Hello and welcome to ThreeChannels.

The ‘Good Mother’ in the ER

Tonight, I had it so made.  My wounded leg afforded me the luxury to relax with my foot propped up, swathed in a 1970s era mothball-infused heating pad, courtesy of my parents.  (So many things they loan me smell like moth balls and I’m not sure why because I’ve never seen them actually use moth balls.)

Anyway,  I had my laptop in bed, the TV on, and had actually closed my bedroom door.  I breathed that rare sigh of relief as I started catching up on comments and Twitter.  I was in the blogging zone.  Yes, I’m that corny!

And then the shrill, piercing scream.

If you’ve been a mommy for any length of time, you know the various tones and cadences of screams.  You are familiar with the generally affected “He-pulled-my-hair-to-distract-me-from-my-juice-box-which-he-then-stole” scream, or the indignant “He’s somehow overridden the Wii controllers and is controlling my Mario Cart man” scream.

Then there’s the tortured “She’s destroyed the Lego creation I spent 9 hours on” scream, or the woeful “He’s mined all the chocolaty chunks out of the Moose Tracks ice cream” scream.

Yet there’s one scream that’s the “I mean business and I’m most likely bleeding profusely” scream.  And that’s the one I heard tonight.

I flipped back the heating pad, tossed my foot-prop pillows to the floor and ran to the kitchen only to find my sweet Sue clutching her tiny chin, blood flowing.

Ugh, I thought.

We applied towels and ice, and got her generally calmed down enough to take a look.  It was a bit gaping and deep so I knew that meant the ultimate.

The dreaded.

The Saturday night ER trip.

Thirty minutes earlier and our local after-hour pediatrics clinic could have stitched her up in no time. Yet time was not on our side, so backpack filled with diversions and snacks, we trudged off into the darkness toward our local ER.

Because I’d been in this ER “impending stitches or staples” type situation before with Edward three times, I knew a little bit about the expectations a three-year-old has regarding any sort of medical escapade.  So I began, in three-year-old detail, to explain absolutely everything that was going to transpire a few minutes before it actually did.

We role-played how the nurse would take the bandage off to examine the wound.  We practiced seeing how bright the light would be when it shined on the boo-boo.  We talked about how cold the numbing medicine would be when the nurse poured it on our chin.

And, friends, for the first time in my life, all this stuff actually worked!

Sue never cried, never fussed, never whined.  It was one of those times when everything just goes so smoothly you know God has covered this experience completely.

The ER nurses and doctors were unusually kind and attentive.  I guess in an ER where it seemed half of the patients were only there to obtain enough methadone to make it through the weekend, we were somewhat of a bright spot.

(Incidentally I learned so much about the various excuses one can make when attempting to obtain methadone during this ER visit; it truly was an education.  Even Sue at the end was asking about ‘methdone’.  Great.)

The kind hospital staff kept waxing on and on about what a good mother I was, and how they never see good mothers any more.  And this was such a strange feeling for me because you see, I haven’t felt like a particularly good mother lately.

I haven’t been patient enough or intuitive enough or compassionate enough.  I haven’t made one single meal with two vegetables or bleached my sink to avoid bacteria or flossed my children’s teeth.

So many days I feel stretched so thin that I don’t have the energy to do the basic “decent mommy” things I ought to do, much less the truly “good mommy” things I want to do.  I have become torn between so many competing priorities that some days I’m not sure what is important anymore.

Yet during this ER visit tonight, there were no other children, no competing chaos, no conflicting diagnoses…just a calm, clean blond-headed three-year-old clad literally in cat pajamas with a mild, straight cut to the chin.  We needed to have it stitched, and that was our simple, straight-forward goal.

There was a certain peace in this simplicity.

Several times I toyed with the idea of hiking up my jeans and just asking the doctor to take a gander at my wounded leg.  But I didn’t want to push my luck.  It had all gone too frighteningly well.

So now as I complete this, Sue sleeps in the bed next to me, wearing her brother’s tye-dye shirt and clutching her pink suppy cup, her tiny lips working a familiar rhythm…even at the old age of 3, she’s still nursing in her sleep.

