This morning I got a call from the nurse at Number 4’s school.
“Number 4 is here in the office. She ablated her pointer finger right on the top knuckle. It’s kind of deep, and I think you should come take a look at it. You’ll also need to bring her a change of clothes because blood squirted all over her shirt.”
I’ll be honest.
My first thought wasn’t I hope Number 4 is okay.
It was, This is throwing a wrench in my plans.
We only live a couple hundred yards from the school, so I ran down to check her out.
The nurse showed me Number 4’s finger.
She had sanded a good hunk of skin off her knuckle with the sander in tech ed class. Several layers of skin were missing. Her knuckle looked a little bit like an elevation map.
But it wasn’t bleeding anymore, and Number 4 was fine. She wasn’t in pain and she wasn’t complaining.
Well, that’s not true. She was complaining because she wanted to go back to class.
But not because of the pencil eraser-sized gouge in her finger.
“You just need to put a little ointment and a band-aid on it,” I said to Number 4.
The nurse was not gonna let me leave her in school though.
“It needs to be looked at,” she said. “You can just run her over to Urgent Care.”
Not to discredit the nurse, because she is clearly much more trained than I am.
But with seven kids who have all experienced bumps and bruises and scrapes and cuts and contusions and broken bones and concussions and burns and just about every other first aid scenario imaginable, I knew this did not require medical intervention.
I also know the nurse needs to cover her ass.
So much to her chagrin, I took Number 4 out of school and told her we were going to see a doctor really quickly and that I’d drop her back at school when we were done.
“BUT MOM! I WANT TO READ! I’M MISSING LITERACY! AND I DON’T WANT TO MISS LUNCH!!!”
We got out to the car and the protesting continued.
“I know you’re fine,” I said to her. “But if I don’t take you to the doctor, the school will think I’m…”
“AN ASSHOLE???” yelled Number 4.
It took me a minute to recover from her… question.
I was both horrified and proudly impressed with her response.
“Don’t say that,” I said to her.
“But yes. An asshole basically sums it up.”
So we stopped at home where she could change out of her blood-splattered clothes and then we drove to Urgent Care.
When we got there, there were a couple people in the waiting room, and when I looked at the sign-in sheet, I realized they had been there for 40 minutes already.
I asked the receptionist how long she thought the wait would be.
“At least 30 minutes,” she told me.
Fuck that, I thought to myself.
“Mom! This is stupid!” Number 4 said.
I looked at the nurse who was behind the desk.
“She cut her finger with a sander at school, but there’s really nothing that can be done to it,” I told her.
“Is it bleeding?” she asked.
“NO! I’M FINE!!!” exclaimed Number 4.
“We’d just put a xeroform bandage on it,” the nurse told us. “You can get those at Rite Aid or CVS.”
“THANK YOU!” Number 4 and I yelled in unison, and we hightailed it out of there.
Ten minutes later, after learning Rite Aid had no xeroform bandages and showing the tiny wound to the pharmacist, she said, “You don’t need anything special. Just a band-aid and some Neosporin, and make sure you keep it clean.”
I hate to say I told you so, but…
Ten minutes after that, I dropped a very happy Number 4 back at school.
Technically we went to Urgent Care, and technically someone “looked at” her wound.
But the next time someone tells me my kid needs to be looked at when I know everything is fine?
The next time I’ll just let ’em think I’m an asshole.