January 10, 2006

Open Mic Night at the ER

Yah, our boy is Gifted…

Last night our son made a whole series of brilliant decisions, which ended in our lovely stay in the Emergency Room until the wee small hours of the morning.

Being the King of Drama, he of course used the opportunity to make an Audience of the ER staff, and had them In Stitches.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist… I’m really, really tired)

So here’s the story:


Setting: Quiet early evening in small urban household. The parents are happily settled in to watch television, the Teen of Doom is playing a Green Day cd in his room. The parents are tuning this out. They frankly would rather not listen to what is going on in the teenager's room. Innocent fools...


Against my repeated orders to the contrary, the Vampire swings his ‘quarterstaff’ (long pole) around in his tiny bedroom, practicing his moves. In case you are keeping track, this is Brilliant Move #1.

In the process, he shatters the fixture and light bulb on his bedroom ceiling.

It is night, and he has no other light source in his tiny room, so it is dark and he can’t see.

Undeterred by this circumstance, he decides to ‘save Mom and Dad the trouble’ (gee, thanks) by replacing the bulb himself. In the dark. So that he can’t see details.

Details such as that there are still shards of glass attached to the remains of the bulb that is still lodged in the socket.

He decides that a sock around his hand is the sole appropriate safety tool for the job.

He doesn’t think to turn off the wall switch. His parents are grateful that they didn’t have to take a Fried Child to the ER.

He stands DIRECTLY UNDER the fixture during his attempt to get the remainder of the bulb out of the socket.

The Vampire does not wear glasses.

You can guess the next part.

He comes out to the living room, RUBBING HIS EYE (hard!) and complaining that ‘something’ is in it. At this point we are innocently unaware that anything has happened in his room. I casually order him to the bathroom, which has a handy bright light source. I assume we are complaining about a speck of dust, or perhaps an allergic reaction of some sort.

I see A PIECE OF GLASS lodged in the white of his eye.

I get an edited version of the story from the Light of My Life. Since the Pirate’s eye condition means that we have lots of Saline Solution laying about the house, it occurs to us to flush the Vampire's eye with it. The glass remains stubbornly in place.

Consultation calls ensue… insurance company, admit nurses to urgent care and the Children’s Hospital. It is decided that it would be safest, although of course much more expensive, if the Vampire were brought to the ER.

We leave for the ER.

Partway there the Vampire thoughtfully murmurs, “Maybe I shouldn’t have left that message for (Vampire's devoted girlfriend).”

A bit of detective work reveals that somehow he had time to privately leave the following message on his girlfriend’s phone, no doubt in tragically fading tones:

“I won’t be able to talk to you later, love, I have to go to the Emergency Room. (click).”

Yes, he knows how to milk a Dramatic Moment when it arises.

We arrive at the ER, where the admittance nurse foolishly asks the Vampire what is wrong. Version #2 of the story is given… this one takes about 2 minutes, and is mildly amusing (“I’m Gifted”). He gets a chuckle. Unfortunately.

We are sent to the waiting room, where I argue with the Vampire for several minutes about calling his lady love and giving her a less dire picture of what is going on. He’d rather wait indefinitely until we know exactly what the prognosis is. I win this argument, and he calls the poor girl… who in her concern upon hearing his message, has left several panicked messages by phone and email addressed to myself. She has also called the Vampire’s doting grandparents.

She lets the Vampire know in no uncertain terms her opinion of people who leave cryptic terrifying messages on answering machines.

I call the aforementioned Panicked Doting Grandparents, and promise to call again with updates.

3 Emergency Victims Staff call us for a more detailed account of the Vampire’s tale of woe. The Vampire, having now assessed the room, recounts Version #3 of his Tale of Disaster. It has grown to a 5 minute monologue. All three suckers laugh heartily, one actually almost falling off his chair. The Vampire, unfortunately, is encouraged.

We wait some more.

We are called to an office, where we talk to their billing/accounting people. There are three. Version #4 has grown to a 10-minute One Act Play, which I try to squash a few times, to no avail. Mild laughter, some looks of puzzlement, one uneasy glance at me. They may be under the impression that the child has been dosed with something. They are partially correct. The Vampire is Drunk With Power.

More waiting.

