Thursday, August 16, 2007

Parental Nightmare

I work in the basement room below Liam's bedroom. Clackity-clack on the keyboard and then from above:

(screaming child)

Nothing could have prepared me for walking into that room, seeing Liam's hand dangling from a 45-degree break in his forearm. This beautiful little cautious, loving, sensitive creature that we somehow miraculously broken...and screaming bloody murder. I started to flip out but somehow pulled it together just enough to dial 911.

That IKEA loft bed...

...I worry about it all the time when Liam's friends are visiting and they're up and down the ladder. "One of his friends are gonna fall off that thing", I keep thinking. But not Liam, he's too careful. He's afraid of the monkey bars if his feet are 8" off the ground... going on Craigslist this weekend.

That's not an elbow.

Liam is a bawling deer in the headlights. Nurses and doctors try to ask him questions and try all those little tricks that work on every kid but ours - especially now, scared of all the attention and clearly traumatized at the sight of his hideously misshapen forearm, he stares into space in all directions and answers nobody, clings tighter to Fran's shoulders, then resumes crying. I want to whisk him away from this madness.

Some 2 1/2 hours later on our 2nd of 4 trips to radiology and he's still broken and wearing the makeshift cardboard splint the SF Fire Dept EMT's put on him...banished from the X-Ray room where Liam is whimpering in Fran's arms, I finally lost it. All alone in the nook of an empty hallway I'm sobbing like a baby - I can't bear to see Liam go thru this - I'm supposed to protect him from this sort of shit. Some girl comes down the hallway, our eyes meet for a second - we're both crying and neither of us are ashamed. She turns the corner and I calm down. She's probably having a worse day, she looks like she's losing a loved one somewhere around that corner.

The hospital at night - nobody's there for a check-up, everyone is having a bad day - and all these saints choose to work there - god bless them.

At some point during the evening, Liam says:
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry I'm in such a bad mood."
Then the god-awful "reduction" - what they call the re-setting the bones which amounted to filling Liam full of some drug that made his eyes go all crazy and glazed and clearly out of it, and then pulling and manipulating the bones with a hideous cracking sound louder than a bag of chips - feeling a faint coming on I rush out of the room and stand outside the door with my fingers in my ears. Meanwhile Fran is in there holding Liam, she says she barely noticed anything because she was only looking at Liam's face, getting him through it all. No bones about it, she's the rock on which this family stands.

But Liam will be fine. Back at home late last night he started meowing as his alter-ego - a kitten named Mimo. I have no idea where Mimo came from, but he always comes out warm and cuddly and full of love. In the middle of this long sleepless night, Mimo came out to let us know that everything will be fine...and I fought back a different kind of tears.


lauren said...

oh my goodness! that sounds awful. poor liam!

hope he's feeling better and healing well. poor little guy.

seeing your kid in such terrible pain is awful. it's usually not till after it all happens and done that i go into the other room and throw up.

we used to have that same bed. we gave it to friend after our kids grew out of it and her kid fell off and broke her wrist!

you're a good dad.

velogirl said...

parenthood is the hardest job in the world. only the best people can do it (clearly not me).

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

That sounds absolutely horrific. There's no way I could ever be a parent -- I'm just too weak. And lack patience. But mostly I'm too weak.

Alden said...

what a great dad liam has.

and what a cool name...liam. my friends' two year old also has the name.

cyclocross is a cake walk compared to being a parent - i can only imagine what it would be like (and even then i bet i'd greatly miss the mark in my imagination).

thanks for giving us a bit of perspective. it's needed every once in awhile.

sending good vibes liam's way.