One year in T-ball I remember one of my sons being positioned near the pitcher when a ball was hit his way, hitting him right in the center of the chest. The force of the hit knocked him back a bit and I heard other parents gasp. As I’ve learned to do after many years of parenting, I didn’t panic. I didn’t run on the field. I waited to see his reaction.
There had been a recent story in the news about a child being hit in the chest with a baseball so hard that it stopped his heart and he died, so everyone was cautious. The coaches ran over. He talked to them and told him he was okay. He sat out the rest of the game and the coach gave him the game ball which he wrote his name on with a Sharpie along with the date. He seemed pretty proud of it. I’ve learned that about boys. Injuries seem to be a source of pride. They revel in bruises, cuts, scars, stitches and casts.
When my youngest played T-Ball I remember him one time getting bumped in the face with a ball and getting a bloody nose. Honestly, I considered myself fortunate that in all the years of five boys playing various sports, that none of them had ever been hurt to the point that it required a doctor’s visit. We’d made our share of trips to the doctor office, urgent care clinic and emergency room for other reasons, but not from playing sports.
Well, this week was my son’s first baseball practice on the eve of his eighth birthday. He excitedly got his bag ready with his bat, ball, mitt and a bottle of Gatorade. He put on his shades and we headed for the park on the unseasonably chilly evening. I sat next to another mom shivering as we watched the boys play catch. We’d been there about 15 minutes when my phone rang and I stepped over to my car and went inside to answer it since the wind made it hard to hear. Suddenly, I found my son outside the car window with blood rushing down his face. He said he’d gotten hit in the face with a ball.
I grabbed some napkins and started wiping the blood from his face, not sure at first where it was coming from. I thought it was another bloody nose. But, when I followed the trail, I saw there was a big gash on his forehead, one that must have been happened when the sunglasses were hit by the ball and then broke the skin. I grabbed his stuff and put in the car and we ran home so that I could have my husband, who is a paramedic, examine it.
Last year this same son hit his head on the edge of his scooter handlebars leaving a cut, but it was one that my husband managed to clean off easily and hold together with Steri Strips. Once we took a good look at this cut, we realized that it was deep and stitches would be required. We covered it up and hit the road.
We went to the ER and they took his name and directed us to a waiting area. A quick glance around and I could tell there were easily 7 or more people ahead of us. Some were elderly people on cots in the hallway with bags of bodily fluid hanging by their sides. I had a flashback to a visit there with my oldest son for stitches when we ended up being there for six hours. I wished I would have gone to Urgent Care instead. Some inappropriate language and discussion from some people sitting nearby was all it took for me to pack and up and head down the road to the Urgent Care Center. We were in the room seeing the doctor in about a half-hour.
One look at the doctor confirmed that stitches would be needed. He tried to joke with my son, who seemed unimpressed. Bracing for the unpleasant procedure, the doctor called in a nurse for help and told me to sit down and hold my son’s hand. “Sometimes moms faint when they see their little boy bleed,” he said.
After a few minutes I told the doctor that I was a veteran mom of five who had plenty of experience with stitches and casts and other things and that the patient was the youngest of five boys. It wasn’t my first rodeo. As I suspected, my son went the route of being the tough guy, acting as if it was no big deal at all. No tears or whining. He didn’t even flinch at his shots or the stitches. He took it all in stride. He took it better than I would have. And when it was all done I was so glad I decided to go to Urgent Care where the total visit was about an hour and 25 minutes.
His picture the following day shows him in front of a Batman birthday cake (the lady at the bakery noticed the scar, asked for the story and then offered some complimentary decorations on top and free cookies) with the very noticeable stitches. His brothers gave him a new nickname. They said the stitches make him look like Frankenstein and his name is Ian. So, his brothers are now calling him FrankIanStein. He doesn’t seem to mind at all. Birthday number eight is one he’ll for sure remember – the one where the coolest thing he got was stitches.