Yes, I am the same person who gave you such hits as the Lice Arsenal, and the information just keeps getting sexier! With two boys, I’ve had my fair share ot trips to the Emergency Room in recent years. (My little one ended up with a few stitches on the chin after falling off a low church wall onto the sidewalk last Sunday). The first time it happens, you can barely put your pants on. By the fifth time, you aren’t in full-tilt lift the car with one arm adrenaline mode and you can think about what you will actually need to make your child’s (and therefore your) interminable wait in the E.R. that much more pleasant. Here’s the game plan.
1. Depending on the wound, often a laceration, clean as best you can without getting too crazy, use gauze and a big bandaid (so you avoid having it stick to the wound) to stop bleeding. They’ll give you whatever you need in triage.
2. Don’t forget your insurance cards.
3. Pack a bag that includes water and a few unmessy, unsmelly snacks (nothing worse than people chomping on Doritos in the waiting room of an ER). Granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, whatever. Plenty of water for both of you. During my most recent visit, I packed a few books to read to my kid, including a whale book from the DK series, or anything encyclopedic that they’re into that you can point at and engage with them over a period of time with questions, etc. Those waits can be long and everyone needs distraction.
4. Cell phone charger. When you run out of books or the injury has turned your little one into a lump, there are always games or youtube videos you can watch or download on your phone.
5. Such a cliche, but stay calm even while the nice doc is stitching. They read your face for cues since they usually can’t see the wound on the top of their head.
6. AMENDED #6 BASED ON COMMENT FROM AN ACTUAL ER DOC AND MOM: “ERs are not required to have a plastic surgeon on call. Also, all facial lacerations do not require a plastic surgeon. Most ER physicians know what they can handle and what needs a plastic surgeon/or transfer. I have had parents insist/demand a plastic surgeon for a small cut that required 2 sutures.” Thanks, Meg for the clarification! If given an option on a facial wound, especially something near the eye or mouth, do it, even if it means waiting for the surgeon to come from another location. My son had 40 stitches around his eye over Christmas. I almost passed out when I first saw the wound. It has all but disappeared, thanks to the “Magic Threads” of Dr. Tansar Mir, who is a fantastic plastic surgeon in New York City (212-606-8150).