Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dog Bite

It's Thursday, September 3, 2009.

We're late.
Biddy get your Crocs.
Do you have the camera?
Get in the car.
We need to be at Frank's at 11:30 am.
Papa and Nana, can you follow us in your rental?
B's dad and stepmom are visiting.
We need enough room for Frank when we go to lunch.

Pile in.
Hit the accelerator.
We're off.
Don't lose Papa and Nana.
Oklahomans don't know Colorado roads.
We arrive at Frank's house at 11:30 am on the dot.
Frank is B's godfather.
Pile out.

Warm hugs.
Papa and Frank haven't seen one another since the early 90's.
Oops...I forgot the camera in the car.
I'll get it.
Enter the house.
Everyone's in the living room.
It's as artistic as Frank is.
Skulls and paintings adorn the walls.

Biddy asks where the doggies are.
Repeatedly saying he wants to see them.
Where are the doggies?
Can I see the doggies?
The last time we visited they'd been put away.
The dogs aren't used to kids.
Frank's an 82-year-old bachelor.
He lives alone.

We look at Frank's art.
He is modest and humble.
We comment on a sweet portrait.
Nana blushes as Frank showers her talent with affection.
Everyone is happy.
Papa and Frank genuinely enjoy seeing one another again.
I take pictures documenting the occasion.
The energy is festive.

Biddy asks after the dogs again.
He wants to play with them.
Where are the doggies?
Can I see the doggies?
Frank wants to show us his studio.
We walk through the dining room to the kitchen and out the back door.
Along the way we pass B's cala lilly photograph.
It's hung with pride.

A Husky greets us as soon as we enter the backyard.
Biddy is delighted.
There's a doggie!
No one is paying much attention.
Everyone is looking at the railroad ties Papa laid years before.
They're still there.
The backyard is tiered and beautiful.
Papa's handiwork is still evident.

Biddy spots a ball.
He picks it up and throws it.
The dog has no interest in playing fetch.
Biddy fetches the ball himself.
He picks it up.
He throws it.
The dog again doesn't fetch.
Biddy begins to whine.

No one comments that one dog has been locked in the bedroom and the other one left out.
Instead, we walk through the backyard and into Frank's studio where he paints his fanciful masterpieces.
I stand back taking pictures of the group admiring Frank's newest creation.
I'm aware of Biddy but not focused on him.
B's looking straight at him.
Biddy tries to give the dog the ball.
The dog doesn't want it.
The dog reacts as dogs do telling Biddy to back off.

The sound is deafening.
I know what's happening without seeing.
I scream.
B screams.
Biddy screams the loudest.
The dog attacks.
He lunges at Biddy who falls to the floor.
He lunges again.

While Frank tries to pull the dog away, B is there in an instant sweeping Biddy into his arms.
B runs out the door yelling, "We have to go to the emergency room. We need to go to the emergency room now. Now. Now. Now. Emergency room now."
I'm right on his heel pleading to let me see, to let me assess the situation.
B tries his hardest not to show me, tries his hardest to protect me.
I get a paper towel from the kitchen, wet it, and come out to where B is standing cradling Biddy in his arms.
Biddy then turns to me with tears streaming down his face and blood running down his chin. Part of his upper lip is hanging down.
It's dark red and angry looking.

Apply pressure.
Stop the bleeding.
Run to the car.
B drives; Frank navigates.
I comfort.
Biddy asks over and over, "Why'd the doggie bite me? Why'd the doggie bite me?"
What do you say?
"I don't know baby. Be still. Mamma is here. It's okay."

B darts and weaves through traffic.
Papa and Nana follow closely behind.
We arrive at Boulder Community Hospital.
B drops us off at the door and goes to park.
I carry Biddy into Emergency.
We're both trembling.
I say something like, "My baby was bitten by a dog. Please fix him now."
We're admitted immediately.

We're asked to wait in the waiting room.
B and Biddy sit cuddled together about a foot-and-a-half away from the TV watching an animated penguin cartoon.
Papa and Nana try to console Frank.
I call my mom.
Reception is horrible but she gets the gist and says she'll come down immediately.
She arrives within fifteen minutes.
By the time Meema arrives we've been brought back to a large exam room with five beds in it.
We're the only people in there.

Biddy looks so small in the big hospital bed.
His lip continues to swell but thankfully the bleeding has stopped.
He keeps asking, "Why'd the doggie bite me? Why'd the doggie bite me?"
What do you say?
We tell him the doggie was cranky.
Sometimes doggies are cranky.
He thinks about it for a while taking our explanation in.
For the moment, it seems to suffice.

Katrina, a physician assistant, and a nice red-haired freckly nurse take care of Biddy.
He's so brave.
They examine his lip.
He has one puncture wound through the skin just above the corner of his left upper lip.
They suggest that because it's his face we have a plastic surgeon sew Biddy up.
Sounds good to us.
Dr. Swail is on call.
We know he's good (better than good) by the way Katrina and the nurse react to hearing his name.

Paging Dr. Swail.
We wait.
We're informed the good doctor is in surgery until 5 pm.
It's only about 12:30/1 pm.
We debate calling in another plastic surgeon who's immediately unavailable but free around 3:30 pm.
Katrina and the nurse are not nearly as enthused.
We are told that waiting for Swail will not affect the surgery, scar or healing time.
We decide to wait for Swail.

