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The Family Forum: I’m Thankful for People in White Coats

The Family Forum: I’m Thankful for People in White Coats

It started out as a usual night with my young son. We ate supper, cleaned up, and watched some television. We were both getting tired, so I went into another room to grab a book for a bedtime story.  
As soon as I put my hand on the book, I heard screams coming from the other room. I rushed back and there was my child, on the floor, with blood all over his face and hands.  
I saw a huge chunk of the coffee table missing.

He was thrashing around, screaming.  
I couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from.  
I rushed him to the bathroom to wash his face and hands. That’s when I discovered it: a huge gash under his mouth. His two front teeth were dangling from his gums.  
My gasp made him cry harder. I was a new mom then, so I had no prior experience with bloody teeth dangling from gums! And of course, we all know kids don’t come with instructions.  
What the heck was I to do?  

I loaded him into our car and we arrived at the nearest hospital. Both of us were in tears and we were both shaking.  
I was holding my son (he wouldn’t let me put him down) and trying to talk to the receptionist. After some questions, she could see we were both in distress and got us back to the examination room immediately.  
For the most part, it was a blur. I remember trying to comfort him. I remember thinking that I must be a terrible mom! I remember doctors and nurses coming in and out and having me help hold him still as they sewed up the gash on his face.   
There was one thing that I do remember clearly, though, and that was the kindness of the receptionist. It had been her job to ask questions, to make sure this had been an accident and not the result of neglect.   
She asked her questions delicately and with compassion. She not only reassured my son he would be all right, but she reassured me that I would be fine as well…from one mom to another.       
Sometimes when a child is hurt, there are other people who also need a little comfort and compassion: the parents. As a parent, you are left to deal with the guilt and overwhelming fear of being a bad parent. Would it have happened if I hadn’t left the room? Should I have talked to him more about the dangers of twirling around?  
I think we all doubt ourselves as parents occasionally. Thank goodness that receptionist was there at that hospital, at that desk, and at that time of night. 
When things go awry, just remember that it’s not bad to lean on somebody when you need to. That’s EXACTLY what our medical professionals are there for. They’re not just for fixing the medical issues; they often are also there on the front lines of calming us, to set our minds at ease with their level-headed knowledge.
It’s also good to be that comfort in times of another person’s need, whether we know the person or not. How many people have you leaned on for support in times of need? 
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone out there, somewhere, were writing a column about the kindness you showed them? 


By Melissa Carrigee

About The Author

Melissa Carrigee

Melissa Carrigee is the author of “I Dream of Dragons” and the proud mother of an Air Force Airman and a totally awesome eighth-grader. Between baking cookies and writing her next book, she walks her bulldog and listens to ‘80s music.


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