Posted on 7 September '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence.

38 Comments to “The ‘Good Mother’ in the ER”

#1 Posted by Heidi (07.09.08 at 04:46 )

Well I’m glad everything is okay, I saw “ER” and freaked out as much as I could on a blog. I’m sorry she got hurt and you experienced the every flowing Channel excitement instead of your coveted foot propping. Wait, that sounds like the Channel excitement is bad, which is is most definitely NOT.

Just don’t want anymore injuries over there!

Heidis last blog post..Are you a Lurker?

#2 Posted by Andrea Cook (07.09.08 at 08:22 )

Oh no! I can’t beleive the week you have had and you have the time and energy to share in your blog about it!

I enjoyed reading about your mommy insecurities. I also have the same insecurities and take so much joy when a stranger comments in a postive manner. Your little photo of your sleeping ‘baby’ looks so sweet.

Congratulations! You endured a major mommy moment. You did a bang up blue ribbon job!

Andrea Cooks last blog post..My Dad is in a Wheelchair

#3 Posted by Morningside Mom (07.09.08 at 08:30 )

That picture just makes my heart ache! I am so glad she is ok. Wow, it really wasn’t that bad of an ER experience at all! Very glad to hear it.

Morningside Moms last blog post..Playing with Dooce, HP and Canon.

#4 Posted by Tara R (07.09.08 at 10:19 )

I’m so glad the ER visit went so well! And everyone should get to feel like a good mom once in awhile!

Tara Rs last blog post..Weekly Winners

#5 Posted by April ~ EnchantedDandelions (07.09.08 at 10:53 )

Oh no! I’m so glad that everything went as well as it could have for having to take a 3yo to the ER with a busted chin on a Saturday night!

I hope it’s healing up and she’s doing okay now. Did you ever figure out how she did it?

((HUGS)). This past week has been a very long one in this house as well, but I think you are doing a fab job! (BTW, Abbie still sleep nurses as well.)

April ~ EnchantedDandelionss last blog post..Wow… already?

#6 Posted by Jamey (07.09.08 at 12:07 )

Glad that it worked out well, I have a surprise for you on my blog, come get it!

Jameys last blog post..I would like to thank the acadamy…..

#7 Posted by Monica (07.09.08 at 13:01 )

Oh my gosh! Oh I’ve had so many of those nights… now they are bigger and it’s ATV accidents, FootBall accidents (oh those are freaky!) and a host of other nightmares!

Your poor little girl! She did so well, and you deserve a big hug momma.

I hope your week goes smooth, wonderful and highly uneventful!

Hugs to little Sue from my family to yours!

Monicas last blog post..Has Anyone Told You

#8 Posted by Elle (07.09.08 at 13:54 )

I was glad to hear she was okay. It’s so scary when they’re hurt.

#9 Posted by Becki (07.09.08 at 14:12 )

Awww…sorry for your rough night, but glad it went as well as it could 🙂

Beckis last blog post..Try this again…

#10 Posted by Kim (07.09.08 at 18:01 )

I am so thankful that everything went smoothly at the ER
We have only been a couple of times to our lovely ER and it makes my skin crawl

Poor little SUE – I am so glad she is ok
Love ya

Kims last blog post..God Stop Friday…

#11 Posted by Jennibeanv (07.09.08 at 22:25 )

Oh poor thing…her and you both! I am glad it went okay (those ER visits can be a nightmare!) and I hope it isn’t bothering her too much.

Jennibeanvs last blog post..Signs I May Never Grow Up

#12 Posted by Helene (08.09.08 at 00:09 )

Owie! I’m glad everything went smoothly at the ER! What a wonderful mother you are to explain to her ahead of time exactly what would happen at the ER. I probably would’ve been in panic mode the whole time with my brain all fuzzy!

I have the same worries and concerns you do too, which often leads to Mommy guilt (esp flossing the teeth and bleaching the sink!) But I figure at the end of the day, our kids feel safe, loved and nurtured….sometimes that’s what counts!!

I’m glad to hear your lil baby is gonna be okay…what a sweet pic of her sleeping!

