The puzzle is emerging before our eyes when we hear a THUMP followed by screaming. The kind of screaming that causes a parent's legs to start running in the direction of the scream before they've even processed what's happened. When I reached the top of the stairs, the first person I saw coming up the steps was William who with wide eyes was telling me, "It wasn't my fault! I didn't do it!!" and the next person I saw was Henry, who was still screaming as blood gushed out of his mouth.
Running down the steps and scooping up my youngest, I find myself yelling, "WHAT HAPPENED?!"and behind me, I can hear the kids trying to sort out the series of events which had transpired and have caused blood to pour from their little brother's mouth.
He was pushed.
It was a meteor!
None of it mattered. All that mattered to me was that I figured out where the blood was coming from and that I stopped it, immediately. Perching him on the kitchen table, I felt absolutely nauseous having to look in to his mouth. Not because of the blood, per se, but because of the FEAR that he would have lost yet ANOTHER tooth two or more years ahead of schedule. Why in the world did I think that the children could play safely downstairs without me hovering over them?
Me = Idiot.
Very, very carefully, I look in to Henry's mouth and I can't see anything except blood. So I scoop him off the table and carry him in to the kitchen where I perch him on the counter and direct him to spit in to the sink. I look in to his mouth again and am relieved to see that his teeth are all intact and the copious blood is coming from somewhere other than his gums. For at least five long minutes, he had to sit and continue spitting in to the sink because the bleeding was so profuse. I tore off paper towels, dampened them under the faucet and placed them in his cheek to try and stem the flood. Eventually, we moved to the couch, me holding him in my arms, him crying deliriously because of the pain.
His siblings, meanwhile, had set about making him cards. They drew pictures of crosses and hearts and faces dripping with tears. They also tried to explain what had happened. They were playing tag and Elizabeth was chasing Henry when he tripped and fell - face first - on the corner of our train table. The whole thing happened so fast, he wasn't able to put out his hands and block his fall and there was blood all over the carpeting and stairs.
Suddenly, I remembered the warning of our pediatric dentist...
Coffee tables are the #1 cause of tooth and mouth injury to toddlers and small children.
(Followed closely by angry mothers.)
As Henry laid in my arms, we administered Tylenol and my sweet boy fell asleep. It was only 5:30 at night, but he was so traumatized by the event, he passed out.
On Sunday, his cheek was swollen, as expected.
On Monday, it looked even worse.
On Tuesday, I took him to the pediatrician for what was supposed to be his five-year-old "Well Child" check-up. It instead turned in to an evaluation of Henry's cheek. The doctor told us that it looked like a terrible bruise but she didn't see anything that would suggest he had fractured his jaw.
On Wednesday, it looked even worse. On Wednesday evening, I put the kids to bed at 7:00 because I needed to get some work wrapped up. Henry was awake at 8:00 PM, crying because he was "firsty" and needed a drink. At 9:00 PM, Henry woke up crying again because he was covered in sweat. I peeled his pajama top off him and turned his ceiling fan on low. At 10:00 PM, he woke up crying and when I walked in to his room he was tossing and turning in distress. Although it was dark in the room, I could see that his cheek was so swollen it was shiny. And my maternal alarm sounded ...
WOOP! WOOP! WOOP!!!
Charlie was getting ready for bed, but I called him in to the boys' room and said, "This is serious. He needs to go to the Emergency Room - RIGHT NOW." My husband, bless him, was exhausted and ready for sleep. "Are you sure this can't wait until the morning? I can take him in, first thing..."
Nope. He needs to go, right now. His cheek looks like it's abscessed and although I've never seen an abscess in my life, I'd bet my 401K that's exactly what this is.
Then I cried actual tears (true story) because I really wanted to take Henry to the ER myself, but I had a critical work deliverable that was due in the morning, so I had to stay home and press on.
Charlie got dressed, while I packed Henry's blanket, teddy bear and a small pillow since I suspected that they'd be waiting awhile. Then I gave my little boy a scoop of vanilla ice cream to take along on the car ride because the poor child couldn't stop crying.
(Note: Vanilla ice cream is MAGIC.)
Long story short, his cheek was abscessed. The doctor told Charlie it was a GOOD thing he brought him in that night (yay maternal instinct!) as he prescribed an antibiotic and referred him to an ENT the following morning. Charlie trooped off to the ENT with all the kids in tow and was informed, after an almost 2-hour wait, that if the antibiotics didn't do the trick by Saturday, Henry would need to go in for surgery to have it drained.
Tomorrow is Saturday.