It's been a big month for traumas. Dog bites. ATV crashes. Motor vehicle collisions, which we used to call motor vehicle accidents, until someone somewhere deduced that if we refer to them as collisions, it will somehow make mankind in general be more cautious while driving and our numbers will go down.
One of our trauma nurse practitioners told me yesterday that we have the third busiest pediatric trauma center in the country. I believe it. When our trauma patients are brought to the ER, they're assigned a name like Bob Trauma. We've had so many Bob and Julie and Ted Traumas hanging out that the cafeteria workers thought they were all sibling or cousins.
I was helping another nurse clean a cervical collar on a four-year-old the other day. A cervical collar is that thing you see on someone's neck when they've had an injury. When you're hospitalized, one nurse has to clean your neck and check for skin breakdown every 12 hours while another nurse holds your neck completely still in c-spine to prevent further injury. Doing all of this on a four-year-old who has just had a big, scary accident takes some finesse.
If you've never been surrounded by pediatric nurses, you should know that they never stop talking. Ever. We narrate all of our actions so that the tiny people we're taking care of don't get scared. Sometimes it works. Most times, it doesn't.
So I'm standing over a four-year-old, trying to pull a brace off of his sore neck without scaring or hurting him. And I am grilling him like an FBI agent.
"What's your name? How old are you? How long was your hair before they buzzed it all off? Are you doing okay?"
He's four. He doesn't go to preschool. He likes that he gets to stay home with his mom. His birthday is in June.
"So are you going to have a birthday party?"
"Are you going to go anywhere with your mom?"
"Well, are you at least going to eat some birthday cake?"
"I can't have birthday cake! I got hit by a car!"