were done. No more attempts. The lidocaine was clearly not going to work. No idea why. Was the doctor just missing the nerves? Why couldn’t he numb Evan’s finger??? A fingernail was not worth this. 

The nurse wrapped Evan’s finger in green gauze and we called it a night. A late night. A midnight night. Evan begged to sleep with the roll of leftover gauze in our bed when we got home…said it made him feel better. Of course, we said yes. He fell right to sleep. 

He will probably never forget this night of torture, and I know we certainly won’t. 

There are things a mother never forgets. The way her child moves in her stomach when she is carrying him. The feeling of holding him for the first time. And this. The memories we want to erase so desperately from our minds even as they’re happening. 

When they hurt, we hurt. I’ll never forget that. I would take every ounce of already felt pain and future pain away from my kids if I could. But I can’t. All I can do is feel it with them. And, unfortunately, it will never hurt any less.  

1 comment:

Julie Korpan said...

Oh man, Rachelle. I'm sorry sorry to hear about this and what you guys went through. Poor baby and mommy. :-( I hope it heals well and fast.