Alyssa has more scars than anyone in our family: 11 to be exact. She keeps count. Each is a trophy for her determination and belief that she can do anything.
None of her battle wounds have ever required stitches, though.
The fourth day at our new place marked the grand opening ceremony for the park. There were vendors, music, and the governor was scheduled to make an appearance. I needed to square some things away before going to the festivities and sent the kids out to ride bikes. Bikes. They ride bikes all the time.
Alyssa’s bicycle had a flat, so she climbed on Dylan’s. It was a little tall for her and had gears that she wasn’t used to, but it didn’t matter to her.
A few minutes later she came into the house, bleeding and asking for a band aid.
She shrugged me off when I asked what happened. Her foot slipped off the pedal and there was no chain guard, she said, it was nothing.
Then I saw the blood running down the back of her leg.
It was a nasty, jagged, gaping wound just under her calf muscle. I knew it took the prize for her worst-ever boo boo, but I was pretty sure it couldn’t be stitched.
So we cleaned it up, put on a bandage, and headed off to see the governor speak.
When we got back home and took another look at her leg, all I could think of was the terrible scar she would be left with. She scars so easily. I won’t show you photos of that yucky gash. But, this is what she cut it on, so you can imagine. It gives me shivers thinking about it.
If it was possible to stitch it, the scar might not be as bad. We decided a trip to the ER would be a good idea, so Matt took her while I stayed home with the boys.
You would think something like that would be traumatizing for a kid, but no.
They brought her a television, and something to drink, and pretty much let her run the show.
The stitches? No big deal. They gave her a shot, scrubbed the wound, and stitched her right up while she watched and cheered them on.
As you can see, she was taking it all pretty well.
It was the coolest thing ever, she said.
But Matt? He was traumatized.
Because they asked her questions. And they wouldn’t let him interject.
Alyssa is… well. You never know what she is going to say — like the time in pre-K when her teacher asked if her mom was a teacher, and she said no, her mom was in jail. And she never told the woman any different.
This place was by the book and they asked her some very interesting questions. That is, interesting if you’re a nurse or a doctor or an innocent bystander or anyone who is not her parent, frozen in fear over what might roll off her tongue.
Matt immediately started texting me when he found out there was a Q&A. And I immediately started laughing, because I was at home and safely away from her unpredictable little mouth.
There were a string of questions, things like: “Have you ever thought about hurting yourself?” to which Alyssa answered only by looking at them like they were stupid. That was a relief, I’m sure. But then they asked her if she had ever thought about hurting anyone at home.
For a girl with two brothers, her answer was quite surprising. After a really, really long pause she finally said, “Um, I don’t guess.”
The ER trip turned out to be a learning experience for everyone.
Matt didn’t get carted off by Social Services, though the potential outcome of all those questions took a toll. Before he even left the hospital, he vowed never to take her to the doctor alone again.
For Alyssa, the experience strengthened her plans for the future.
She couldn’t go to sleep before telling me every detail of the procedure. That they put actual, real stitches in her leg fascinated her.
I said, “Maybe you can be a doctor when you grow up, and you can do the stitches.”
“Nah,” she said snuggling deep into her pillow, “I’m still going to be a large-animal dentist.”