This time for Elle…
My first thought after reassurance that everything is going to be fine is: dang, these kids are expensive!
Last night while I was getting the kids ready for bed, I started washing dishes which included a bottle to feed Rhett . (Side note: since having my wisdom teeth pulled I’ve pretty much stopped producing milk.) Elle and Rhett were playing in the living room completely in my line of sight from the kitchen sink. I was really getting at a bottle piece and looking down at it when I heard the shrillest, blood-curdling scream, the kind of scream that almost never comes from my tough little girl. I ran to the living room, water still running in the kitchen sink, to check on Elle.
She seemed fine, just in a lot of pain and still screaming and crying. I asked her what happened and she could not speak. She started trying to and that’s when I saw the blood. I rushed her to the kitchen sink where the water was still running and tried to get her to clear her mouth of the blood by rinsing so I could see where the blood was coming from. It cleared the pooled blood, but I realized pretty quickly that blood was just gushing from her mouth yet I still had no clue where it was coming from.
Upon realizing how much blood was coming out, I immediately grabbed paper towels and pushed it in her mouth to soak up some blood. Doing this allowed me to see that it was coming from above one of her front teeth. I thought she had knocked a tooth out at first, then I saw the blood start gushing again from much higher above her tooth. I applied pressure with the paper towel to help stop the bleeding. Not getting a clear view of where the blood was coming from, I thought that she severed the skin between her gums and lips after she told me it was the straw in the acrylic cup she was drinking water from.
I panicked. I didn’t know if I should take her to the ER or just wait for it to stop bleeding. I called Ted, who had worked a little late, but didn’t get an answer. About two minutes after my attempt to reach him at work and on his cell phone he came in the front door. I asked him to come to kitchen and assess whether or not we should take her to the ER. I told him what I thought was wrong and he suggested we take her to Texas Med Clinic or some other urgent care center.
I made a bottle for Rhett for the road not knowing how long of a night it was going to be and knowing that he was well beyond tired at this point. We loaded the kids into the car and drove to the closest Texas Med Clinic. We were the only ones in the waiting room so we were admitted rather quickly. While in the waiting room, the bleeding slowed dramatically. I removed the paper towel from her mouth and took another look. All I saw was skin dangling from her gum. Still unsure where it was coming from though.
We waited probably fifteen minutes for the physician to take a look at Elle after being admitted. I inspected her injury one more time while we waited and saw where the skin was coming from. It was her gum that was severed, filleted, but also completely gouged. The physician came in, took one brief look at her injury and recommended we take her to the ER because it was something that looked like it needed to be repaired. He suggested that they could possibly contact an on-call oral surgeon to repair it. He said he would not charge us for the visit because he couldn’t do anything for her and hoped that we hadn’t waited very long to be seen.
I explained to Elle that we had to go to the hospital and see what they could do there and assured her I would be there by her side for everything. She cried before we left home saying she did not want to go to the hospital for her injury. She was desperate to not leave the house as she was fearing the worst (and what the worst entailed in her scope of hospital experiences, I’m not sure). After I explained what we had to do, Elle was insistent that she wanted both Ted and me there by her side for whatever transpired next. From there Ted and I quickly worked out a plan to drop Rhett off at my parents and take her to the pediatric ER at North Central Baptist. Luckily, with my insistence that we take two vehicles just in case, Ted was able to take Rhett to my parents while I took Elle straight to the hospital.
Through this whole ordeal, Elle really surprised me with her poise. She laughed while she played in the waiting room at Texas Med Clinic and although I could sense her fear while we waited for the physician and when I explained that we needed to go to the hospital, she remained strong. I can remember the faint hint of tears at the news of going to the hospital and even though she wanted to cry, she did not.
We got to North Central Baptist’s ER parking garage. The fear came back into her voice. She pleaded with me to not let them put sharp things in her (shots) and I had to be honest with her. I told her that I can’t promise her that they won’t and that I wasn’t sure what the doctors were going to need to do, but that I would be with her through everything. She asked if her daddy was at the hospital too and if he would stay with her too. I told her not yet, but he would get there as soon as he could. That seemed to calm her nerves and as she and I walked up to the building she was hopping and skipping. Surely this was the delirium setting in as it was well past her bedtime. And I must have asked her a dozen times if her “boo boo” hurt. She kept telling me no.
We checked her in the the ER, and waited for about ten minutes before being called back. In both locations (Texas Med Clinic & the ER) we seemed to arrive right before they got busy. As we left both places they went from empty to about five patients waiting. After we were called back, Elle chatted up the nurses and when Ted arrived, she told him all about her experiences so far (and he hadn’t even missed much).
After being seen by the nurse, we were putting in a room and waited for a doctor to see her. After about an hour wait, we were seen by a pediatric nurse practitioner. He thoroughly examined Elle’s injury and told us that because of the way that her gum was injured (filleted) that there really was no way that it could be repaired, that even if it is repaired, the tissue will generally die thus defeating the repair. I told him about our visit to Texas Med Clinic and the diagnosis there and he seemed perplexed by it. Hearing this was both good and had news to me. Good because Elle was avoiding much more invasive treatment with stitches and sedation; and bad because we could have been done with this night so much earlier. I am glad we had her seen at the ER though, it’s definitely given me more peace of mind to know that we had her checked out twice.
The pediatric nurse practitioner suggested a course of antibiotics to prevent infection and said that it would probably heal itself in about five to seven days, but recommended that we take her to her dentist to have her teeth evaluated for any damage. He also had a doctor come in and double check his diagnosis, which was even more comforting.
We went home with a dose of amoxicillin in the hospital which was bubble gum flavored and which Elle loved and the recommendation to have her seen by her dentist Monday, which I will be calling first thing tomorrow morning when her office is open.
Our night started at 8pm when the accident happened and ended around midnight when we finally got back home. It was actually pretty good time when you consider the ER we took her to is about 30 minutes away from home. Today Elle was her usual self today with maybe a slightly diminished appetite. I had her antibiotic prescription filled this morning and she’s been asking for her medicine all day. haha. I’m glad that getting her to take her medication is not an issue.
I’m just thankful that it wasn’t a more serious injury. She could have hit her eye, it could have gone up her nose and caused some serious sinus damage…it just could have been a lot worse. I’ve completely learned my lesson with acrylic tumblers and their acrylic straws: only use when seated. Thankfully we have a child’s cup with a rubbery straw that Elle’s been using today.
Even though she seems fine, I’m still haunted by that scream when she first got hurt. It breaks my heart that she was in that much pain. She’s always been a tough little girl and rarely ever cries for longer than five seconds when she gets hurt. I just know that it had to be pretty severe pain for her to scream like that and that’s what makes me sad for her.
Hopefully we can get an appointment tomorrow with her dentist. I’m hoping there’s nothing seriously wrong with her teeth in that area now. I’ve asked her if her teeth hurt around where she has her boo boo several times today and she’s said no, but I don’t know if she’s saying no to avoid having to go back to a doctor.
2011 has been quite a medically-inclined year for us so far. I’m hoping the rest of the year isn’t as serious!
On a positive note, Elle’s first ever ballet recital is this Saturday. It’s so awesome to see that she is so excited about this event. It makes me happy that she’s doing something that she enjoys. She’s so excited that when we went to my parents’ houses after ballet this past Saturday, the first thing she asked them was, “Are you going to my ballet recital?”