Well, since my emergency post from last time seems to be a success, I decided I’d tell you about another emergency I had to deal with once. Not life threatening, thank goodness… But it was adrenaline inducing nonetheless for me. I am fairly certain I haven’t written about it here before.
Many, many moons ago (approximately 132 moons… Errr… 11ish years ago) I worked at a daycare. I had started in the preschool room and then graduated to the school age gym once my kiddos themselves graduated up to Kindergarten. The director thought it would make for an easier transition for them that way.
It was nearing the end of Summer when Nathan** came back from holidays and started Daycare again. It was his first day in the school age building the day this incident happened.
I was working lunchtime rotations that afternoon – The big kids had started school, but the Kindergarteners didn’t start for another couple of weeks, so I left the school age area to cover the ladies that worked in the toddler and infant rooms the next building over.
After awhile I received a call on my cellphone from the lead-girl (the one with the most seniority) asking me to come get Nathan and bring him over with me. She sounded annoyed and said he just keeps crying and thinks it’s because he didn’t know any of the ladies over there really. He did well with me so I should get him and see if he’d calm down with me.
I told my room partner what I was doing and went over to see what was going on.
I walked into the building and heard a child screaming like there was a bloody murder happening. The lead girl rolled her eyes and pointed to where he was and another new girl who hadn’t finished training yet shrugged her shoulders.
I ran into the room where Nathan was… He was laying on the couch, screaming and crying in obvious pain.
“What the hell?!” I yelled as I rushed to his side. “What happened?!”
The new girl explained they had been outside, she called everyone to head inside and Nathan jumped off the tire swing and then started screaming. The lead girl told her he probably just didn’t want to come inside. He was just being dramatic.
“Nathan NEVER screams like this!!” I exclaimed, “can you people not tell the difference between faking and real pain?! Has anyone checked him out?”
I got a no, and an assurance that he was just making a nuisance of himself. I asked how long he had been screaming like that…. “Oh, about 20 or 30 minutes,” was the response.
“Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?! If he was faking you don’t think he would have given up or slowed down by now?” I shook my head in disbelief and turned my attention back to him.
I started to assess the six year old, speaking in a soothing voice and asking him questions. I touched the bottom of his shoe lightly and he screamed in fresh pain.
I said “Nathan, I think your leg might be broken. I need to take your shoe off. It’s going to hurt, but I’m going to be as careful as I can. Can you be brave for me, Nathan?”
He nodded, tears still streaming down his face… But he had stopped screaming at least.
I took of his shoe and asked him to wiggle his toes. “Are you wiggling them, Nathan?”
He whimpered out a yes, but his toes weren’t moving.
“Try one more time for me,” I said. His toes still didn’t move.
I looked up and announced to the staff that his leg was broken, I was pretty sure. The new girl looked shocked and asked “But wouldn’t we be able to see the bone sticking out if it was broken?”
“No, there are many types of broken bones… Not all come through the skin,” I said to her. “You haven’t had your first aid class yet, have you?”
She shook her head no. In the meantime the “lead” girl ran over to Nathan and started to dote on him and tell him urgently to squeeze her hand when it hurt. He was clearly uncomfortable with her sudden intrusion.
I turned to her with thinly veiled anger “Leave. Him. Alone. You’ve done enough.”
I called the owner who was in the next building and told her of Nathan’s injuries. She told me to bring him to the office if I could while she called his mom.
I spoke to Nathan softly and told him what we were doing. He nodded. He trusted me. I gathered him up in my arms, very carefully and carried him to a bench outside the office; holding my head close to his assuring him that he would be alright, over and over. I laid him down gently and sat with him until his mother came to take him to the hospital.
When the director came back from her lunch break, she had gotten a quick rundown from the other girls that there had been an accident. When I got back over there I was full of rage.
I pulled her into the storage closet so I could spill out the rage and tell her exactly what happened. I didn’t blame the new girl at all. She was taking her queues from senior staff who had had first aid courses over and over again… But that lead girl… I was about to strangle her.
“So what would have happened if I wasn’t on the premises?? She would have just left him to scream?? That was NOT OKAY! NOT. OKAY!” I yelled, not caring at that point if I was heard on the other side of the door.
Nathan was in a full leg cast and had to use a wheelchair for six weeks due to his compound fracture in his upper leg. What a way to start Kindergarten…
**Nathan’s name has been changed