We have a rule in our house: no broken bones, deep lacerations, or knocked-out teeth after 9 p.m.
The reason for this is simple. The urgent care clinic (co-pay: $35) closes at 9 p.m. and the emergency room (copay: $400 and up) is, basically, off-limits since we would have to sell the afflicted child (once healed, of course) to pay the hospital bill.
We made this rule early on in our parenting career after Will got croup at ten months and I woke at midnight to hear him gasping for breath. Being the calm, practical mother that I am, I carefully analyzed the situation, then shrieked, "We're going to the emergency room, NOW!" and dragged my half-dressed husband and sick baby to the car. After three hours or so of waiting, breathing treatments, and doctors looking at this hysterical mother like they wished they had a strait-jacket nearby, we headed home with instructions for steaming up the bathroom to help Will's breathing and an ER bill designed to squeeze our savings account dry.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson.
So, this morning, when Will was spinning himself and his younger brother around on the office chair (parenthetical warning: two boys + spinning office chair + sharp desk corner = disaster), and I heard a loud smack and that long pre-scream silence that signals catastrophe, I took a deep breath and prepared myself to be calm, practical, and analytical.
Then I walked into the room, saw blood running down the face of my precious two-year-old, and did what any other calm, practical mother would do.
I completely lost it.
I'm the kind of person who, if a grease fire started on the stove, would sit and try to blow it out. My brain simply ceases to function in an emergency (which, by the way, is why I'm a piano teacher instead of, say, and EMT or police officer). I was lucky to get out the door with both children, my keys, my purse, and my pants on.
Play-by-play of the next two hours:
Jack stops screaming bloody murder.
Jack stops bleeding.
Will and Jack spend next 45 minutes touching every possible surface in the waiting room.
Nurse takes us into examining room.
Will and Jack spend next 45 minutes touching every possible surface in the examining room. Twice.
(Garbage can, three times.)
Jack swings from the arm rest of the chair and smacks the other side of his head on the wall (heck, if he'd gotten another gash, it could have been a two-for-one deal, right?).
Doctor finally comes in, pokes and prods at cut.
Doctor applies band-aid.
Luckily, the whole ordeal only cost us $35 (band-aid included!) and an exhausting two hours at the urgent care clinic. Not expensive enough to sell a child.
But a spinning office chair, maybe.