Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Alysons big owie

A tragic story. It happened Saturday morning, I had already had a shower and Alyson and I had some breakfast and it was moms turn to take a shower. and what better way to kill some time than to go ride the skateboard. Since Alyson's introduction to the skateboard it has been a source of laughter and happiness, that is until Saturday. Aly knows where we keep the skateboard and every time she sees the garage door open she does her best to get to the skateboard. There is no putting her into the car without a quick ride on the board. and also when we get home, a short go on the board before we go into the house. She is becoming quite the little athlete going from laying on her tummy to sitting up on the board, sometimes while in motion. Because the street isn't very steep she sometimes gets stuck and it used to be that I would have to run up and give her a little push to get her going but recently she has learned to roll her hand on the top of the front wheel to get it going saving me about about 9 paces. I think what happened is once she has learned to make the skateboard go by rolling the wheels she decided that she might be able to make it go faster or slower in the same fashion. Her fascination with the wheels has been a concern for us, worried that she might get her little fingers run over by one of the wheels or get some scratches from the ground. She doesn't get up to any great speeds so the possible injuries we could conjure up in our imaginations weren't too gruesome and she is pretty cautious on the board as well. But then the unthinkable happened. There we were, outside on a clear sunny morning, letting Mom enjoy an uninterrupted shower. The birds were singing and there was a gentle breeze from the north and everything was perfect when I rolled Alyson up the street like I had done so many times that morning. As she started to slow reaching the height of her ascent my phone rang and I answered it. Alyson got stuck and as I started towards her to give her a push she did her wheel trick and started slowly rolling towards me. Natalee was on the phone asking about digital camera memory and I noticed Alyson reaching for the wheel. She was picking up a little speed and I cringed at the thought of her hand getting run over by the wheel and I started towards her. As the distance between us grew shorter, time seemed to slow and Natalee's questions started droning away into slurred mumbles. I flashed back to my own childhood when I was similarly faced impending disaster, and my blood ran cold. The camera zooms into Alyson's hand slowly starting to grip the left front wheel particularly her ring finger easing around the shoulder of the wheel and disappearing into the center.

I should take a moment to describe the front wheel. Its blue and round and is secured with a metal locking nut to the "trucks" (the front axle type thing) the wheel curves in towards the center where it encases the bearings and the nut holds the wheel in place.

I should also explain that even though Alyson isn't going very fast, the wheels still spin pretty fast around 4 of 5 rotations per second. And when you combine a little weight on the skateboard (Alyson) plus some momentum, say about 1.8 MPH, not quite as fast as you or I would walk, when these elements come together it increases the pressure needed to stop the wheels from spinning.

So anyways, there we are Alyson about to grasp the wheel and Daddy reaching out to stop the skateboard. And Natalee on the phone probably wondering if we lost our connection. And then it happened. All I saw was Aly grab the wheel and then pull her hand sharply away, That was it, I caught the board and let a breath of relief escape my lips. Her hand didn't get run over, in fact I didn't even think that it got that close to the ground at all and then Aly started crying. I thought perhaps the wheel was spinning fast enough that when she put her hand on it the feeling was foreign enough that it just scared her. But there was blood. So I quickly, and I think rather politely considering the situation, concluded the conversation with Natalee and focused my attention to the pulsing, bleeding, flesh wound in front of me.

This is where it gets tricky. Aly doesn't know how to have an injury this being her first. She was flailing her arms, kicking and screaming. I knew that the wound needed to be cleaned and assessed, disinfected and bandaged. hopefully we wouldn't have to amputate. my goal then was to save the finger.

I took Alyson into the kitchen and turned on some cold water just as I was about to put her hand into the water to wash away the blood I noticed that her fingernail was torn and barely connected to the edge of her finger. I couldn't put her hand under running water in that condition so I filled a cup with cold water and submerged her finger rinsing away most of the blood so I could see how bad the wound is. The problem with wounds like this is first, it hurts a lot, but also as soon as you rinse the blood away more blood gets in the way and Aly's finger is so small to begin with, and with that finger nail hanging off like that, any movement in the air caused it to hurt more which made her shake her hand more which made it all the harder to see what I was up against.

It was apparent that the nail had to come off, and the sooner the better. Years of first hand experience with wounds of my own have prepared me for this moment. I knew that right after an injury occurs you body floods adrenaline into your blood stream and for that short period of time you have the opportunity to manipulate the wound before it becomes tender and swollen and severely more painful. So I detached the nail with a quick pull and again submerged her finger in the cold water.

That is when I realized that I would not be able to handle this on my own. I need someone to hold Aly's other hand and keep her still so I can properly clean the wound and bandage it and get her on the road to recovery. So Mom's uninterrupted shower would be interrupted.

The best that we can deduce is that when Aly grabbed the wheel her finger got stuck between the rubber of the wheel and the nut and the pull of the wheel twisted her finger backwards around the nut. The cut starts right about at her first knuckle and the nut tore straight up her finger.

Aly has been handling it like a trooper. She didn't like the peroxide but she does love the backyardagain Band-Aids and the infants cherry flavored pain medicine. The funny thing is once we got her finger all fixed up, she wanted to go ride the skateboard.


Disco Mom said...

Ouch. Painful to read, very painful to see. It was like watching it all happen in slow motion, thanks for the extremely detailed play-by-play. I'm glad she's a trooper and I'm also glad for that tip about the adrenaline. I never thought about it. I'm sure that unfortunately that tidbit will come in handy someday.

kingfoote said...


Thanks so much for your comment. I learned about the adrenaline deal in boy scouts as I was earning my bicycling merit badge. There is a road in Arvada called Ward Rd. appropriately nicknamed "The Wall" about a half mile straight up. The fun part is that the wall is straight down to. That is unless you bite it and slide about a block at 40 MPH on your bare leg. Then your scout master tells you that you have to rub your leg vigorously to get the rocks and sand out of the gaping and bleeding and if you do it right away it won't hurt. but if you wait...