We are called to an examination room. Three different techs show up individually to question us; all three carry clipboards, but suspiciously, only the first one writes anything down. Version #4 is repeated three times, with some extra embroidering.

More waiting, this time for more than an hour. The Vampire has lost his audience, and he is bored. He makes himself comfortable on the exam table (the Vampire’s compliments to Children’s Hospitals, and gives their exam tables a 5-star rating), and entertains himself by playing an electronic game. He holds it above his head, so as to position his eyes in such a way that the glass embedded in his eye does not irritate his lower eyelid. The Vampire complains that this position significantly impedes his gameplay.

The Doctor comes in, and asks the Vampire what happened. The Vampire, who has been waiting for this moment, draws a deep breath, chuckles in anticipation, and launches into Version #5. Three minutes later we haven’t gotten past the description of his ‘quarter staff’ and the size of his room. I interrupt, and give the doctor the 30-second version of the entire tale.

The exam ensues, during which time it is discovered that the Vampire actually has multiple shards of glass in his eye.

I will not detail the treatment, except to say that the Vampire thought that the part with the fluorescein and blacklight thing was really cool, and thought it a shame that he couldn’t use it as a special effect for a movie… and that when the treatment for abstracting the glass from his eye began, much dramatic whining ensued. If you can imagine that one voice could do a creditable job of imitating Gollum’s cry of “… it BURNS”, and follow it up by a lengthy surreal improvisational version of Darth Vader moaning about his eye being frozen, you have an approximate idea of the performance.

The doctor congratulates the Pirate and I on our initial home treatment; luckily we had flushed his eye with lots of saline, so the glass had mostly been ‘swimming’ in the edges and corners of his eye, instead of scraping around over his pupil. His lens is okay, although he has lacerations and scrapes on his cornea and a ‘flap’ where that larger piece of glass had lodged. To the Vampires combined relief and disappointment, he needs no further treatment, other than antibiotic ointment to be applied to his eye. I’m sure that it will be fun to be his Captive Audience for that.

And he has to wear an eye patch at night. Yo ho ho...

The Vampire’s grandfather has offered to corral us a Parrot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was hilarious! :D
And truly horrible! :D
Every parent's nightmare.
Their only son electrocuted!
Vampire, did your hair stand on end like Yugioh? :D
I can just imagine the dimensions this story will take on by the time he's 75...
Actually, this sounds like something my boy would do, he's one of those "Dances with Weapons" kids, too (recall the ninja star and the wild pig incident before Yule).
Yesterday he ran outside after his shower, didn't put clothes on, and went cavorting ceremonially or ritually with a pike or pole or something in the bush.

11:17 AM  
Blogger mE said...

Somehow he managed not to get electrocuted - I think he managed to get glass in his eye before he got his hand well and truly into that socket.

We count our blessings.

Loved the image I got of your darling Communing With Nature... although it sounds like the shower ended up being rather pointless. :D

11:39 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Dang, I guess you were #3... Glad things weren't worse.

Did he learn anything from this little misadventure????

11:47 AM  
Blogger mE said...

Chris- Yes, he did. He learned that his girlfriend is scarier than he previously thought.


12:01 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Heh. Well, that's a good lesson. Maybe not the obvious one from the experience, but a good lesson.

3:36 PM  
Blogger mE said...

Chris- He may have learned other ones, as well, but it will take a while to figure out what they were. He may have learned to study a situation for potential pitfalls before plunging in... or he may have learned that ER's are great places to gain an appreciative audience... or he may have learned to leave broken lightbulbs in the socket and just walk around in the dark for the rest of his life. We'll see!

Now the pixie is criticizing my choice in computer: gmacpbum

10:46 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

LMAO. You are a riot! God, that story had me chuckling behind my monitor at work and simultaneously clutching my eye in empathy. How's that for a mental image? I'm glad he's OK at least.

8:14 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

This was the laugh I needed today. The parrot reference at the end slayed me.

Glad the Vampire is okay and still has full vision.

11:19 AM  
Blogger mE said...

Tink & Katherine~ Thanks for the encouragement! I'm going to end up being just as much of a Dramatic Glory Hog as my son, at this rate...

And thanks for the good wishes, too. So far, so good!

4:43 PM  
Blogger mE said...

The pixie is not a fan of the rules of English spelling - 'zqaje'. A Q with no U after it... tsk!

4:44 PM  

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