Our dear son got 25 stitches last night in a deep cut on his wrist — about three inches wide. He punched a small glass rectangular window pane in his bedroom, just to see what it felt like, I guess. Of course he picked the worst time of day: 5pm on Friday.
I pulled out a frozen Capri Sun as an ice pack, used a dish towel as a tourniquette and elevated his arm above his heart. He freaked out a bit. Grabbed my keys, wallet and insurance card, drove 20 minutes to Children’s hospital. Major construction a mile out from the ER forced us to a slow crawl in one lane. Good thing he wasn’t bleeding to death.
His gash was still bleeding heavily when we got to the ER. They kept asking me when he had his last tetanus shot. Now he had two things to worry about: stitches and a potential shot. My husband was out of cell phone range, and I couldn’t remember what day it was, let alone when the last shot was. (note to ER staff: first stop the bleeding, then ask about tetanus shots.)
As I tried to remember, I was also wondering why this information was not readily accessible to the ER staff? If I can check into a Courtyard by Marriott and they can call up my Marriott Rewards member number and my last stay, why can’t the Emergency room in our town call up my son’s shot records and his last tetanus shot? Our pediatrician has privileges there. Like the rewards card, I would be responsible for entering the correct information; and the hotel (or hospital) would be responsible to keep the records secure, just like they keep paper records secure. How can that be a bad idea?
With bleeding under control and awaiting to be seen, I flipped through apps on my Iphone. Sure enough, there was an app for shot records. The Physician’s assistant came in. Professional and kind, he was exceedingly patient with a ten year olds’ repetitious questions about how much the stitches were going to hurt. (“Well how much did it hurt when your hand went through the glass? “) Luckily, the gash did no damage to ligaments or tendons, or to the two major arteries along the forearm. If it had, that would have been guaranteed lots more blood and a call to 911 for an EMT. He cleaned up and gave directions for routine care at home. It was now 8 pm. He looked up at me. “Mom, do you have any final questions?”
“Yes. Do you have any bourbon?” I asked, completely serious.
He replied, “It’s all gone. We drank it all behind the desk last night.”