The story starts with a call from the school health room. Terza fell on the playground, cut her chin, and probably needs stitches. Ok, no problem, I'll be right there.
The health aide shows me the cut, a lightning-bolt shaped slice under Terza's chin. You know, the kind that looks like a second mouth when the kid talks while the wound is open?
I zip the girl up to Patient First, and calmly answer all of her questions. Yes, you may get a shot of medicine, in your skin to make it not hurt when the doctor puts in the stitches. Yes, he'll use a needle and a special thread. No, it won't hurt. I know because I've had stitches before. I had them in my forehead, and I was five, just like you.
We check in and go back to a room. I stand by her side, holding her hand, while the nurse cleans her wound and preps her for stitches. I hold a cotton ball soaked in anesthetic to her chin for several minutes. I hold her hands while the doctor injects more anesthetic through the edges of the cut. She squeezes her eyes shut, and squeezes my hands hard. A tear rolls down her cheek.
This is when I begin to feel not so good.
Nauseated and light-headed, I warn them I am about to faint. I get to the chair in time, put my head down, and hold on to Terza's leg. I want her to know I am still there.
I hear the doctor tell Terza that she made me nervous. No! That's not why this is happening!
I feel worse. Now I'm sweating and pretty sure I'm going to vomit. The nurse helps me to the restroom, I feel a little better, then I feel a lot worse. Gee, that cold tile floor looks good. I just want to lie down.
I make it to a gurney, but things are not looking up. I can't believe this is happening. My baby needs me, and I'm not there. Mother of the Year, I am.
Then, as quickly as I felt bad, I feel better. Mostly. I get up, go to Terza's room, and sit at her feet. I tell her how proud of her I am. She is brave. She doesn't cry, doesn't fight, and does everything the doctor asks of her. She lays still while he stitches her chin, then puts on her sticker and chats the doctor up like the typical chatterbug she is.
Then she asks to go back to school. Tough kid, that one.
I know I don't need to feel horrible about fainting during her stitches. I know she's not upset about it. But still....ugh. And I don't even get squeamish with blood. Bone issues get me; loose teeth, broken bones, dislocated joints all unsettle my stomach even when I see them on a TV show. But blood, no. Until today, until it was my kid on the table with a gaping wound. I think we all deserve a little ice cream tonight.