911 — If You Dial It, They Will Come

This post originally appeared on The Parenting Post on August 13, 2006.

I offer this wisdom up to ye of the Internet as a warning and a safeguard against wasted tax dollars and, even more importantly, total personal humiliation.

If something embarrassing happens to me, I have the ability to step back and say, “Hey. It’s not so bad. At least I’ll have something to blog about tomorrow.” When the following story happened several months ago, I was unable to say that. I swore I would never blog this, but time heals all wounds, so here goes:

As Laylee was heading out of the bathroom following her nightly tubby time, I turned off the light and shut the door behind her. As usual, I did not shut my mouth. I was blabbering on and on to Dan about some scintillating detail of my day and he was paying attention, not a bit.

Me: Blah blah and then I said, “If she’s gonna wear green lederhosen to MY playgroup, then she’s just gonna have to handle the — ”

Dan: Laylee!
Me: I know. She’s right there. Anyway —
Dan: Her fingers!
Me: What about them?

You see, Dan was too concerned about the fact that I had slammed Laylee’s fingers in the door hinge and was holding it closed to care about my excessively diverting story. Laylee was too busy administering the silent scream to actually make a noise out loud.

I looked down at her beet-red face. I looked at the door. Something started to register. Uh, I should probably do something. What was it? Ah yes, open the doooooor.

When we pulled her fingers from the hinge, one little knuckle was smooshed flat. The silent scream suddenly became less silent and Dan and I did something we’ve never done before. We both came unglued simultaneously. Not good.

In our angst, we decided to dial 9-1-1. Yeees! They’re EMTs, the knowers of all knowledge. They can tell us whether to take her in to the ER or not…if they can hear us. The silent scream was becoming less and less silent by the minute.

So I did the honors. William Shatner and his crazily beshadowed Rescue 9-1-1 eyebrows had taught me exactly what to do.

EMT: 9-1-1. Can I get your address please?
Me: 555 Daring Cross Road, Small Town Seattle
EMT: What’s your emergency?
Me: Well, I’m not sure it’s an emergency. We wanted to call and ask you. My daughter slammed her fingers in the door and one of them looks kind of smooshed.
EMT: A unit has been deployed.
Me: NO. Seriously? Oh, my gosh. Please call them back. We were just calling to ask your advice.
EMT: The unit is on their way.
Me: For real. It’s not that bad. Please don’t send a unit.
EMT: You called 9-1-1. We need to deploy.
Me: Please don’t let them turn their sirens on.
EMT: Have a good night.

Oh, crap! A few minutes went by, during which Dan got Laylee calmed down and her miraculous spongey kid finger started to re-inflate. It was beginning to look slightly pink and a little swollen and Dan was holding it over her head while she whimpered softly.

BAM! CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP. They knocked once and marched right in like it was an emergency or something, two EMTs and a firewoman.

After assessing the situation with coy smiles back and forth, one suggested that he guessed he could make a splint. He’d just need to go out to “the rig” and get some tongue depressors.

Yes, he really said “the rig.”

I told him not to trouble with said “rig” because I had popsicle sticks in the craft drawer he could use. A splint was made. They were delightful visitors and Laylee had the grandest time meeting all of them and thus putting off her bedtime.

As they left, I asked if they needed our insurance information and the largish man in the gigantic boots and plastic yellow pants winked and said, “No charge.”

Moral of the story — if you squish your kid’s finger, toe or other minor appendage, no blood is showing, and their heart is still beating in their chest, call the nurse’s hotline at your pediatrician, but leave Bill Shatner and his posse alone. They have serious work to do and they WILL deploy a rig on you.

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