Story #30 in the book.
I was called over the intercom in my classroom on Rose’s birthday. The message was “Get to the high school. She’s in the gym.” I zoomed to my car and drove across the street. I cried on the way. Really? On her birthday? Can we not have this special day without a seizure?
I arrived to find Rose on the hard, wooden gym floor with a stranger’s sweatshirt under her head. It was covered in blood. The other students looked sad and afraid. I tried to put on my ‘brave mama’ face, but I am sure my red eyes told the truth.
I forget how I got her to the car. I am sure it involved a rolling chair and handing my car keys to someone I barely knew to drive my car to the curb. Trauma does some memory editing. My only memory is of her bloody face and swollen jaw.
I drove Rose to the Emergency Room. This was one of those times when I put on a comedy routine in the hospital. Rose was my straight-man sidekick. She was a real diva. She demanded warm blankets and bigger pillows. I remember asking the nurse if she realized that there was a ‘Princess Patient’ in her care. Rose did not think my hysteria was funny. I think the nurse was afraid of us both.
Her jaw was x-rayed. The results were said to show no break, but you could look at her and tell that was not true. No point in arguing with an x-ray. After the x-ray came the stitches.
Before the work began, there were those awful numbing shots. Poor Rose handled them like a champ, despite her diva-ness. Her chin had a inch-long split just underneath her lower jaw, right in the middle. An amazing doctor made tiny, perfect stitches as though he were quilting. I was amazed at his skill and precision. I told Rose that I wished she could watch him working. She would have been fascinated.
So this is how Rose spent her birthday that year, getting x-rays and stitches. No party, no pity.
Seizure Mama Speaks Now
Rose’s jaw really was broken despite the x-ray results. This lead to TMJ (temporomandibular disorder) later. Our suspicions were confirmed weeks afterward by her orthodontist. She also had crushing of some roots of teeth in her lower jaw.
I want to point out how important it is to pay attention to everything that goes on in a hospital, even if you are squeamish. I watched every stitch by this doctor. I appreciated his skill and carefulness. He knew that he was working on a young girl’s face. He wanted to make sure the scar would be minimal.
This was not the case with Rose’s last experience with stitches. I knew they were being done haphazardly by a Physician’s Assistant. I joked that we would like thirteen stitches because that was Rose’s lucky number. She should have gotten thirteen tiny stitches instead of the eight big ones she received. This injury was particularly bad. I really did feel faint as I watched, but faked my way through, again.
The stitch-witchery was confirmed by a doctor who worked in dermatology during the follow-up appointment. The stitches were too big, too tight and too far apart. Thankfully the cut was on her arm, not her face. The wound did not heal properly and the scar has widened. It looks like a three-inch-long fish skeleton, minus the head and tail. This story will probably be near the end of this book. It’s hard to finish this thing when the stories keep on coming.