Friday, July 29, 2011

dignity under fire

Things you should know about Colby.  He will eat anything.  He never gets sick.  And his view of Western Medicine closely parallel my view of organized religion: heavy skepticism with a side of conspiracy.  So when he called home asking if we had Band-Aids I knew shit had hit the fan.

I have a fantastic irrational fear of guns and I am rather attached to it.  This would be the reason I got the phone call instead of, well possibly instead of being there to prevent the whole thing.  It went down like this: Colby invented a scope mount for a mosin nagant and guns became a side effect in our lives, kind of like chicken shit.  Guns aren’t just for threatening skunks so he began taking the kids shooting and I began taking personal time out pretending he was not taking the kids shooting. Reality check: the phone call. 

“Do we have band aids?  You know the butterfly kind?”
“Who’s hurt?”
“Well, Beach is.” 
I don’t recall the exact words from there but as it turns out Beach had been hit in the face with the scope during the kick back on the 3030 I keep calling it a shotgun but I get corrected it is a rifle.  As far as I am concerned it could be a flipping cannon I see all guns the same way you know that cartoon gun from Saturday morning cartoons with the face and little legs that jumps out of the holster and starts shooting people? That is the very image that is in my head when I hear the word gun.
“I am about an hour away I think we will swing by Doc Bryan’s on the way in to town have him look at it.”  Doc Bryan is a Plastic Surgeon who is a friend and client of Colby’s (who is also very good looking) but if Colby thinks we need a doctor it is bad.
“Okay,” I say, “But if not when you get here I am taking her to Primary’s.”
I hang up and call a friend of mine who walks me through what most likely happened and what the injury will look like.  And when Colby pulls in I trade him places and take Beach to the ER for stitches.

PCMC Reception Area
Me: Doctors without boarders t shirt, shorts, flip flops.
Beach: little blond, toothless, adorable, blood covered, not crying. 
Receptionist: frowning sweetly. “Oh how did she do this?”
Me: “On a shotgun.”
Beach: “A rifle mom.”
Receptionist: “My goodness I bet the person who hit her with it feels really bad.”
Beach: “I hit myself with it I was shooting.”
Me: God damn it, why am I the parent standing here?! I didn’t do this.  And I’m remembering the way Colby slipped out of the way to let me go alone without any objections.  I’ve been hoodwinked!

PCMC In Take
Me: looking around for a way to score a free cup of coffee.
Beach: legs swinging from the gurney.
In Take Nurse: “Oh how did this happen?”
Beach: “I was shooting the rifle with my dad but I’m too small to hold it against my shoulder so my dad propped it up on a chair and he told me to tell him when I was ready so he could help me but I didn’t know I had to wait so I said I was ready and shot and the scope hit me in the head.  But I hit the target.”
Me: “He did what with the gun?”
In Take Nurse: dead silence
Me: “Stitches or staples?” I ask busy plotting to redo Colby's vasectomy this time without an Attending supervising me and without the pain killers. 
In Take Nurse: “ah-ah, yeah stitches, hum...we will need to put her under.
Me: “No you won’t.”
In Take Nurse: considers Beach for a moment. “I suppose you’re right. Let’s find you a room.”
Once we got to a room I made Beach explain it again to me.  By that point she was really good at telling it.  As it turns out when a little monkey like her comes in with composure and story like that it draws a lot of traffic your way.
The shots, the cleaning, and the first six stitches all go smoothly with the back ground noise of another child getting stitches echoing down the hallway.  There are three of them in ER at the moment Beach is the only one not put under.  Now I know the staff is still wondering about the little girl with the rifle.  There are questions that will have to be answered but we hit stitch seven and eight.

Mom removing the stitches

The doctor looks at me, “I didn’t numb this area I didn’t realize she needed stitches down below the brow.  We can just do it or I can numb her.”
“It’s your call Beach.” I say.


“Just do it.”  And that is that, no more questions.  That is one tough little kid you got there lady.  And that is true grace under fire...

R.I.P John Penn

May you have found the freedom from the pain of this world you were seeking, may the spirit of that gun, which belonged to your father and was once held in the small but capable hands of my child have delivered you painlessly & safely to a better place. I am truly sorry that Utah like most of the country has yet to be humane enough to adopt a death in dignity statute.  When life is worse than looking down the barrel of a gun the answers and questions stop, so too should the judgement of those who have never been in that place.

To my beloved Colby,
Your grief is personal.  I can stand beside you but I cannot go with you. I will see you on the other side. Please make it through faster & better than I did when I lost my sister.  I trust you will because in you I do believe.    

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