Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time for Some Thrilling Heroics

When I was seventeen I worked as a lifeguard at at water park. One day this little boy (I'm going to guess around ten years old) went off the rope swing, got scared, clung to the rope, and thenlet go of the rope at the exact wrong moment. He hit his face on the cement and then fell back in the water. I jumped in and with my year of experience, pulled off an underwater spinal save. That part was fine. The scary part was coming to the surface and seeing that the kid's whole face was covered in deep, dark, gushing blood. The blood was all over him, in the water, and just kept gushing. When he coughed, the blood oozed out of his mouth.

The water park's EMTs pulled the kid out of the water, rushed him away, and I was given a nod of approval. Later I was told the kid was just fine; it was only a mouth injury.

I think of that as my big calamity situation; as gruesome, but with a happy ending. Up until today, that was my crisis situation: I may have been scared, but I handled it with composure, calm, and correct action.

Until today, when my little toddler fell off a swing and landed on her face. I picked her up and to my horror, saw that blood was already gushing out of her mouth and down onto her shirt. I knew in an instant it was a mouth wound, that it would bleed a lot but be just fine, that there was no risk of a spinal injury and certainly no risk of drowning. I didn't need to jump in and save her, simply calm her down and eventually clean her up, but I was terrified. This wasn't some random ten year old, this was my child, my baby. I have never been more scared in my whole life. I have never felt more guilty. I have never felt more helpless.

Outwardly, I calmly picked her up and carried her to my friend's house. I waited for the bleeding to stop then cleaned her up examined the wound. I took her home and rocked to sleep before I called her pediatrician who confirmed what I already knew: I had done the right things and there was no reason to bring her in because they couldn't do anything for mouth injuries.

And now she has a swollen a lip and a bruised face. It looks awful, but she seems ok. I hope she will recover quickly and forget the whole experience. I hope I am the only one traumatized by this experience.


  1. That's always the hardest, seeing your child get hurt, but you did the right thing once again. We had a first aid lesson at YW last night and she stressed the importance of staying calm, taking time to take a few deep breaths instead of panicking.

  2. You'll get over it. No really. If not, then your kid just isn't ... normal. Ha ha ha. The first time I dropped Toby on his head I was dying. Oh the tragedy! 2 years later and I am like "what? You're bleeding from every orifice? Eh, come back when you're also puking."

  3. The most useful book ever written said it best: DON'T PANIC!


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