Thursday, July 05, 2007
Blood Bath of '07
I am officially declaring that we have had our share of BLOOD for the month now! Monday evening Matthew and Kenny were showering together late in the evening, having had a total blast together with Joshie out riding their bikes in the waning evening sun while mom and dad visited with neighbors. One of those classic summer evenings where all feels right in your world, you can hear the sound of nearby sprinklers and children's laughter, a light breeze is keeping the mosquitos at bay, and you just wish life could go on like this forever. I went inside to clean up the kitchen and in comes Joshie carried in Dominick's arms, deep sobs and crocodile tears flowing as he has a seriously skinned knee from falling off his bike. The blood flows, I coo softly in his ear that he will be all right, and then my Drama King's sobs slow as he watches how cool it is to see hydrogen peroxide bubble up. Because he insists he simply can not have a bath or shower tonight because his leg will fall off, I gently wipe him all down, lotion him up and get him dressed for bed while Matthew and Kenny are giggling and teasing one another getting into the shower. Man, are they really enjoying one another!
As I am finishing getting Joshie done, I hear a blood curdling scream, I kid you not, and Matthew who is sitting on the floor of his bedrooom with sopping wet hair alongside Kenny is holding his ear and in between screams says that Kenny was trying to clean his ears for him and jammed the QTip in way too far. We never let the boys clean their own ears for exactly this reason, but Kenny came to us already doing it so we have allowed him to do it for himself. I never imagined he would try to "help" his brother and clean his ears for him too!! Well, one look with a flashlight and the sight of blood had me rushing to throw on clean clothes and rush him to the ER, where thankfully the eardrum was proclaimed intact. Matthew had calmed down on the way there and said it was now more like a dull ache, so as we sat there watching "Deadliest Catch" on the TV in the ER room, I am mentally calculating the $200+ cost of this evening's visit. However, with blood in the ear we didn't want to take any chances. Both Matthew and I had a hard time keeping a straight face as we explained to the admitting nurse what had happened, and the young kindly ER doc came in laughing saying that on the admitting board they had listed "Overzealous ear cleaning by new brother" as the injury :-)
The next afternoon was not filled with as much humor though, as it was Kenny's turn for the "Blood Bath of '07" at the LaJoy's. After being asked at least 40 times how many shots he might have to have and not being satisfied with Mom's "I don't know" answer, we headed off to Kenny's first dental appointment...the first of many we will no doubt have over the next several years with his cleft issues. When making the appointment I had explained to the dentist's staff about Kenny's fear of anything having to do with his mouth, and his background and they called in a prescription of valium for him to take an hour before the appointment to help him relax a little. While it definitely had an effect on him (when in the car on the drive over he sat half numb, for once not having to open the glove box 600 times or play with every switch he could reach), when we were called in to the treatment room he still started crying, obviously fearful of what the next hour would hold for him.
The dentist and his hygienest were superb, very kind and understanding, explaining every single move to him, letting him see tools, etc. Immediately the dentist determined that the one tooth we were most concerned about would have to be pulled (a baby tooth, thankfully), and there was another one upon visual inspection that would need a filling. Trying to keep this all less traumatic for Kenny, he decided to forego the whole cleaning and full xray treatment, and just work on those two teeth this time around. Kenny was so scared, shrinking away from his touch, crying when he saw the dental tools that he thought were needles (They do look sharp!), and asking repeatedly if he was going to get a shot. Once we knew what was going to occur, I sat him up in my lap, and told him he would have to have 2 shots, one on the top and one on the bottom, and then the dentist would fix his boo boo tooth. I didn't tell him he was yanking the one tooth, not wanting to further scare him. He was understandably very upset and they gave him nitrous oxide to help further relax him, which really didn't do all that much good. In between every step, Kenny would sit on my lap, letting me comfort him, and I was holding his hands through it all as they let me sit right beside him even though I know I was in their way. They really were quite kind and understanding.
