Stop screwing around and do the stitch, please

My 2 year old daughter had an accident while I was putting the DVD in to Fox and Hound tonight at 9.

I hear the thump, and the “Daaaaadddddy!?!” The blood is just pouring out of her mouth. I hold her apply pressure with a damp cloth and when the bleeding dies down I take a look with a flashlight.

She’s got a big nasty cut on the inside of the top lip, right in the middle. That thing that hangs down in the middle that attaches your lip to the gum is severed. She must have caught the edge of the futon.

Off to the emergency room we go. “Let her get off easy,” is my mantra.

It keeps oozing. We get to the room and eventually the Dr. comes along. She’s a nice competant looking readhead. “She’ll need a stitch or two to tack it down and make it heal properly. Otherwise it will just keep getting opened up.”

We got three choices: They can put her out, they can give her an IV and some stuff to zone her out, or they can hold her down, give her the novocaine and just do it.

Being a believer in minimizing potentially dangerous narcotics, we take the last option.

She gets an assistant and some tools. They wrap her in a sheet and attach her to an immobilizer, while she screams and looks at me with pleading terror.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O,” I sing, holding her hands tight so they can’t break free.

She gives her the novocaine, and my daughter struggles and cries, while I sing.

The cuts worse than I thought, and when they lift back the lip it bleeds and she coughs while she cries.

The first stitch goes quickly, but the second’s a bitch. It’s right where the lip meets the gum, so there’s no space to work and my daughter’s fighting as best she can.

The Doc makes a couple of jabs at it, but can’t quite get it. After anothe minute goes by with my daughter struggling and crying in terror, me shaking while I’m singing and the Dr. innefectually trying to get that second stitch in, I’m starting to wonder.

“Come on,” I’m thinking. “Just do it. It ain’t that tough. Bend the top of the lip back and the edge of the cut will stick out and you can nail it.”

She jabs again, and can’t quite get it. I’m thinking “Jesus. I could do it.” Though I probably couldn’t. I’m sure it’s harder than it looks.

Finally she bends the lip back just like I thought she should and gets the stitch. A minute later I got my daughter out of the restraint, and she’s holding my neck in a death grip between wracking sobs.

We get the preventative antibiotics and we’re outta ther.

She’s asleep, and I write this.

Here I am.

There are no classes for parenthood. :frowning:

Having spent my share of time sitting in hospital emergency rooms waiting for a kid to be stitched up…

The “novocaine” and “just do it” is the correct approach, IMO, as I share your suspicion of large doses of druuuuuugs for small children.

I promise, Babykins will forget all about it as soon as the lip heals, so don’t worry about “psychic scars” or pathological fear of doctors, hospitals, etc.

I got stitches in my head twice as a small child: once at the tender age of three (just above my eye) and later at five (at the top of my skull).

No lasting emotional trauma, but I still remember getting the stitches on the former very vividly as I was conscious during the procedure. You’d think having needles come at your eye would freak a kid out, but I was okay pretty shortly thereafter.

So, as DDG said, I wouldn’t worry about the long-term. I’m sure it won’t be much fun dealing with the healing process, though. You have my sympathy!


Your kid is a hockey player in the making. Sure, she might have gotten a little blood. Sure, it might have hurt a little. But I guarantee she’ll love this later, and be “Like, check out this mouth shot I took when I was two!” to her friends when she hits the ice next season.

Trust me, I speak from personal experience.

Lord, there’s nothing worse than having to hold down your child while a doctor or nurse performs some painful medical procedure on him (or her). My feelings as a parent alternate between, “Thank God he’s getting treatment for this potentially life-threatening problem,” and “I want to punch the lights out of this person who is hurting him!” It’s really tough. I commend you and your daughter both for making it through.

When my brother was three years old he got kicked in the head by a horse. My mother took him to the hospital for stitches and was made to wait in the lobby (she has this thing about blood and needles, you see). What she overheard sounded like WWIII and she was sure her little boy was dying.

After a while the nurse came out with her hair all messed up, her dress askew, and a broken fingernail.

The doctor came out - not looking much better - and said, “Hm. When he comes in to get the stitches out I think we should give him a sedative.”

