Cate Goes to the ER

Emergencyby Anniel7/28/16
Our youngest daughter, Cate, was very precocious and spoke early and precisely, and with a large vocabulary. When she was not yet walking she would kneel at the front window where she taught herself to whistle so she could “talk” to the birds in our big hedge.

The story she hates me to tell the most happened when she was about two. Blackie, our neighbor’s dog, had been killed when hit by a car. The older children ran in to tell me and Cate came in calling out, “The dog down the street just got amputated.”

Her 8-year-old brother, David, rolled his eyes and said, “Cate, amputation means you cut part of something off.”

“Well, David,” she snapped, staring up indignantly, “they just amputated the whole dog.” Right.

Just before Christmas that same year, our family joined some friends at a school play each of our families had a child in, and we later met them for dinner. Bear dropped me and our younger children at the local Godfathers’ Pizza place and went back to the school to help the older kids clean up.

Our friends, Chick and Janie, and I got a table while all of our younger children, including Cate, headed off to the restrooms. We had just ordered when we heard several voices screaming from the restrooms. Then our older daughter and a stranger rushed out carrying Cate, who was dripping blood from her smashed hand.

We later learned the restroom door opened outward. Cate had put her fingers on the hinged side and when the door closed on them, someone tried to help by trying to open it inward. Double Ouch!

Chick grabbed Cate, and I followed to his truck carrying lots of napkins. Not bothering with seat belts I put Cate on my lap, held her bleeding hand up, and Chick drove carefully the 6 or 7 miles to the hospital. Thinking to distract her from her crying, Chick asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Forgetting her manners completely, my sweet little girl turned to him and said, “Chick, would you just shut up and drive!”

He looked over at me and I said something about how he should find Bear and send him over to get us. Cate plaintively asked how she could keep crying if we were going to keep on talking.

We finally pulled up at the ER and I staggered into triage with my bloody child (didn’t mean to sound like a swearing Brit there). The nurse looked up and said, “Got a little boo-boo, did we?”

Cate sniffled,”My mother’s covered with blood, but it’s MY blood, not HERS.” That was just the beginning of the rest of that memorable night.

It was a short wait for an exam room, where I put Cate on the table. She looked around and asked what the child papoose restraint was. I made the big mistake of telling her it was a device used for babies when they had to hold them still.

A really nice Doctor finally came in, asked Cate her name, and politely asked to see her hand. She had quit crying and watched carefully while he looked it over without touching it. He told me they would need to clean it up and X-Ray it and asked if Cate and I would go out to the waiting room while they set things up.

When he came to get her he put out his hand and asked if she would come with him. She put her uninjured hand in his and everyone heard her say, “Yes, I’ll go with you because I know you’d never hurt a little toddler like me.”

By that time everyone in the place was in on the drama and going, “Ahhh, how sweet.”

Then the inevitable happened, the doctor did the unforgivable and brought out the papoose “baby” restraint. The lecture Cate gave him about the insult of being treated like a baby probably curled his hair. How they managed to get it on her I have no idea, but they finally brought her out with X-rays taken, tetanus shot given, and the hand cleaned up and bandaged with Popsicle stick braces. Bones were broken, yes, but to set them could destroy “growth plates” and permanently cripple the hand.

The doctor told me that was the single most enjoyable night they’d had in the ER, and Cate’s lecture on how he had no right to treat her like a “baby” was duly noted and apologized for.

It took several weeks for the hand to heal, and the fingernails eventually grew back. Today not a scar remains.

Chick laughs even today about that night, but I never heard her tell another adult to “shut up.” Not even me. • (625 views)

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4 Responses to Cate Goes to the ER

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    A nice story, and I wonder about Cate’s interesting comments (as no doubt you have at times as well). I’m sure I had a few ER visits as a child, but they’re too far back for me to remember any of them. The closest I can come involves a cut wrist from falling through a glass door (my brother had been carrying me, and I was evidently too much of a load) while we were in Greece. They stitched up my wrist, but I don’t recall any details of the visit.

  2. Rosalys says:

    Wonderful story, Annie!

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Shirley Temple with a broken bloody hand. Another look at life as it actually is.

    By in large, I suspect that only those who have children truly learn to put others before themselves. I know many will exclaim, “How can you say such a thing?”, but this is something beyond words. It is not a question of simply saying it, one must feel it deep in one’s soul.

    Desmond Morris wrote about some interesting physiological studies done on people’s reaction to others in which people with and people without children were tested in certain ways. Those who had had children were more sympathetic, particularly the men.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      By in large, I suspect that only those who have children truly learn to put others before themselves. I know many will exclaim, “How can you say such a thing?”

      Oh, hahahahaha, you sure as hell know it won’t be me. I know a young couple (quite young) who have four children already. Girl. Boy. Boy. Boy. The girl is the oldest and a spittin’ image of her mother and as naturally cute as you can get without it being obnoxious. And, of course, she likes me so she has good taste as well.

      This is a good Christian family, a vanishing species. I don’t have any kids, but as your trained cultural observer, I have learned loads from other people’s kids. The first lesson, they are all little monsters in the making unless we civilize them. There are exceptions to that rule, of course. But they are few.

      But when civilization and good manners and morals are figuratively beaten into them, they live a much richer life. Her kids are like that. They are mannered by not programmed to be zombies. They let them be boys and girls. (Imagine that in this day and age.) And that means a bit of rambunctiousness clings to all of them…as it should.

      But the only way to have children and keep your sanity is to train them not to be little monsters. You can’t be there 24/7 to watch over them. You have to instill good values and common sense. A smart, well-behaved child is less work although it takes a considerable investment to get to that point. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.

      And so Mr. Kung is right. Parents to learn to put others before themselves. The sheer logistics of having children requires it. And perhaps just as importantly, mere intellectual theories and boutique fashions about how to live life reveal themselves (to the honest fellow) to be just so much straw. The lessons parents learn innately from raising children is that good values matter. It’s rarely discussed in these terms, but there is a moral sphere that arises very distinctly…of a different kind than even the one that binds two people in marriage.

      This is why socialists, Marxists, Communists, and Progressives are at war with the family (and friends to all things subversive and queer). Conservative personal values automatically ooze out of a family with children. And as Mr. Kung noted via Desmond Morris, children and family have a very civilizing effect on men.

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