Lucien had his first big fall. His first face wound. And his first trip to the ER.
It was Friday night. Lucien was doing his usual, I am not sleeping, ever routine. It was getting a little chilly, so I took him out of his pack and play for a few minutes to change his pajamas. This kid loves being sans clothes, so he started giddily running around the room, tripped on a toy, and banged his face on the corner of a nesting table. I knew it was bad by the sound of it. He turned around and the skin around his eye was immediately swollen and purple, and he was bleeding.
His father comes running out of the bedroom, looks at him, and freaks. I thought I would be bad in an emergency situation. I was actually the calm one for once. It's hard to tell if he is going to need a stitch or not, so we call a car and head to the emergency room.
|He wasn't there God dammit. God dammit, he wasn't there.|
The Brooklyn Hospital ER on a Friday night is a great place for kids. Kidding. This place is scary and gross. It's an ER, so everyone is obviously miserable. I get in line to register, and look at the two options of my impending interaction. One is a stone-faced man who looks totally un-interested in the woman who is sitting in front of him, in pain and weeping. I'm not sure if this man has ever smiled in his life. The woman sitting next to him looks equally disinterested, and also a little confused. She does look like she may have broken a smile once or twice, so I hope that she will be the one helping us.
As luck would have it, she is. Unfortunately, it turns out I chose wrong- which doesn't surprise me because I never pick the right line, ever. I walk up to her, holding Lucien, and she begins to ask all of the necessary questions. Then she suddenly stops, looks at me and whispers
Do you see that door over there?
Go knock on it. Ask the nurse to look at your baby.
Um, okay. I don't have to register?
Well, just go knock.
Then she lowers her eyes and whispers even lower,
You're white. No offense. Go ahead. Go ahead.
What? Now I am confused. What the hell is this woman talking about? White people don't have to register at this hospital? Suddenly I feel like I'm in some third world country. But, my desire to expedite this ER experience overrules reason, and I follow her weird instructions.
I knock on the door. The nurse looks up, clearly wondering why the hell I'm back there.
Can I help you?
The woman up front told me to come here and have you look at my baby.
What? I can't just look at your baby. You have to register. Are you asking me to illegally triage your son?
Now I feel like a huge asshole, and my baby is still bleeding. I cut to the front of the registry line, and revisit strange check in lady. I'm about to freak.
So, it turns out white people have to check in, too.
Oh, okay. She nonchalantly continues to register Lucien.
What the hell, lady? Am I on some bizarro, sadistic episode of Punk'd? I swear, this kind of shit only happens to me.
My husband is sitting in the pediatric waiting room glaring at me. He hasn't heard any of this strange interaction because he refuses to speak to me. He's convinced it's my fault that we are there because I bought Lucien a new toy. Yes, you heard me right- and yes, it's ridiculous. He's convinced Lucien tripped on the new train I bought him. He was sleeping at the time and didn't actually witness the fall- but he's still sure that it's my fault.
They're playing cartoons in the pediatric waiting room- but not for kids. They have Adult Swim on, and it's playing Family Guy. The three toddlers in there have their eyes transfixed on the screen, watching Peter and Lois role-play in bed. I'm dying to make a joke about this, but my husband still isn't speaking to me. Way to ruin a fun evening in the ER, honey.
We finally get in to see a doctor. I am relieved that Lucien doesn't need a stitch and is totally fine. At the same time, I feel like a jackass that we have spent three hours in an emergency room in Brooklyn for what turns out to be an abrasion. I know it's an abrasion because the doctor gives me an instruction sheet entitled Abrasions, as we are leaving. You know what the instructions on it are? Rinse with soap and water. I walk out of the ER wondering how the fuck I am going to accomplish this whole motherhood thing without going completely grey, developing an ulcer, and becoming an alcoholic.
Moral of the story; you know those corner protectors they have for tables? Buy them. They wouldn't have stopped Lucien from falling, but they probably would have stopped the breaking of the skin, which would have stopped the bleeding, which would have stopped the parental freak-out.
*Update- these corners suck. Lucien pulled them right off. So, yeah. I don't feel as bad for not "baby proofing."