I wrapped his head up in literally all the gauze in the house and high-tailed it to the ER. I'd never visited this hospital before, but it was less than ten minutes away, so that's cool. He cried hysterically almost the entire time. Curiously, he did settle down so that I could call his father to let him know what was going on. We ran into the ER and there was no line and only one person in the waiting room, which was new to me. The nurse behind the window waved us right in and began asking what happened and unwrapping him before even asking for our names or insurance card. Another surprise. I'm not sure if that's how they roll at this hospital, or if a screaming three-year-old is an exception to their normal protocol. Whatever the reason, I was glad.
Once they had re-bandaged him, taken our info and his vitals, an old woman with chest pains walks in, and we're banished to the waiting room. I really don't care if this sounds callous; I hated her. But the boy calmed down. We waited for maybe half an hour, playing hide and seek with his Hello Kitty boo-boo buddy (it's a stuffed animal with an ice pack inside, and you really should buy one). I ran my own concussion test by making him identify pictures and letters from magazines (and now he knows how to spell "banana," thank you very much).
We were finally brought into an exam room by a male nurse. Score! Read this if you don't know why I was happy about that. He took a peek at the ear and then offered the boy a popsicle. What?! The ER is so much cooler if you're a kid! He even got to choose the color. The nurse came back with a twin pop, broke it in half, and gave the other half to me. So awesome.
As soon as we finished our popsicles, a physician's assistant came in. I have no idea what that is, but apparently he was allowed to do all sorts of doctor things without supervision. He cleaned up the ear and discovered that the L-shaped tear was rather small, but there was a huge bruise. I mean, the whole top half of his ear was purple. I asked if he needed stitches. One of our cats has had two tumors removed, and the last time it happened, I taught the boy all about sutures. We even stitched up one of his stuffed animals (because I'm all about the home-preschooling). So he was prepared for that. The PA explained that he "could go either way," giving him one stitch or leaving it. He said that without stitches, he would pretty much be deformed forever. Okay, I guess that's not quite how he phrased it, but that's why I heard. Then he said that stitching it would require numbing the entire side of his head and it would be "torture" (he really did say that).
I'm making a crazy contorted face at him like he's asking me to make Sophie's Choice, and then he casually mentions, "Oh, or I could glue it." Um, yes please! Why didn't you say that in the first place?! So he glues it. I ask if we're good to go, and he says yes, then has a second thought and tells us to hold on.
A doctor finally arrives. Yay, that's what I'm paying for, thank you! If there are any nurses or PAs reading this, I'm sorry, but I felt really uncomfortable not seeing an actual doctor until then. Even if one had popped his or her head in and said, "Hi, I'm the doctor. They've got this. Laterz!" I would have felt better. Anyway, the doctor looks at the ear and notices that the bruise went straight through it and even the side of his head behind his ear is bruised. So he does his own concussion test. I told him about mine, but I guess that wasn't good enough. That's cool. I am not a doctor and some parents are dumb, so I get it. He asks the boy what holiday tomorrow is. My ridiculously friendly and boisterous child chooses this moment to be shy and mumble "Owno" (mumble-ese for "I don't know"). The doctor asks if he's getting candy tomorrow. "YES!" He tells him he can't have any candy unless he tells him what tomorrow is. I chime in and say I'm going to eat all the Twix and Ring Pops myself (SPOILER ALERT: I totally will, anyway). The doctor becomes the world's best actor, turns to me, and says, "Hey, I'm working tomorrow. Can you bring me some of that candy?" I agree. "NOOOO!" Once more, we ask him what tomorrow is. "HALLOWEEN!" He has passed his test.
The doctor tells me that the bruise is so bad, he's worried about a hematoma. This would be the ear swelling up with blood. If that happens, he could get cauliflower ear, like some bare-knuckle boxer. I'm not linking, but if you feel like being grossed out, Google that. Ewwwww. Yeah. So he puts gauze all around the front and back of his ear, then wraps the whole top half of his head in an ace bandage. He looked like a mummy. You know what's funny? This is the shirt he was wearing:
You know what's even funnier? His Halloween costume was Anubis. You want one more? We were instructed to follow up with his primary care in the morning, which was Halloween. Most of the staff at the pediatrics office were in costume. Guess what his doctor was. A pharaoh.
He did not get a hematoma, just one nasty-ass bruise that looks uglier every day. Luckily, he was still able to wear his mask and head piece. Halloween pics tomorrow.