A view from my side.
So we get to the ENT’s office around 3:45 or so. The waiting area is full and they close at 5:00. Kid#1 is bleeding inside his mouth and for whatever reason the doctors have been unable to stop it. He’s not gushing blood, by any means, but there is a steady flow that won’t stop. His left cheek continues to swell and his eye is starting to close. He sits patiently in the waiting room, spitting blood into paper towels and occasionally walking out to the restroom to rinse and spit.
Finally, a little after 5:30, when all the appointments have been seen, he was called back to the exam room. The doctor came in, took a look and said something looked odd. But, he’d figure it out once he numbs Kid#1 up and can poke around a bit more. Out comes the needle. The injection sends Kid#1 into orbit. This was not a small needle and the doctor had warned him the first shot was going to be painful. He wasn’t kidding. It also made him a bit nauseous. I got him a trash can to hold under his mouth in case he needed to throw up, but fortunately that wasn’t the case.
He asked if he couldn’t be put under a general anesthetic and just sleep through it all. At first, the doctor said that probably wasn’t necessary and to let the shot take effect. A few minutes later the doctor was able to take a closer look and decided it would be best if he did, indeed, take him back to the hospital and put him under. He was going to need to do a lot of poking around and something looked really strange. Back to the hospital we go. It was now close to 6:30 p.m.
We had paperwork from the ENT for a “Direct Admit” to surgery. After a while, the hospital figured it all out and Kid#1 was wheeled back to the prep area. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next. 5 people greeted him and started poking, prodding, measuring and talking almost all at once. It overwhelmed him a bit and he looked at me nervously. I intervened, slowed things down just a tad and got the head of the team to settle the group. The tension eased and all was better. They got him out of his clothes and into the gown. They got the IV in place on the third attempt. Questions started coming at him from different people on both sides and then the anesthesiologist showed up to explain what he was going to be doing and to get started.
The ENT came in to check on everything, talked to Kid#1 and that seemed to calm him down. He told me he had seen something that troubled him about the cuts in his mouth and felt this was necessary to figure it all out. I told him I was fine with it, just keep me and my son informed. Finished with their prep, they wheeled him away around 7:30. Someone showed me to the waiting room and I made phone calls.
A little over an hour later the doctor came out and said everything went well. He described the damage he found as best he could. It looked like someone had taken a knitting needle and shoved it up into Kid#1’s sinus cavity, toward his eye. It started between his teeth and upper lip and drove up, diagonally, stopping just below his eye socket. The swelling in his cheek…blood draining into the surrounding tissue. It also explained why they had such a hard time stopping the bleeding before. He had drained the cheek and it looked much better. He would be sore for a while, and needed to use an antibiotic rinse after eating for a few days, but he was going to be fine, no lasting damage.
He spent 1.5 hours in recovery and never really woke up. They came out to tell me they were simply going to keep him overnight since he was also showing signs of a concussion. The impact, the stress and the drugs had all come together in a perfect storm of events that was putting him to sleep and they wanted to be sure everything else was ok. They would monitor him and make sure nothing else was going on and I could take him home in the morning. I was relieved with that decision thinking he would be more comfortable not having to get into the car, drive home, and deal with all of the stress of me hovering over him. I stayed with him for about 30 minutes and then went home for the night. Whew…what a day.
All of that happened early last week. Today he is much better, the swelling has gone and he has his follow-up appointment with the ENT later this morning. His mother, Ex#2, is in town for his brother’s, Kid#3, graduation, so she is going with him to the doctor. He’s been back to work already and is doing well. His mother has replaced his car and life is good. And while I am grateful it wasn’t worse, I never, ever want to hear “Dad…I’ve been in an accident” again.