Fatherhood continues and evolves. For this first month, my wife and I have had a pretty moody little dude on our hands. Gas, poop, and hunger. Limited amounts of sleep. Something to work through. I couldn't hold him without him kicking and screaming, waving his tiny balled fists, trying to swat away whatever it was that was agitating his pain. My little dude was not having a lot of fun with this new life and frankly, I wasn't having a lot of fun, either. The wife did great though, kept her spirits up and worked with what she had. Mother in law came to stay with us for a month and that was immensely helpful. Mother in law left, and we still had the Moody Dude on our hands.
For the last two days, miraculously, for who knows whatever reason, perhaps on of the thousands of tricks we employed to fight colic and fussiness paid off. The last two days have been awesome! Little crying, just a lot of looking around and even a few smiles. A vessel ready to explore the world. A baby that listens to and watches his mobile, as opposed to hysterically shrieking at it, he sometimes smiles at the hanging mobile that to me, is strangely reminiscent of a Pink Floyd concert I went to in high school. The change has been so dramatic, we noticed it immediately. And best of all, we pulled five hours of sleep. I probably shouldn't us "we" because my wife has to get up far more frequently than I do to give him the bizoobs but the change is duly noticed. And it feels great!
SO... to get to the meat, to get to my thoughts...today at work a 29 year old man ran into the ER carrying his crushed 1 1/2 year old child in his hands. When the father was leaving home, the boy ran out and the father backed over him with the massive family SUV. As bad as you've seen it in your experience, it was. I (thankfully) didn't see anything gnarly, I came into the situation as a big crowd of people moved into trauma. Staff came out of the trauma, talking in that glazed sort of way, when the adrenaline is high, the experience is burning into your psyche like a liver fluke into your gut. When your still not sure if what you saw was medically inspiring and challenging or you just voyeured into a devastating personal moment for someone. My co-workers came out of the trauma and I heard grim remarks, saw heads sadly shaking, "blood everywhere" "brain matter" " seriously not looking good". I only saw the father briefly, standing up, his head shielded by his arms as he leaned against a wall and cried, large numbers of family circling him, giving him support that must be baffling and terrifying at that moment. What do you do? What do you think? Are you angry at the father, do you feel sorry for him, do you forgive, do you dare to visualize what his life will be like after the so sudden and immediate death of his child? I was working in triage most of the night so I directed the upset and anxious family members as they poured in, asking how to get to the pediatric ER. I tried my best poker face, almost pretending that I didn't know what nightmare I was about to direct them into, "The pediatric ER is just to the left." Afterwards everyone in triage would also shake their head, what a nightmare.
And of course the Sheriff department tore apart the SUV, police lining it off where the dad had driven up to the ambulance bay doors. Furiously burrowing into the vehicle, under seats, in doors, looking, looking, for some proof that this father was a murderer and needed to be charged with a crime as horrendous as the accident. So weird, this tought looking family vehicle became a crime scene and I don't know the outcome of their investigation nor do I want to. What a shitty job...
I never felt like this before, I couldn't stop visualizing myself in his shoes, I kept imagining picking up my injured child off the ground with catastrophic injuries that I inadvertently inflicted. I couldn't imagine killing my own child. How do you live after that? How do you go to work, how do you be with family, what does your wife do? Does she hate you with the venom that mothers reserve for those who hurt their babies? Does life become a rollercoaster of self destruction, do you give up?
Do you try to die?
I'm so thankful that I wasn't even involved directly with the medical care. I've prided myself on my non-squeamishness around blood, around eagerly encountering the human wasted, the trauma's, the human drama, but I tell you what- tonight, just hearing the details, I thought to myself, "I don't have the stomach for this anymore." One of the most upsetting experiences of my medical career and I wasn't even involved.
Sadly, this validated my fatherhood more than anything else that has happened to me, more than any other joyous or challenging experience I have had with my boy, thus far, in this beginning first month. The thought of the sweetness, the innocence, the innate struggle to survive I see in my boy, for that to be taken away by my own hand is utterly upsetting.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
at 4:04 AM Posted by LicensedToILL