My younger son is getting close to walking, so he’s quite proud of himself when he stands. Unfortunately, on Saturday evening, he was so proud of himself that he stuck his tongue out in glee – and promptly fell into a stool and bit his tongue rather hard. It was bloody, and between the blood, the tears, and the crying, I couldn’t even see his tongue. I figured we’d better be safe than sorry and have him seen by a doctor just to make sure he didn’t need stitches. Fortunately, about six months ago, I’d asked the pediatrician where we should go in an emergency if their office wasn’t open. He’d written down the hours for the after hours Urgent Care facility in the same building, and also the hospital we should go to if the Urgent Care wasn’t open. I’d left the list on the fridge, so all I had to do was consult it to make sure the Urgent Care was open and off we went.
That was when we made our first mistake: we took our older son with us. In fairness, I wasn’t expecting a packed waiting room. I foolishly and naively thought we’d walk in, wait a few minutes, see the doctor, and leave. The moment we walked into the waiting room and I saw all the kids with gastro-intestinal viruses, my heart sank. I busted out the baby wipes, cursing myself for not stashing a new pack of antibacterial wipes in my diaper bag after I used up the old one. It was impossible to make sure the boys didn’t touch anything, although I tried to wipe their hands every few seconds. At least our younger son’s tongue stopped bleeding on the car ride over. Lesson #1: Unless absolutely necessary, only the kid who needs medical attention goes to Urgent Care.
We checked in at 5:40, and of course we hadn’t eaten dinner. After half an hour, no one had left, and no one who had been waiting had been called back into an exam room. We tried playing in the hall for a few minutes, but my husband and I both agreed it would be good for him to take our older son and pick up some food. Since it was a Saturday evening, all of the facilities in the building were closed, and the building isn’t attached to a hospital, so getting food meant getting into the car and driving to McDonald’s. Lesson #2: Grab some food on the way out of the house – even granola bars and a bottle of water would have tided us over. Which brings us to Lesson #3: Keep the diaper bag stocked. I’ve gotten lax about it; a few months ago, I would have had three granola bars in there for emergencies.
Eventually, we got in to see the doctor and the news was as good as we could have hoped for: our younger son didn’t need any stitches and his tongue appears to have healed quite nicely. As for our older son, he may have picked up a stomach virus there – I’m certainly kicking myself for taking him with us. But he too seems to be on the mend.