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He Coulda Been a Contender

I was at work and my cell phone buzzed. It was Cowgrit calling me from home. “Hello,” I answered. I could hear the Calvesgrit in the background, and it sounded like the littlest was crying.

Cowgrit said, “Calfgrit3 is hurt. I need you to come home and help me.”

“OK,” I said, “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” (It’s a 15 minute drive from the office to home.)

I saved my computer work and hustled out of my office to my car. I wasn’t worried because my wife didn’t sound upset.

Cowgrit is a nurse (RN). She was a full-time pediatric nurse for several years, and she’s been a part-time (four days a month) maternity ward nurse since Calfgrit7 was born. I’m thankful for her knowledge and experience in pediatrics almost daily, and especially with incidents like what she called me for. No matter how bad something with the boys looks to me, if she’s not worried about it, I can stay calm. I knew, whatever this problem was, she sounded calm on the phone. If the hurt was really bad, she would have told me to meet them at the hospital — so probably nothing broken or bleeding a lot.

But before I got home, she called my cell phone again. She was taking him to the doctor’s office, and I should go to meet them there. She said Calfgrit3 had fallen and hit his head, beside his eye, on a table. The area was swelling faster than she could stop it with an ice pack, so she wanted the doctor to see him. She said she didn’t think there was any serious damage, but it was bad enough to get a doctor’s opinion.

She was still calm, but I could tell the concern in her voice. Calfgrit3 had stopped crying in the background. (He was eating some crackers; Goldfish can soothe any crying child.)

I arrived at the doctor’s office just a few minutes after my family. When I stepped into the examining room and saw Calfgrit3, I said, “Whoa!” He had a big ole goose egg on the corner of his eye. It looked like he had half a golf ball under his skin. He was playing happily with Calfgrit7, apparently unbothered by the injury.

Cowgrit told me some of the swelling had gone down — good lord, how bad was it before I saw it? She told me the story of the incident: They had gone across the street to visit a neighbor. Within moments of them getting in the house, Calfgrit3 tripped and fell, hitting the corner of his eye on a table. The bump had started growing immediately, so she rushed him back across the street to put ice on it. She also gave him some pain med. She checked to see if it looked like his eye was damaged, but she thought it just a bump. But when the bump just kept getting bigger, to the point of closing his eye, she decided the doctor was needed.

Eventually the doctor came in and examined Calfgrit3. The doc checked his eye, ears, nose, and the goose egg. She felt around his eye socket to determine if anything was broken. She said everything looked fine, and that this was just a bump. “Keep putting cold on it till it goes down completely. It’ll look real bad for the next couple of days,” she said. But there was apparently no real damage to his skull or eye. Whew.

A day later, sure enough, it looks real bad. The swelling is mostly gone, but all around his eye is various shades of black and blue, and green and yellow. His eye lid is all black. Calfgrit3 acts perfectly normal, like he has no discomfort. It’s kind of funny, in a disturbing way, to see a cute, smiling little boy looking up at you with that big, ugly shiner around his eye. In a few more days, there’ll be no sign of this injury. Kids heal so fast.

Cowgrit is great at moments like that incident. Had I been the only parent with him when his eye swole up like that, I would have freaked out. I’d have probably gone directly to the hospital emergency room fearing a concussion or lost eye.

And if a degree and experience in pediatric nursing was not great enough for a mother, she also has a degree in elementary education. I am so lucky to have Cowgrit as the mother of my children.


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