Helenes last blog post.."I want Daddy"

#13 Posted by Danette (08.09.08 at 00:51 )

Oh no! Glad to hear she is fine now, and that she did so well at the ER, wow!

That picture is so cute, my little man still does his sleep-slurping too :).

Danettes last blog post..Magic Marker Monday: Playing with baby

#14 Posted by hellokittiemama (08.09.08 at 01:25 )

awe… I’m glad she made out OK, as OK as it can be.

Poor baby. She really was a trooper!!!

Did you have them look at your leg while you were there????

hellokittiemamas last blog post..Surfers Healing calls it quits early to keep kids safe in Belmar NJ

#15 Posted by hellokittiemama (08.09.08 at 01:29 )

Duh – you said you didn’t ask about the leg. I read it wrong – what I get for blogging after 1am.

You ARE a good mama.. ok, sippy cup in bed AHEM. LOL

kidding kidding kidding. Belle does that too – cup and sleep nursing.. I am sure they are kindred spirits!

I wish Belle was as well behaved about the stitching up though as Sue was. We had uber drama and she had to be papoosed while screaming loud enough it could be heard in another county!

hellokittiemamas last blog post..Surfers Healing calls it quits early to keep kids safe in Belmar NJ

#16 Posted by Jennifer (08.09.08 at 05:56 )

You wrote that so well 🙂 And I am so glad that your daughter is ok

Jennifers last blog post..The Necklace Incident

#17 Posted by Elizabeth (08.09.08 at 08:11 )

I can soooo relate! Last summer, my middle daughter was jumping on the couch (which btw I’ve told her a million times NOT to do!) fell, hit her head on the coffee table & required a trip to the ER and nine stitches. Ugh! But, like your daughter, she was a trooper.

Isn’t it nice to hear people compliment your “motherhood” skills? Heck, I’m going to go to our nearest ER just to see if I can get the same treatment 🙂 I too can never find the time to serve two veggies with ever meal! LOL

THanks for visiting my blog!

#18 Posted by Toni (08.09.08 at 09:00 )

Loved this post! It sounds like you did a great job. Sorry that you had to go to the ER but glad it went smoothly and that you got a calm sense of what a great Mom you are!!!

That picture is just precious! Hope your leg and her chin are healing nicely!

#19 Posted by Mrsbear (08.09.08 at 09:19 )

Funny how every time we think we have it made something happens to remind us what a delusion that actually is. I’m glad to hear it was minor and that your little girl behaved like a champ. I don’t envy you. ER visits are the worst. Our nearest hospital has a children’s ER so we probably would have been spared the methadone lesson. 🙁 But at least you learned something.

It seems as moms too, we’re always beating ourselves up over the all the things we can’t get to or fall short on. When really good moms are more than tooth flossing, sink scrubbers. It’s nice to remind ourselves of that occasionally.


Mrsbears last blog post..Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

#20 Posted by acarlson (08.09.08 at 09:32 )

Your entry reduced me to tears. I must be feeling overly emotional, but everything about Sue reminds me of when P. was that age. There is absolutely nothing in the world like a three year old girl. I could feel your tenderness and love for your baby, and Sue’s complete trust and security in you. Have no doubt, you ARE a good mother. A great mother. Anyone who was not, could never have written in such a way to make me hold my own babies and pray that I never get so lost in the “stuff” of the day that I forget to watch their lips move while they sleep.

#21 Posted by Jenn P (08.09.08 at 10:31 )

Bless her heart! I’m glad it went well and she looks like an angel in that picture.

Jenn Ps last blog post..Blog awards

#22 Posted by Nina (08.09.08 at 12:19 )

I am so glad to here she is ok. Sounds like you could use a break. Don’t ever doubt that you are a good mom. Something tells me you are doing a great job and trust me the kids appreciate you way more than you probably think. The don’t notice the small stuff that we let slide by.

I hope your leg starts to feel better soon.

#23 Posted by Ann (08.09.08 at 15:31 )

Oh my goodness, WHAT a story!
And that precious picture of your little one.

