We all make choices for our kids. We try and make the right ones. Sometimes the choices work out okay. Sometimes they suck. I am just back from the emergency room because of a few choices I made. I am sad and upset.
We went away to Woodloch Pines this past weekend. We had been looking forward to it for a while. A vacation with some of our closest friends and their kids. We almost didn’t make it because of a huge snowstorm, but we finally got up there. We had a nice weekend until the last hours of the last day. There was a petting zoo. Little Girl, who is animal-crazy, got to ride a pony, see some cute bunnies, and pet a goat. With horns. She was just standing there when the goat head-butted her in the cheek. She instantly started crying. Little Girl has my tolerance for pain. The kid can take tumbles that would make even the most stoic kid cry and not say a word, so the fact that she was crying made me realize how bad it was. The goat got her cheek, thank goodness, instead of her eye. He hit her hard enough to make a small scrape. Woodloch’s EMT checked her out. She checked her for signs of a concussion. Then she washed the area on her cheek, put antibiotic cream on it, and bandaged her up. A little while later, Little Girl went back to her usual cheery self.
When we got home, however, Little Girl refused to go to sleep. She kept crying and screaming. We must have gone in about a dozen times between 8 and 11 p.m. I got nervous thinking “head injury” and called my pediatrician. She called me right back. She wasn’t worried about the not sleeping thing. She was probably just upset to be in her crib and alone when she had been in a pack-and-play with Big Girl in the bed to her right and Mommy and Daddy in the bed to her left. She was, however, worried about tetanus. Little Girl hasn’t had that shot. She was going to call me back, she said, after consulting with an infectious disease specialist. She did. She had some bad news. Little Girl would need a shot of tetanus antibodies — human antibodies to the disease. One of the main causes of tetanus is animal feces. The sheep, no doubt, had been rubbing his head in the dirt, which probably contained a little animal poop.
So today we spent five hours in the pediatric E.R. trying to figure out if we would go with medical advice or go with our guts, which said it was overkill. We felt pretty good after the attending physician said she thought it was overkill. But then she spoke to that same infectious diseases guy who said that we were both wrong. She needed that injection, and she needed it quickly, he said.
We had to decide, so I asked a lot of questions. I even got the drug insert that came with the injectible. I read it several times. (“This contains no preservatives.”) My husband read it. We agonized over the decision. In the end she got the prescribed treatment. She didn’t say a peep when they gave her the shot in her upper arm. She was actually jazzed that she got a bandage. And now we’re home.
I question three of my decisions after this happened. First, my vaccination stance. Second, the bright idea to take her to see the animals. And third, the decision to give her the antibodies shot. I don’t know if I made all the right choices. I only know I made the choices that I did based on the information I had at my disposal. I do know that we will be avoiding petting zoos from now on. Stupid sheep.