Corpsman Up!!!!

March 28, 2009

Here’s a fact- little boys get hurt.  I know this because I was once a little boy and I have all of the cool scars to prove it.  Most of my childhood injuries were a result of doing stupid things- they didn’t seem stupid at the time but then again I was the kid who believed new tennis shoes made you run faster and if outfitted in the right pair of under-roos I could achieve flight- I guess stupid is relative.

But this post isn’t about preventing my kids from doing stupid things. I don’t dedicate myself to impossible causes there are too many cards stacked against me- they’re boys, they’re high energy and most importantly they crawled to shore from the Groah family gene pool.  Every male in my family tree has been pieced back together more than once- it’s highly probable that my boys will be no different. 

Some of you may think that I’m being fatalistic but truth be told injuries are a fact of life when you’re a Groah-man.  The flip-side of that is Groah-men down play the extent of their injuries to avoid going to the hospital for emergency care.  So if you’re unfortunate enough to be a Groah-woman you have to be extremely vigilant for the tell tale signs of catastrophic injury.  When I was growing up you knew my Dad was in trouble when he yelled for you to bring him a role of paper towels and a beer.  When this request was levied my Mom would immediately run to the scene to render aid- which my father would most likely refuse.  For instance, I once saw my Dad care for two completely mangled fingers with 6-paper towels and a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbons.  He continued to work on my sisters ’76 Thunderbird (with a claw hammer) even though his hand looked as if it fell into a taffy puller.  You heard me correctly he was working on her car with a claw hammer- but as stated I’m not here to prevent stupid things from happening- my focus is on what to do after the injury has occurred.

My boy’s inherited the Groah family curse and get injured frequently enough to assure me that yes they are my sons.  They haven’t quite developed the injury denile mechanism yet so they don’t feel compelled to mask the extent of their wounds- but I am sure with time that facet of our DNA will blossom as well.  

Now, since I grew up in an enviroment where injuries were common place- combined with the nature of my current profession- I’ve earned the title of resident paramedic.  I don’t think many injuries happened in Connie’s childhood home, they were all to busy studying, playing varsity sports and prepping for college.  So I’m the man when the call for “MEDIC UP!” is sounded.  Here is some advice if you too have been given this prestigious position within your family.  I’ll use last Friday night to help illustrate my points.

The alarm was sounded at 1900 hours (7 pm for you civilian folks).  Mack ran up from the basement with a look of terror on his face and announced “Dad, Cayden’s hurt really bad”.  This is never a good sign.  If the injury is benign Mack doesn’t bother to tell us- he normally cares for his brother on his own.  Granted Macks medical repertoire is mostly comprised of repeated pleas “to be quiet so Mom and Dad don’t punish us”- but Friday night went beyond his medical training so he sought out my services.  I rushed down the basement stairs to survey the damage.  On my way down I listened to the pitch of  Cayden’s screams.  I can tell the difference between tears of anger, frustration, hurt feelings, fear and ER worthy injuries.  By the time I made it down the stairs I knew he was truly hurt.  I got to his side.  Cay was laying on the floor holding the back of his head and I could tell by the amount of blood that he would be needing some stitches. At this point the best thing I could do is calm him down.  So I spoke to him softly and asked him about where it hurt and what happened.  “Well Dad, take a look at where the blood is gushing out of my scalp- that’s a good place to start ass-wipe”.  He didn’t really say that, but judging by the moment of lucidity that I witnessed after I posed the question he was definitely thinking it.  Point being, the last thing my boys need when they’re scared is for me to lose my composure- to do so would send them into utter panic.  I scooped him up and rushed him to the kitchen.  Connie was standing by, with a wash cloth and an ice pack.   I cleaned the area around the cut and continued to talk to Cayden.  At this stage in the care giving process I’ll throw in some jokes to see if I can get the victim to smile- if I can get them to giggle I know that it’s mostly fear causing the tears and not the injury itself.  Within moments Cayden was laughing and asking for his Nintendo.  That’s a good sign.

Some other hints, try to keep them from looking at the blood flow, lots of blood scares the shit out of them so keep it mopped up as best as possible.  It’s also helpful to keep their siblings from offering commentary as you tend the wound.  Mack, likes to say things like “Holy Cow!  Look at all that blood- Dad is Cayden dieing?” this of course sends Cayden’s anxiety level through the roof and all the work I did to calm his ass down is now out the window. 

As I triaged the wound Connie went to retrieve our meager stock of medical supplies.  I asked her for gause and a bandage to hold it in place for the trip to the ER.  She produced the gause but no joy on the bandage.  I had to improvise so I asked Connie for an old pair of pantie hoes- strange look, but she ran to get me a pair.  When she returned I had her cut off one of the legs.  I placed the gauze on the wound and then slid the pantie hoe over Cayden’s head to hold it in place.  This worked extremely well- so if you don’t have an Ace Bandage handy keep it in mind.  Cayden was pleased with the head gear- he said it made him look like a ninja, especially when he pulled it down to his lips.

Wound tended, I broke the news to Cayden that we would have to go to the hospital- instant fear.  First question, “am I getting shots?”.  Always answer “NO” to this question- even if you know you’re seven years behind on the kid’s immunizations and it’s likely that they are going to get every shot in the inventory.  If you tell your kids that shots are even a remote possibility you’ll add an additional 30 minutes to your hospital commute- all of which will be spent begging and pleading for them to get in the car.  In  cases involving emergency care little white lies are sometimes necessary.

So I managed to get the boys to the ER.  Mack wanted to go with to provide moral support and I didn’t have the heart to tell him no.  So the three Groah men hung out at the emergency room watching Sponge Bob Square Pants from the comfort of an automated hospital gurney for the remainder of our exciting Friday evening.  I wonder how many generations of Groah’s have done the exact same thing over the years?  My guess is I am not the first.

BTW- Cayden toughed out the three stitches like a true hard-ass.  Not a single tear while the sewed him back up- the kid is John Wayne incarnate, I’m so proud.

One last bit of  advice.  Purchase a nice sharp pair of cuticle scissors and a good pair of tweezers and keep them with your medical stuff.  It’s a lot more convenient to pluck the stitches out yourself than having to sit in a waiting room for hours to have your doctor do it.  I’m Hella proficient at this- must be all the practice I get.

Final note- In the time it took me to write this post Mack had his own accident requiring ER care, I’ll blog about that later- pretty funny stuff- no stitches this time they used glue.

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Joe posted the following on April 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm.

You have a great dad blog/ blog here Shane. You should totally promote it at This thing needs a bigger audience–very funny stuff man and a cool design. ~ Joe

admin posted the following on April 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm.

Joe thanks for the comment and the invite, I jumped right into your friday father blog-a-thon, You’re going to have to forgive my lack of blogging etiquette I’m still learning. I’ll definatley join your ranks- looking forward to it.

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