Benjamin visits the ER

First, let me say that everything turns out ok in this story.

Yesterday evening, just before story time, I was feeding Liam and I heard the sounds of “hide & seek” coming from the bathroom (where toothbrushing was supposed to be happening . . . and I imagine it did actually happen at some point).  Benjamin isn’t 100% clear on hide & seek yet — he seems to manage to both hide and seek each time, but he really likes it.  I heard both Dan and Benjamin count to 10, and then lots of giggling and “I found you!” followed by a serious “thud” and a cry.  Not the I-need-to-think-about-how-bad-this-hurts cry, but the instantaneous, frightened, pained scream.


I heard Dan bustling about, lots of “It’s ok” and “Let me see” (neither of which made me feel any better) and a moment later, Dan and Benjamin showed up in the living room, with Benjamin crying and covering his face.  Dan wasn’t getting much of anywhere trying to get a look at the injury, so I took a look while Dan went to get some ice.  I was worried about his teeth and his lips, but once I got a look, he was already getting a bruise on the bridge of his nose, which he said hurt.  Apparently, upon “finding” Dan, he turned around to run and celebrate, and didn’t quite negotiate the transition from the tile of the bathroom floor to the wood of the hallway.   His feet went right out from under him and he landed flat on his face.  Dan thought he’d managed to get his hands under himself in time, but apparently not — within a few minutes, the bruising was worse, his nose was swollen, and he was starting to get a black eye on the left side.  He did let us put some ice on it (but not for long).

Dan called the doctor and left a message, and while we waited for an answer, B wiped his nose and came away with a very small amount of blood.  So small that I almost didn’t believe it, but it was there.  Time for the ER.

At this point, Liam was in bed asleep, so I stayed with him, and we bundled Benjamin up to head to the hospital with Dan.  According to our pediatrician, the children’s hospital is great during the day, but not well equipped at night, so they went to the regular hospital (which, as it turns out, is the largest hospital in Europe — pretty cool to have that a 17 minute strassenbahn ride away).  Once they found out exactly where to be (another one of those challenges of living in a foreign country) they only had to wait 5 minutes to be seen, and they were taken back almost immediately for an x-ray.  Benjamin was a champ.  He was cooperative, quiet and happy (extra impressive because they didn’t even leave the house until almost 11:00).

As it turns out, his nose is just fine — only a bruise.  They got home just barely 2 hours after they left, and over half an hour of that was travel time.  It’s always best to avoid the ER at the hospital, but our family’s first experience with the emergency department (actually, I think they ended up at the “accident” department, which is different) was definitely as positive as possible.

We were all exhausted today — B stayed home from school, I tried not to obsess about my poor baby who had to have an x-ray and I wasn’t even there, Dan went to work and tried to pass his final in his German class, Liam was unaffected, but happy to have B home.  Everyone is ok, and other than Benjamin being wary of me washing his nose today, life is pretty much back to normal.  Just how I like it.


Pain is an effective teacher.  No matter how many times you are warned that something will hurt, nothing will drive that message home like experiencing it for yourself.

Benjamin got one of those lessons this evening.  He reached out a touched a light bulb at the restaurant where we were having dinner.  I didn’t see it in time to warn him about this particular one (he climbed up onto the bench seat in the restaurant and the very first thing he did was reach out and touch the light in the shelf behind his seat) but I’ve warned him many, many times about that kind of thing before.  (The light bulb was easily within his reach — it is a setup you would probably not see in the States particularly due to the litigation potential in exactly this kind of situation.)


My poor guy.  It hurt.  He cried.  We rinsed it in cold water and put a cold compress on it.  I held him all through dinner and the entire way home.  He has a blister now, and, of course (good lesson or not) I’m worried about him and I don’t want him to be hurt.  We called the doctor and we’re going to see her tomorrow.  It’s hard to see him be hurt, but I imagine he’ll be unlikely to repeat this particular mistake again in the future — less likely, evidently, than my repeated warnings caused him to be.  If I could magically accept all the pain he will ever experience in his life and suffer it myself, I would gladly do so, but life just doesn’t work that way.  Benjamin will have to, eventually, be the one in charge of the decision of whether or not to touch light bulbs, along with so many other things (which will just keep me up all night worrying if I try to create a list).

I know that I can’t protect him from everything.  I will continue to do the best that I can, and hope that when something slips through the cracks, that maybe there’s at least a lesson in there somewhere.  (I really, really hope there is.)