Carina sent me an email this afternoon saying that she'd pick twins up from latchkey. Normally, that's my job, since Carina drops them off in the mornings. Pleased with the unexpected windfall, I stayed a little late at work to tidy up a few loose ends. When I got home, around 10 after six, no one was home. I heated up some left overs from the fridge and began to eat them. Carina and the twins walked in some minutes later: Carina had come home and fallen asleep before going to get the kids, making her late to collect them. Carina expressed a strong desire for Mexican food. Having just eaten I politely declined. Tyler was chomping at the bit to go to her friends' house around the corner. So Tayler and Carina went out to dinner, Tyler went off to play after agreeing to come home within the hour to eat dinner, and I set out to the back yard to mow the lawn.
It took me a lot longer to mow than I expected. When I came in, I was surprised at how late it was. I was concerned by the fact that no one was in the house. I assumed that Tyler had lost track of time and forgot to come home. That's when I saw that the answering machine was blinking, indicating new messages. The messages were from Tyler's friends' mother, asking us to call her as soon as possible. That's never a good thing. She didn't sound frantic, though, so I couldn't discern the severity of her call. Was Tyler acting out? Had she done something inappropriate? Was there an injury? Was Tyler being asked to stay for dinner?
Unable to contact me at home, she finally called Carina, who in turn called the house and left a message. Tyler had, indeed, hurt herself. When I finally spoke to the friends' father, he informed me that Tyler had fallen and "split her knee". He described it as not too bad, but it would probably need stitches. Thankfully, they cleaned and dressed the wound before Carina got there. At this point, Tayler burst into the house. Carina had sent her home to tell me what was happening.
I told Carina to take Tyler to the hospital, and I would stay at home with Tayler. There was little sense in all of us sitting in the waiting room, and Tayler doesn't handle trauma situations very well. In hindsight, I realized I should have driven Carina there, so that she wouldn't need to unload Tyler all by herself. Tayler and I played an uneasy game of Scrabble together, waiting for a status report. About 30 minutes later, Tyler called me using Carina's cell phone, and asked me to come wait with her so that Carina could come home. Unfortunately, I am unable to sign medical forms for the kids, so this would not have worked. Thankfully, my dad was home and agreed to watch Tayler while I went to the E.R. Tayler was less than thrilled with this arrangement.
E.R. waiting rooms are always fascinating places, even though I've been in them far too often these last couple of years. The people you see, and the stuff they do, could fill volumes. We waited. And waited. And waited. After what felt like an eternity, I suggested that one of us go home to relieve my dad. Carina confirmed with the front desk that all the paperwork was done, so she was free to leave me with Tyler. She left, and we waited. And waited. Some time after 10:30 we were escorted from the waiting room to the examination room. X-Rays were taken, and then more waiting followed. Tyler was in good spirits throughout most of this. She was alert, witty, and extremely patient. Around 11:30 she started to get really tired and cranky. The stitches were administered right around midnight.
Tyler, a very tough kid, does not handle stitches well. Even though this was her second set, she got really agitated. I comforted her as best I could, wrapping her in my arms and speaking soft words of encouragement to her. After every stitch Tyler said "Inspection?" She would then lean forward and review the stitch. She had no trouble staring at the gaping wound, or the work-in-progress repairs, but she simply could not handle the actual movement of the nylon thread through her skin.
This set of stitches is just below Tyler's right knee. Her previous stitches are just abover her left ankle. Six hours and ten stitches later, we came home. The trip was not without utility, though: we learned some very valuable information. First, Mondays are the E.R.'s busy night. So if you're ever going to need to visit the E.R., wait until Tuesday. Second, the E.R. wing to which we were assigned was the "fast wing". Never, ever allow yourself to be assigned to one of the slower wings.