Blood. Copious amounts of it. Red, red, freely flowing blood. Did I mention the copious amounts? It wouldn’t really stop either. That’s what usually happens with superficial wounds. The more superficial the wound, the later it is at night, the more tired you are, and the more freaked out the person with the wound is…the harder to deal with the mess, the treatment, and the situation.
Let me state, quite unequivocally, that J is fine…ish. That is: J is fine, but he has an injury, albeit a superficial one, on his hand. That the injury was caused by the band-aidshe wears in spite of not having any wound is…well…I’ll let you savor and roll that one around of a while.
This is what happened:
Our son, he of the ASD persuasion, has been insisting -as has been amply documented- on wearing band-aids as comfort items for a while now. At one point his band-aid habit was anywhere from 77 to 104 band-aids a day. That is a lot of bandage adhesive on skin for no good reason, my friends. That skin becomes more fragile over time for every human being is a fact; that J has forced his skin into being even more fragile than it should be at his age is a sad reality.
Yes, we need to wean him off the bandages. We know this. We are, however, picking our battles at this point, and a reduction in the amount of bandages used per day seems a reasonable step at this time. We are now at, on a really good day, 22 to 26 bandages a day, but on a bad day we can go up to 36 to 39.
Moisturizing is important. J is partial to Nivea cream. Cleanliness is important, too. Proper circulation is key, but we know that the use of the wrist brace (which J wants nice and super-snug…think Bee Gees pants circa 1977) is an issue. As I said, conditions are improving but we are still on the “when will this go back to no band-aids until bedtime?” stage of our confusion and desperation.
And that is how we come to last night. And the blood. And the copious amounts of blood. If you’ve never heard Joan Sutherland singing the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata…specifically Sempre libera you cannot visualize the flow of blood.
No sooner had I removed the band-aids that a quarter-size piece of skin came off. And then I heard Joan Sutherland…cascading, flowing…why I thought of something that joyous when I saw the blood (lots of it) is beyond me. Maybe because my dad always used to talk about how her voice flowed so flawlessly, unstoppable, soaring… J, of course, screamed. I am sure it hurt when the skin came off (and superficial things tend to hurt like crazy,) and I’m sure the blood freaked him out.
I was in the zone. Prompt, focused, determined. Dada was my assistant. Back and forth to the closet where the first-aid stuff is, and holding down gauze and J as I thought of more things I needed.
How could there be that much blood, you ask yourself. It was nearly 11 PM. The room was in half-light (J wanted it that way,) and I couldn’t get J to raise his hand above his heart. He wanted, of course, to hit himself. It took about ten minutes, but I finished dressing the wound, and -in another ten minutes- I had convinced J that there was no way he was wearing his wrist brace, and there was no way that I was going to stand for him hitting himself to get the brace back. Nope. No way. Non-negotiable.
I explained that the skin would keep coming off if he didn’t follow my instructions, and then we’d have a serious issue in our hands. I used the word DOCTOR, and I said that Dada would have to stay home to take him to get checked. A few deep breaths later (J’s, Dada’s, mine) and we were all calm and ready for Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I knew J was feeling better (and calmer) because he asked me to leave the room for story time. While that was happening in J’s room, I went to check online that I’d done the right thing to address J’s injury.
Once Mike Mulligan was done, I went back in, kissed the walking wounded, and went to bed to read a while. The thing about having children (a thing people mention but doesn’t quite sink in until you’re in the thick of it) is that you will never sleep like your normal, young, childless self ever again. Even when they’re adults, you will have the ability to wake up at the slightest sound…I was ready to be vigilant all night of J removing his bandage. I didn’t want to wake up after a worry-less night to find that he was in distress, his blankets bloody, and his anxiety at an all-time high. I was awake when J marched into our room, at around midnight, to check Dada’s closet.
The checking of Dada’s closet is a nightly ritual. Sometimes J is satisfied looking at the open door of the closet and seeing Dada’s clothes laid out for the next day. Last night, in an attempt to mollify J while I tended to his wound, Dada rushed to his closet and hung the first shirt he could find, coming back to help me almost immediately. Of course, J had walked out of his room, hand bloodied, and peeked at the door. He returned, it seemed at the time, satisfied. By midnight his mind had put two-and-two together: the shirt was not one Dada would wear to work, and there had been no pants hanging there…he came to correct this error. Out came a nice shirt and a pair of trousers, and off he went to his room.
This morning he was up at five, bandage still on, and telling us to get coffee and Dada to leave for work. I put a timer on for him, and then returned to check his hand. The wound is an angry-looking thing, but he allowed me to clean it, and he allowed it to dry before I dressed it again.
I’m sure it will be a day of negotiation, appeasing him, helping him relax, calming his anxiety, but…at least it’s something we can address from the physiological and emotional standpoint.
And we’ve been able to reason with him…with next to no SIB.
I call that progress, no?