Anns last blog post..Last Call! – GNO – Back to School Edition

#24 Posted by Patty O. (08.09.08 at 16:33 )

Isn’t it a nice surprise when something so potentially awful turns out to be ok? I am glad she is ok. Wow is she beautiful! And I hope your leg heals quickly!

Patty O.s last blog post..so what does this mean?

#25 Posted by Cant Hardly Wait (08.09.08 at 18:10 )

You ARE a good mom. I’m glad she’s alright, also. Love the picture, she looks so cute.

Cant Hardly Waits last blog post..Yesterday’s football game, today’s cold, and tomorrow is my birthday!

#26 Posted by Rachel L (08.09.08 at 18:23 )

Oh, my!!!! That poor baby — you did an amazing job of keeping her calm. You are a good mother, even without bleaching your sink. Ultimately, your daughter will learn more from this experience at the ER than she will from watching you pour bleach around.

Rachel Ls last blog post..I have Blogger’s Elbow

#27 Posted by Kelly (08.09.08 at 21:25 )

aww, poor baby! this is the second “gaping wound” story i have read tonight. i hope this isn’t a trend in the bloggy world! anyway, i hope all is well!

Kellys last blog post..There Is Just So Much Ass Kicking Going On!

#28 Posted by Kia (Good Enough Mama) (08.09.08 at 22:00 )

Elizabeth, this is beautiful. All of it.

Isn’t it amazing when you “do everything right” and it works? It’s as if one dose of it all “going right” makes up for the umpteen times that you do it all right and yet it goes miserably wrong.

In case you still need to be told, I’m sure you’re an awesome mom all the time. Even awesome moms forget to floss their kids’ teeth and make TWO vegetables, babe!

Kia (Good Enough Mama)s last blog post..Exhausted.

#29 Posted by Tess (09.09.08 at 09:25 )

Sorry to hear about the trip to the ER. I’ve been lucky to only of had to go a couple of times and having three children, I think that’s good odds. Great- I think I just jinxed myself! (knocking on wood) Hope your week is only eventful in a good way!

#30 Posted by Renée aka Mekhismom (09.09.08 at 10:06 )

I am glad to hear that she is okay and that the visit to the ER went so well. I hope that you get your leg looked at soon!

Renée aka Mekhismoms last blog post..Blog Around The World!

#31 Posted by Tracey (09.09.08 at 11:39 )

I don’t look forward to those ER trips, but with a rough and tough little boy I am sure I will be a regular.
Glad your princess is okay!

Traceys last blog post..Flashbacks

#32 Posted by janine (09.09.08 at 15:55 )

Aww. That picture is so sweet. I’ve also done the ER way too many times. Glad this one went smoothly for you.

janines last blog post..The envelope, please

#33 Posted by Tracy Roberts (09.09.08 at 19:21 )

What a sweetie! I certainly hope she’s doing well and healing nicely.

I pray that if I ever have to take my current 3 yo to the ER that it goes as smoothly as your trip did. We did fine with the boy when he was little – 2 ER trips for cuts, one over the eye = 15 stitches and one soon after on the top of the head = just a scrape but they were looking at my funny 😉

Tracy Robertss last blog post..Teaching Your Daughter About Friendship

#34 Posted by Elle (09.09.08 at 22:20 )

Hope everyone is doing better. We left something for you on our blog!

#35 Posted by Three Channels » Another ER Adventure (16.09.08 at 23:39 )

[…] company.  I provide him with a quick homeschool plan for the day, and we’re off to the ER.  This time, however, I know my way around!  I proudly waltz through secret back doors, greet receptionists by […]

#36 Posted by Three Channels » ‘No Mother’ in the ER (27.09.08 at 23:25 )

[…] it’s becoming a weekend plan–burgers, fries, a quick, or perhaps not so quick, trip to the […]

[…] Vader cape…small price to pay for not being a burn victim…or having to return to the ER.  (Not that I don’t have an ER doctor’s cell phone on speed dial at this […]

#38 Posted by Three Channels » My Week in Review (06.12.08 at 02:00 )

[…] flavor.  It’s an expensive illness, if you ask me.  Especially considering that we actually make money on […]