My 3yo has just had 9 stitches in her head.

August 14, 2006

I was supposed to be starting my full time two-week working get-the-dough-in-before-I-am-too-fat-to-work but, like all the best laid plans, it didn’t quite work out like that. As me and Mike ate breakfast watching the news, we heard a bang and a crash in the playroom and a BIG scream. Mike rushed over and I followed. She was on the floor and that was when we both went into some weird slow motion comprehension of what had happened. Blood was everywhere and coming out of her head in spurts. Mike screamed: “She’s bleeding!” She had been leaning back on the chair and her head had smashed on the radiator valve.

There was some literal panicking as we tried to work out what to do. Mike shouted for the phone. I rushed to hold her and put my hand on top of the wound. I shouted for kitchen roll and then a towel, as the kitchen roll was soaked immediately. He then held the wound. I pulled clothes on and called my GP. I ended up stuck in voicemail hell as I tried to get the out of hours reception. They told me to take her to A&E immediately.

Our nearest A&E was closed recently and the hospital downgraded. Instead of 10 mins to help, the nearest A&E is Margate which is about 30 mins away but we were going at rush hour and the traffic to the massive Pfizer plant blocks the roads at this time. Mike took off his blood-soaked dressing gown and we rushed to the car. I sat in the back holding her with my hand clamped on the towel on her head. Molly is screaming (which I thought a good sign) but also shouting: “I am scared! I am bleeding! My hands are dirty! Muuuuummmmeeee!” which made me want to cry my eyes out. Then I noticed her head was beginning to swell under my hand and my breath was coming in short bursts.

After a slow journey that seemed to take forever we got there, Mike dumped the car and we ran in. We were taken straight through to pediatric ward. Molly was sat on the bed. Her blonde hair was red, so was her hands and face. The top of her head looked like a play-doh massacre. A large v-shaped flap of skin was lifted up off the top of her head and a huge Tom and Jerry-style egg-like swelling all around. I felt faint, Mike was white and then Molly was sick. Everywhere. The nurses came and the doctor examined her. I went to phone work to say I wouldn’t be in. This is when I was told my car was at risk of clamping. I explained that we had left in a hurry and didn’t have any cash on us. The A&E receptionist said the car park had nothing to do with the hospital and I would have to rush to the main reception to try and prevent clamping.

Fucking hell! The doctor was examining my not-even-three-year old and I was walking around in the pissing rain trying to talk about car clamping. Luckily the man at main reception was amazing. I write down my registration and he tells me not to worry. I mean, seriously, if you come in an emergency to hospital with a small child I can tell you know the last thing I was worrying about was whether I had £2.80 in small change for the meter.

I headed back and the doctor had told Mike they were going to glue Molly’s head together. Molly managed to laugh about this and said: “Glue for sticking and glue for mending heads!” He said we had to get the area as clean as we could as it would not be able to get wet for five days. This meant Molly had to have her head showered. We took her clothes off and headed for the hospital shower. Two nurses got her cleaned up and the water ran red. As the doctor inspected the wound it was clear that there was a huge gap and glue wasn’t going to work. They started to talk about stitches and the room started going black. I put my head between my knees. They said they didn’t want her to have a general as she had suffered a head injury and she shouldn’t go to sleep. It would need to be a local anaesthetic and this might be painful at first but the stitches wouldn’t hurt at all after that. I felt really faint.

I freely admit that when it comes to these things I am shitola. I can’t handle needles. When Molly had bronchiolitis at 11 weeks old and had to be fed through a tube and have a tap put in the back of her hand, Mike had to stay with her when the tube was put down her throat and the tap in her hand. I had to go somewhere else. This time the nurses looked at me and said I had to leave the department and get fresh air as they didn’t need another patient to look after. Then Mike started feeling faint. He got some water. The nurses said we should both go and get fresh air and they could do this with Molly without us. Molly’s lip wobbled and she started to sob. Suddenly Mike managed to stop feeling faint and he decided to go in and hold her while they did it all.

I left the department and walked in the rain for a bit. I felt so sick. I went back to the paediatric waiting area. I sat on the chair and still felt faint. I lay on the floor and still felt faint. I sat on the tables and still felt faint. I thought I was going to be sick. I went back onto the ward and Molly was out of the room where they did the stitches. She was walking around and playing with the toys. I looked at the wound and, it was bad. I had to lie on a hospital bed to stop myself from fainting.

We waited an hour while they observed her to make sure she was fine and came home. She is asleep on the sofa, tucked up with teddies. But I can tell you, me and Mike have aged 10 years in just three hours.