We're advised Biddy will need to lie perfectly still for the surgery.
Movement equals scarring.
He's two-and-three-quarters years old.
Can he remain completely still?
Some kids can; some kids can't.
B and I both agree Biddy can't.
We're advised about Ketamine.
We choose to sedate our baby boy.

After bandaging his wound they tell us to go home.
They don't typically let patients leave but we get special treatment because of Biddy's age.
They tell us to rest and not to eat or drink anything since Ketamine can induce vomiting.
We walk out with Biddy still wearing his hospital bracelet.
We tell them we'll be back around 4 pm in case Swail's schedule shifts and he's available earlier.
Nana and Frank give Biddy a sweet stuffed penguin.
He promptly names him Happy Feet.
Happy Feet doesn't leave Biddy's sight for the next several hours.

Driving home Biddy almost falls asleep.
We arrive and promptly take him up to bed.
Both B and I lie next to him.
Our eyes meet with sadness.
Our eyes meet Biddy's with strength.
Biddy falls deeply asleep with Lovey, Lovey Boo and Happy Feet nestled next to him.
I can't sleep and go downstairs.
B stays protectively cuddled.

I wake them at 3:45 pm.
Biddy freaks out.
He doesn't want to be touched.
He doesn't want to go back to the hospital.
He tries to hide from us.
He cries and screams.
Finally he calms down.
Hugging helps.

We arrive back at the hospital at 4:30 pm.
We look forward to Swail's imminent arrival.
Instead we wait for hours.
We read books.
We watch TV.
Papa and Nana console.
Frank and Meema console.
Daddy and Mommy console.

It's now 6:30 pm.
Biddy is getting impatient and parched.
He wants apple juice.
Instead we promise him ice cream.
After the doctor comes you can have ice cream.
He agrees.
He wants sorbet from Glacier.
After the doctor comes...

Biddy is hooked up to a machine that will monitor his vital signs in anticipation of Swail.
No one knows for sure when he'll arrive only that he will.
Three adhesive patches are attached to Biddy's chest to make sure the wires stay in place.
Another is wrapped around his finger with tape.
The tape doesn't stick very well and it keeps slipping off his finger.
When it slips, the monitor beeps.
Biddy finds the beeping very funny.
I put it on and it comes off and Biddy laughs.
We did this numerous times. Anything to pass the time.

Biddy exhibits the patience of Job.
I, on the other hand, am losing mine.
I stand by our door watching ER commotion waiting/willing Swail to show up.
I evaluate every man who enters the main doors down at the end of the corridor.
Could that be Swail? Nope.
Could that be Swail? Nope.
Finally at 7:30 pm a tall, lanky, distinguished man strolls in.
Could that be Swail? Yup. Hallelujah.

Swail gets immediately to work.
He is nice enough but all business.
His arrival creates a bit of a frenzy.
He quietly barks orders at the ER staff.
Everyone hops into action.
Swail orients himself with the room, the instruments, with Biddy.
He removes his bandage.
He evaluates his wound.

Nana, Papa, Frank and Meema are told to leave the room.
The bed is lowered so that Biddy is now lying flat.
B and I are told to try and keep him calm.
Two nurses with needles position themselves on either side of the bed.
On three, the Ketamine is injected into his left thigh muscle.
Biddy cries out.
Simultaneously another medication is injected into his right one.
This one is to help combat nausea upon waking.

Biddy settles quickly.
B holds his hand.
He tells him he loves him.
I hold his foot.
I tell him I love him.
Biddy falls asleep with his eyes open.
From where I sit, at the foot of the bed, I can see directly into his vacant eyes.
I stare into them the entire time.

Swail is competent and quick.
The operation takes no more than 20 minutes.
He numbs the area and cleans the wound.
He stitches seven stitches into Biddy.
He tells us to keep it clean, to keep bacitracin on it.
He tells us to make sure Biddy takes all his antibiotics.
He tells us he will take the sutures out on Tuesday.
He then says goodbye and is gone.

It's time to wake up.
We're here Biddy.
It's all over.
It takes over 35 minutes for Biddy to come to.
He is wobbly at first.
His words are unintelligible but we think the first thing he says is "ice cream."
He keeps trying to sit up saying, "I wanna get up now."
Finally he can sit on his own.

Biddy is discharged around 9:30 pm.
He keeps repeating "ice cream."
We all walk out to the parking lot.
Biddy wants to see Meema's dog Harley.
Meema lets Harley out of her car.
Biddy pets him.
I breathe a sign of relief.
He isn't completely afraid of dogs.

Papa, Nana, Biddy, B and I pile in.
Meema and Harley wave goodbye.
We head straight to Glacier Ice Cream in 28th.
I run in and order Biddy a small mango sorbet.
I spoon feed it to him in the car in the dark on the way home.
Be careful of the stitches.
Where did I put the napkins?
Keep it coming, our boy is hungry.

Home Sweet Home.
Biddy and I change into our pajamas.
We cuddle on the couch waiting for B to return with Biddy's antibiotics.
Antibiotics given and go down easily.
We tuck Biddy in.
He falls asleep quickly with Lovey, Lovey Boo and Happy Feet nestled next to him.
I didn't sleep well, neither did B.
Luckily Biddy sleeps like a baby.