Monday, April 11, 2011

Dealing with Trauma

I started to write a post this morning, but the phone rang.  It was a friend with an emergency on the other line, so I had a little change of plans of what to write about.

Having been through various emergencies with various neighbors--kids slicing fingers, falling from a window; friends--slicing heads open; and with my own kids--frisbee across the eyeball, falling in a parking lot while running, running into sharp tables and walls--I thought I'd write a quick post on some things I've learned from dealing with emergencies with kids. 

First thing to do is be calm.  If you freak, the child will too.  Speak calmly.  As a mom, it's pretty freaky when something happens, but put the child first in your thoughts (even if they did something dumb, and you want to cuss them out, DON'T.  Save that for later if you must).  Keep your voice and face peaceful and soothing.  Tell him/her that everything's going to be okay, and give the child hope that someone will be able to make it better.

Today I told my friend's little boy about the time when my daughter got hurt in the same spot but it got better, and now you can't even tell it happened except for one little mark.  Of course, I didn't mention stitches or anything about how they were going to make it better.  My goal was to get his mind off of his owie and onto the idea that it's not going to hurt forever.

I've heard that if a child takes a serious fall, you wait and let the child get him/herself up.  Never move a person unless he/she's in a dangerous place.  You could do more damage by moving someone, so don't move him/her unless you have to.  But, I will tell you, I broke my leg a few years ago.  I could NOT get myself off the floor.  I got to my knees, but struggled to get up.  Thankfully, there was a woman there with bionic strength who was able to lift me off the ground and get me to a better place, so I guess with this one, you play it by ear.

As soon as he/she is able, get him/her to do the talking.  A few years ago, my daughter (#3) had to have stitches--this is the running in the parking lot experience (she was carrying two gallons of milk to the car for me when I was very pregnant).  As blood was trickling down her leg, I found that my talking helped a bit, but as they were cleaning (a nasty experience--gravel deep in the knee, you get the picture), I got her to tell me about the most recent book she'd read.  I think she told me the entire story of The Tale of Despereaux.  When it was done, she asked when they were going to be stitching her up; they were already done.  Her mind was in a much happier place.  Actually, now she looks back on that little trip to the E.R. with great fondness--one-on-one time with mom and her talking the entire time.  Pretty funny.  By the way, I stayed totally engrossed in her story.  It was that or be totally grossed out by what the doctors and nurses were doing.  I think I chose the better part for sure.

At our house, whenever someone hits something hard, we immediately throw a bag of frozen vegetables on it.  It takes down swelling and slows bleeding to the area so bruising is decreased when all is said and done. Okay, true confessions, we say, "Shall we pea on it?"  Of course, this means we're going to put a bag of peas on it--not really what it sounds like, but what else would you expect from the Madhouse?  I know my mom also used to hold a spoon against whatever we bonked.  It was just cold enough to do the trick.  If a child doesn't want that cold thing on him/her, I'll put it on, count out loud "1-2-3," and remove the bag or spoon for a count of three then back on for three.  For some reason, my kids'll let me get away with that.

One other thing, if it's something semi-serious, make sure to treat for shock. If nothing else, get them to lay down and elevate their feet. This morning, the little guy's teeth were chattering, so I picked his feet up while he was laying on the counter and just talked to him as if I always stood there with his legs in my hands. The chattering stopped soon thereafter. If ever in doubt, do this.

I'm sure most of these are obvious, but if you've never been in these kinds of situations, maybe some of these things'll help you.  If you have any secrets to how to deal with these kinds of things, please feel free to share them.  I'd love to know some more tricks.

7 comments:

Alyson said...

I just have one thing to add: dose them with ibuprofen before you leave for the doctor. It'll take the edge off the pain. I do this with every pain—stitches, broken bones, and just plain old tenderness.

My sweet #6 got wrapped too tightly post-pool, tripped, and couldn't catch herself. She gashed her chin open. I gave her ibuprofen and headed to the clinic to get her stitched up. They put a pad of lidocaine on the chin to numb the skin, and left us in the room for a few minutes. When they came back to do the shots and the stitches, she was fast asleep. She slept through the whole procedure, not waking until I was buckling her back into the car.

'Fitzy'- Fitzwater Family said...

I love the bag of frozen veggies thing. I may use that... My kids would think that was nutts, may calm them down.

Julie said...

Yes, and if you say what we do, it can get them laughing instead of crying.

merrianne said...

THOSE ARE GREAT TIPS JULIE!!
i hope parents everywhere will read them!

John, Steph, Jackson and Baron said...

This is what I love about your blog! Great everyday mom tips! I have always wondered in an emergency how I would handle it... thank you for all the great tips! I am not sure how with 2 boys we have yet to do an ER or Urgent Care trip, but I just know its got to be coming. I will try to be as calm as I can when it does come! :)

Kira Rivadeneira said...

I learned in argentina a cool little trick...if you get a little burn (like on your finger or hand)you can run the burn through your hair it takes the sting away...and some say it even prevents a blister. I don't know why it works, but it does.

Jen said...

I definitely could have used this info several years back after my son had his tonsils removed. He woke up in the middle of the night and said he didn't feel so well. I got up and he began profusely vomiting blood EVERYWHERE! It was gushing. No kidding. He passed out and I am panicking and screaming not knowing how to stop his blood. He had a blood vessel pop. I called the doctor and am in a panic. I think I was in shock. The doctor finally yelled at me to "calm down" and when I couldn't I gave the phone to hubby. The trick? Shove a popsicle down the back of the throat. The bleeding immediately stopped! I needed you there to calm ME down! Ha. Luckily my son was passed out and so he didn't see me freaking. ;0)

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