The Stuff of Nightmares

Scary barn, black and white.

“Look at me, sweetie. Do you trust me?”

The fear in his eyes tore at my heart. I had his arms shoved into a pillow case that he was lying on. Great for immobilizing the hands at the sides. Blood and tears stained his T-shirt.

“Yes, mommy. I trust you.”

I had one of the nurses hold the iPad up in front of him as it played an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates (he was three and pirates still held sway), the other nurse was assisting me. I had shot the laceration on his chin full of lidocaine and now set about sewing the gash he hand reportedly gotten from tripping on a concrete step at daycare. 

Goddamn negligent daycare! I knew that was not true but it made me feel better to think it, to blame someone else for his pain.

Truthfully, I had intended on using glue. Except that, as it turned out, we were out of dermabond. I’ll be damned if I was going to pay $1600 for some stranger to do this at the ER so I determined to suture the chin up myself.

My hands shook something awful as I placed the first suture.

Just keep moving and no one will notice.

As I was tying the second suture, he whimpered. 




And then I was done. 

“Oh, baby! You were such a good patient! I love you so, so much!” Big hugs and high fives all around. 

He beamed.

I needed a good cry. 

Instead, we went to eat ice cream, bloody shirt and all. 

God forbid there is ever a next time. If there is, I will gladly take him to the ER…


104 thoughts on “The Stuff of Nightmares

  1. I haven’t sutured anyone up on my time but I have removed a fair number of sutures on my time. (Of course that is always a little easier)
    You do what you have to do. He was probably happier that it was you anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Gah! To actually perform the procedure yourself? Holy cow. I had to just stand by (then very) Li’l D when he was X-rayed once. He was terrified by the machine, and by being bound down out of my reach. I could only speak affirmations and tried to sound more reassuring than he felt.

    He had calmed down by the time he dressed and was happy as could be when we met A outside. “How’s he doing?” he asked just in time for me to start bawling. “He”s just fine, now,” I said through sobs.

    D talked about the bad doctor every time we passed by that hospital for a couple of years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. not sure what I just read…since wp is international was this in the USA??? are you a dr??? this is the state of healthcare in the USA???…or is this just a work of fiction (btw, good fiction does leaving me wondering what’s real)

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was in the US. I am a doctor. It did really happen. And yes, if I had taken him to the ER, it would have gone down exactly like that and likely would have cost $1,600. Out insurance had us covering about $2500/yr out of pocket before it kicked in. Fortunately, I have the luxury of being able to afford that. A lot of people do not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thx…I hope I came across as neutral…if you can treat your child than do so…btw, I pay $16/wk for “great insurance”…I got really sick, to the point I was gasping for breath…went to ER…over $8000!!! I now owe $800+ because I hadn’t met my deductible($500) or out-of-pocket ($3500)…anyway, I could rant on but why/who cares…anyway i’m glad you could solve the problem…boys will bang themselves up, for sure

        Liked by 1 person

      • You don’t have to be neutral here, believe me! πŸ˜‰ It is easy for physicians to forget how emotional our kids make us, how do many things can cloud our judgement when our own loved ones are involved. I actually never call in prescriptions for my kids or give them shots. They have their own primary care doctor for that. Unfortunately, this episode occurred after hours so getting him in anywhere but the ER or here was not possible. I learned about myself that day, though…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ikr!!! I try to be neutral until i’m a bit more comfortable with what i’m addressing…we live in a crazy world!!! several things went through my head, basically along the lines of pat benetar’s song “hell is for children” or “a child called “it”…so, yeah, was a good place to comment from…nice to be able to do this kinda thing…I messed my elbow up when I was kid…my mother drowned it in alcohol followed by ice water and clean the rocks out…covered it up with a band aid

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! What heros both of you! It must of been horrendous for you… That’s why your not supposed to treat family or friends but totally see why you did. Your little one would of felt safer with mummy treating him and you know you’d done the best job. I couldn’t of done it even if I knew how, I have always hurt so much for my kids when they were ill or hurt I would of been useless! Anyone else or their children I was fine … Mine and I fall apart. I hope you found put what happened at day care. Again well done

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my Heart hurts. Now you have a taste of what I must do when one of my cats is ill to the point I must do treatments that really hurt. Breaks the Heart in a million pieces. You are a brave woman!!!! (((HUGS))) Amy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

