Twenty stitches, is that enough?

It was an accident.  Ex had been drinking.

Yesterday afternoon, my phone rang.  It was Ex.  “I have a situation.”

“What has happened? Where are you?”

Ex told me that they had been playing carnival games at the state fair, that my son got too close, and “got a cut above his eye.”  I think that is what one might call lying by omission.

Readers, I said something regrettable.  (Goodbye Zen.)  I called him an incompetent clod. I then asked to speak with the attending physician and with the boys.

From them I pieced together a clearer story.  I learned that Ex was impressing the boys with his superior strength on a high striker carnival game, the one where you try to ring a bell at the top.  (After beers over lunch.)  He lifted the heavy mallet over his head and didn’t look to see where the children were.  The result:  a deep four centimeter gash requiring twenty stitches in four layers above my youngest son’s right eyebrow.  We count ourselves fortunate that Ex missed the eye and that there appears to be no brain injury.

My friend and I arrived at the hospital half-way across the state two hours later.  I was shown to the room where we spent the next three and a half hours as my son’s wound was numbed, cleaned, numbed again, and meticulously stitched.  Ex was also in the room for much of this, gushing affection and comfort, and appearing every bit a concerned father. I said nothing.  I was impeccably polite.  The hysterical boy was restrained, then sedated.  He clung to me and cried.

The injured child left the hospital in my care, while my other son returned with Ex.  I had spoken with my attorney en route to the hospital who advised “imminent harm” as the standard by which I could take the both boys and leave.  Is this imminent harm?  Is twenty stitches enough?  Listening to my son whimpering in his sleep before the Tylenol kicked in, I was thinking ‘yes.’

The worst part?  My eight-year-old son will now bear the scar of his father’s alcoholism on his own face forever.

7 comments to Twenty stitches, is that enough?

  • Janna Robin

    Honey, I'm so sorry! Wish I could be there to help. Having a bit of a trying summer ourselves over here in IG. Kiss our beautiful, sweet, gentle-souled genius for us and tell him we are sending good thoughts and all our love to him and his siblings.

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  • MsMarchPixie

    OMG, that is so sad…I'm glad he is home SAFE with you! Thank GOD there is no brain-damage, and 20 stitches, (DAMN!) is WAY more than enough, I wish your other son went home with you. HUGS

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  • Twenty stitches is more than enough – by twenty stitches!

    This sounds like the stuff of my worst night-mares, I am so sorry it had to be your day-mares!!

    I pray you all have a smooth trip home, and a restorative end of summer!

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  • Tom Hunter

    Seething is putting it mildly.

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  • FrustratedStepmom

    Playing Devil's Advocate for a minute…

    - It very well could have been an honest accident. I was at the fair on the weekend and know EXACTLY where that game is – my son was on the helicopters next to it. It is a VERY small area.

    - It isn't unheard of (or even uncommon) to have a couple beers while at the fair. I think it's about as common as the lemonade unfortunately.

    - As far as them being alone the other day, the kids are legally old enough to be alone (Iowa has no law stating the minimum age they can be alone), and he was right downstairs – he wasn't miles away or even across the street.

    NOW…All that being said…

    I think it was a VERY poor choice to leave them alone when he had specifically promised not to. I also think it was a VERY poor choice to have ANY beers at the fair when he knows that his drinking is one of the central issues you have with his caring for the kids. I do believe, though, that your son getting hit was an honest-to-goodness the-game-area-is-set-up-REALLY-badly mistake. :(

    I hope your little guy is healing well. Mine got a gash like that over his eye when he was 1 (he fell in the tub when grandpa didn't make him sit down…GRR!) but it healed up great and you can't even see it now.

    **hugs** to you. I would feel exactly the way you do if my ex had visitation with my son. I have been thinking about my response for you since yesterday morning. I really tried to put myself in your shoes.

    One week down. One to go. Hang in there.

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  • Tom Hunter

    If this is his rare time to be with his children then why did he spend even one fucking second away from them?

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  • loldolls

    I just want to say that you and the boys are in my thoughts and I hope you all can get through the rest of your time with less stress and injury.

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