The shots were very painful but once they were administered he seemed more disturbed at the numb sensation than anything, and he did very well with the drill and fill of his tooth, which the dentist said he almost thought about pulling because it was so deep but decided to try and fill first. Then came the really tough one...pulling the bad tooth. Prior to trying to pull it, the dentist tested it to see if it was numb enough, and of course with our luck during Blood Bath week, it wasn't. He looked up at me and said he was going to need to give him a third shot if he pulled it. Luckily, this young man seemed to understand that there were more important things at stake here than a bad tooth, that Kenny's trust of what I told him was paramount because we have so much more that is coming down the road medically. As he looked at me with questioning eyes over his mask, trying to see how I would want to proceed, I told him that even if we had to stop and come back and it cost us more to do it later, it was more important to me that Kenny be able to trust what I told him...and I had said only 2 shots so that was what it needed to be or Kenny would be unable to trust me in the future if I told him something else about medical treatments. He then pulled down his mask, looked at me, and said "Why don't I ask him what he wants to do, then you are out of the decision and he is in control of it...and if he wants to wait, we wait but then you aren't the bad guy..." so I agreed, and he tried his best to convey to Kenny that he needed to pull the bad tooth but he would need one more shot to do it, at which of course more tears errupted. He told Kenny that he could do one shot now or come back another day and do 2 or 3 shots and pull it then. The emotions that flashed across Kenny's face were very difficult for me to see...the obvious fear of more pain, the thought of having even more pain later...and then in an almost palpable way I could see him screw up his courage and he asked him quietly "Only one more??? No zaftra(tomorrow)??" and the dentist looked to me to understand and I told Kenny "Yes, one more today, no shots zaftra"...because I had no other vocabulary to say "later" but we seemed to understand one another. At this Kenny looked up at the dentist and said "Ok...one" and then he laid back in the chair again, proving to me that courage sometimes comes packaged in 8 year old bodies despite what adults might try and dismiss in children. After 3 or 4 jaw crunching yanks, and Kenny's body arching into the air in pain as this large molar was extracted, it was over and he was in my lap and I was firmly whispering "All Done".
As I sat beside Kenny throughout this small drama that was unfolding with me as a very unwilling participant, I don't know how I kept from crying myself. I remember thinking to myself "If it is this bad for a dental visit, what will it be like for sugeries??? How can I be there for him and not fall apart???" and then I thought even further "How in the world does a parent of a child who has been horribly burned or needs painful cancer treatments handle this and not totally lose it??". I also realized that just as I walked with Josh through the valley of his own sorrow and helped him work through the crippling emotional pain he was experiencing as he worked through his attachment issues, I was going to have to walk hand in hand with Kenny down into another valley of pain, only this one was physical. I am not really sure which one is worse...the physical or the emotional. Perhaps they are equivalent, each attacking insiduously until the spirit simply withers away if uncared for. And that is my job, to care for the spirit when I can't "fix" the other things, to carry their spirits when they can't and then hand them back over the reigns when they make it through successfully.
Not an hour later Mommy had to go for her allergy shots and Kenny accompanied me where, quite fittingly, I had to get 3 shots myself! Revenge should have been his as he could have sat back and watched with a smirk on his face as I got what was coming to me after his nasty afternoon, but no, instead I had him gently lift up my shirt sleeve and kiss my boo boos after each shot. What a wonderful little boy we have brought into our lives, I said to myself.
I was filled with great love for all of my children, for the compassion they showed one another over the past couple of days. Matthew and Kenny both cuddled Joshie as he cried over his knee, Kenny could hardly let go of Matthew after hurting him, apologizing profusely and was awake when we returned home from the ER at almost midnight, immediately asking if Matthew was ok, and both Matthew and Josh making a big fuss over Kenny's bravery and his prize tooth that he carried home in a litte green box to share with everyone.
And thus ends the Blood Bath of '07. Ears, teeth, knees. I think I am done for awhile!