My brother came out pissed as all hell (well, as pissed off as a three-year-old can get.)

A few weeks later my father took Michael in to get the stitches removed, only dad went into the exam room. This time they had TWO nurses - one to hold Mike’s upper body, and one to hold his lower. Mike started raising a fuss and my father said, “Wait a minute.”

“Michael? You wanna watch them take your stitches out?”

My brother got a look on his face as if he had just been offered chocolate.

They got out a mirror, the doc took the stitches out, gave him a lollipop, and sent him home. Didn’t move once through the whole thing.

I don’t quite know why people are damned quick to say that kids won’t have a fear of hospitals and doctors after a procedure like that. My kid’s got a major hospital phobia which is a shitload of fun I can tellya. I think it stems from the hideous experience of salmonella at 14 months.

It’s not the end of the world having a hospital phobia but it’s plain daft to say that kids won’t develop it. Some kids will, some kids won’t. If they do, you deal.

Amen to that, Primaflora. I was well into adulthood before I finally kicked a severe needle phobia stemming directly from a hideously painful antibiotic shot recieved at the the age of three, while being held down by the doctor.

Aw, poor little “Poop.” :wink:

Give her a kiss for me and lots of hugs and sweets. And buy her something, dammit! It’s the least you can do!

Barbie’s Dream House should suffice.

I second what Mswhatsit said. Hope for a speedy recovery and no hospital aversions.

When I was in kindergarten I had to have a biopsy on a birth mark on my shoulder, which involved general anesthesia and an overnight stay. The first thing my parents taught me is that a trip to the hospital involves GIFTS. I got flowers, a new nightie, and a stuffed animal to keep me company. Spoil the child!

Of course, as soon as she’s old enough, she’ll milk these episodes for all their worth. Let’s hope so anyway!


Haven’t been there.
Haven’t done that.
Am dreading the day.

Sounds like your approach was best for kiddo even if it’s hell on the parent. I’ll keep you in mind when that day does come. Thanks.

My sister, a nurse always warned me about bedtime booboo’s. She said evening was most often the time of day that kids would get rushed to the ER - wound up kids bouncing off the walls at home.

Glad you both made it thru the ER experience

Not to nag or anything but Scylla don’t you think 9:00 PM is a little late to be popping in a video for a 2 year old?

My Aunt Kathy, who is a night owl, had two children, and both of them stayed up until midnight or so until they started kindergarten and had to start getting up earlier in the mornings. Both of them appear to be completely well-adjusted adults in spite of this.

I try not to question other parents’ parenting decisions, especially when they’re as minor as something like the kid’s bedtime.

No. I wasn’t aware that there was a specific time that two year olds were supposed to go to sleep.

Anyway, the video is a ritual. We put it in right before bedtime, and we watch 15 minutes or so, and that settles her down enough to go to sleep.

Scylla, I love it when you post family type stuff.

It just warms my heart to hear about you singing to her as she’s getting treated.

I trust that someday she’ll look back on that type of thing and be glad you’re her dad.


Easy for you to say. You didn’t hear my singing. :wink:

Warms my heart, burns my ears, whatever…

Ahh, that explains the screaming.

Something like that happened to my 3-year-old girl about a month ago. Fell off a chair and onto a radiator, which gave her a split right at the eyebrow. Off to the ER.

Our doc was much more competent, however, in giving her three stitches, except that she wasn’t ABOUT to let herself get wrapped up. So there we were: Mom, the 10-year Navy vet who’s been through three pregnancies, was about to pass out, and me, who talked the Princess through it.

Unlike you, I didn’t sing. That would have been TOO cruel. But I did tell her exactly what was going on and how things were going, and she still trusted me (thank God.)

Now she’s got a little Harry Potter-like scar .

When I was like 6 I fell at my grammee’s and busted my lip open, between my upper lip and my nose. Had to go to the hospital, got four stitches.

18 years later, and I still won’t go near a needle. I have panic attacks whenever I set foot in a doctors office, require full sedation for even the most minor of procedures (otherwise I thrash and fight so much I could hurt myself).

But your child is much younger than I was, the chance of her remembering it is slim.