      • One day when we both have time, I will sit down with you to tell you the Miracle story about our Rusty, what happened, and what both my husband and I did to not only save his life, but his leg. The Vet said right out he needed his rear left leg amputated. Hubs and I looked at one another, and with a deep breath, said no, ran home, and went to work for 3 straight weeks. Long story short … We saved his life and leg. The only damage he obtained was part of his forth toe fell off, and because of this, his nail was not growing in right. He ended up having surgery to remove only that one nail. Now Rusty is the Play Bunny, running, playing, being a little stinker. Some day … I will tell you how both hubs and I chose alternative medicine/treatments combined with traditional medicine and won. (smile)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s really tough to be a mom. And when you get right down to it, when it is your own child, you are that…a mom. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or what your practice is, you are a mom. It hurts us so much to see our children in pain and then we have to put on the strong face for their benefit and let everyone think we are strong. When it’s all over, we can go in the bathroom, lock the door, and fall apart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done Victo. Do you often walk around in public with blood on you? If s you must get some odd looks. ;D

    Ha! Your post reminded me if a situation I found myself in some years ago. I wrote it here in your comments, but when i was done , realized it was over 1,200 words so I tidied it up and sent it o Gibber and she posted it on JulieNoBlog I would be honored if you had time to visit. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Weirdly, I’m teary. And maybe more weirdly as we don’t know each other, really proud of you. Well done. And I’d totally take mine for ice cream in a bloody shirt…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am forever grateful to the ER dr who sewed my child’s cheek back together after a dog bite. He had before and after photos on his phone, from when he’d stitched his own kids up, and they were nothing short of incredible.
    Good job, Mommy πŸ™‚ You both earned that ice cream!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I had to hold our son down when he was small for a medical procedure that later we were told the Doctor should have never ever done @ the office.. it was traumatic on a couple of levels, and our son was old enough to remember it to this day. If I told you what he what he did, you would not believe it.( Dr was trained in another culture..makes me very glad I did not grow up there) πŸ™‚ DM

    Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you are sitting down…I just googled it so I have the correct medical terminology…. basically this “Dr” surgically (w/o any anesthetic) cut into the urethral orifice to enlarge the opening…yea, tell me about it. son was probably 3 or 4 at the time. (I have two more medical stories along the same line I would like to tell you about some other time.another one w/ same son, and the other one w/ daughter in her mid 20’s) again, all @ the hands of medical professionals trained in another country. DM

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You always bring back memories to me. My grandfather assisted in the surgery to repair the cleft lip my uncle had. The hardest I’ve had to deal with was an impacted button up my daughter’s nose. Children are tough! I hope you don’t have to go through this again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good for you, mama! Way to share your talent and skill with your family ❀ My mother wasn't medically trained, but she was poor as well as sick and tired of paying to have the doctor remove the old-school stitches from my brother's many injuries. At some point she decided to do it herself. My brother still teases her about it πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my! Too bad I wasn’t you 22 years ago! My baby girl got bit in the face by our doberman. Put about 70 stitches in her little 14 month old face! Oh my God, ohmyGodohmyGod!! It was the year of the Rodney King incident, the plastic surgeon who stitched her up had a convention of sorts in California and couldn’t get back. We spend 5 days in the hospital as her fever wouldn’t break. My poor baby. I will never for get that day, nor the days that followed. I don’t know how I stayed glued together. The dog is buried in the corner of my yard. Biggest mistake of his life.

    Liked by 1 person

      • My first instinct was band-aids. OMG. It was so awful. First time in my life I ever remember seeing my dad cry. He walked into the ER and took one look at her, took her from me and the tears flowed freely. (the second time was when my mom passed away)


    • Don’t get me wrong, though. He is a spaz and a half. It probably was not the daycare’s fault at all. Still, I felt guilty for not being there, like it was my fault. It felt better to blame someone else instead of myself.


      • You can’t be with him every minute and care for your patients, too, Doc. What an awful dilemma. It happens every day when we parents send our kids off to be cared for by teachers in all levels of school. Oy.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. My mom was an ER nurse for decades and one time I had to take an ambulance into her work in my early teens. She didn’t know it was me coming and when I sailed through the doors on the gurney I heard her bellow out “NOBODY TOUCH HER OR THEY DIE!” And then she raced over to me to check me out herself.

    Mommies are awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw! True story: My daughter was born by emergency C-Section and taken straight to the NICU. As they were taking her away, I yelled after them, “I’m a doctor!” So embarrassing. Maternal instincts kick in and crazy takes over.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh, wow, you’re a strong woman! I don’t mind seeing blood or guts (unless there’s a gross smell), and I don’t mind having my own blood or guts picked and prodded with little to no painkiller. But I can’t stand to inflict pain on other people (even when it’s for their own good, such as digging out a thorn), especially when it’s my kids. Kudos to you, Dr. Mommy! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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