Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Too Much to Think About, Part II

Listening to: At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command

This is a long and convoluted story which all begins with my two-year old son, Zeke. Like all trauma, I remember everything clearly, vividly, lucidly. It was a very frigid day in late November. I was living in my brother and sister and law's basement at the time and had the kids over for the day. We were alone in the house; the previous day I had given my brother several hundred dollars to help him with bills and he and his wife were out at the malls spending that money on Christmas for themselves.

Late in the afternoon, I was laid out on the couch while Marni slept, snuggled in my arms. Suddenly I heard Lilly shriek with terror, "Boodreau bit Zeke! Boodreau bit Zeke!" Initially, it didn't alarm me much since Lilly is a little prone to freaking out, so I wasn't overly concerned as I went to check things out, especially since I didn't hear Zeke screaming or crying. I figured the dog had merely snapped at him. Afterall, he was only 15-months old and prone to being a little rough with animals.

What I found was my little boy in shock, literally covered in his own blood, his blood covering the kitchen floor. Immediately, I called 911.

Lilly reported later that Zeke had been playing in the dog's water dish when the wretched cur bit Zeke's face, twice, full maw almost engulfing Zeke's head.

When the EMT's arrived, they cut off Zeke's blood-soaked shirt and grabbed a blanket off the couch to bundle him in his car-seat for the ride to the ER. They took him while I waited for the Police and Animal Control. The level of injury warranted a summons and, according to the Animal Control officers, certain destruction of the dog.

Frantically, futilely, trying to call someone in my family to help out (I didn't want to be in the ER with 2 and 5-year old girls in tow), my anger grew in proportion to my anxiety and fear regarding Zeke's predicament. My brother was nowhere to be found, busy pissing away money I had given him for bills and now that I desperately needed help with my girls, due to his damn dog, he was ignoring my calls.

On an ER bed, whimpering but numb from the anesthesia, Zeke was covered in white towels dappled burgundy with his blood. The nurse put a hospital blanket on my shoulder so I could hold my poor little boy while we waited for the surgeons to arrive. Zeke curled up in my arms and then shifted his head off the blanket to my free shoulder, staining the left shoulder of my blue jean jacket with his blood, a spot that remains there today.

The hospital liaison took the girls while I watched the surgeons work. The lead doctor called me over and pointed at a cut barely a centimeter from Zeke's carotid artery. He put his finger tip on the span from the edge of the cut to the artery and measured the distance with his thumb, "He's a very lucky little boy," he said, grimly.

Watching every stitch - well over 100 stitches was my count - I was there for every moment as the doctors sewed my little boy's face back together. The procedure took almost three hours. Several lacerations had been as wide as my pinky finger and part of Zeke's upper lip was torn away (the surgeon was proud that he'd been able to reconstruct the tear along the lip line). Thankfully the doctor was skillful but the prognosis was that Zeke would carry his scars into adulthood. If any plastic surgery could be done, it wouldn't happen until after Zeke was fully grown.


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