How My Family Survived a 3 Wheelchair Night

#1: The Boy

Early in the evening we got a call from our local Kids Night Out program that Reed had crashed into metal bleachers while playing indoor tag. He had a gash on his leg that should be looked at.

Roger and I cut our Date Night short to pick up the kids and their friends, return the friends to their homes, and head to a children’s emergency room.

Reed entered — and later exited — in a wheelchair.


Though in pain, Reed mostly remained his jovial self from the time we retrieved him until the time the doctor said he would need stitches. That declaration broke Reed’s resolve and a full-on panic attack ensued.

holding hands
Reed is comforted by Tessa

First came the numbing gel. Thirty minutes later he was administered nasal versed, which made Reed amusingly loopy (This bed? It’s my best friend!). Finally, he was ready for irrigation and repair.

Roger, allowing his wimpy wife an out, took front-and-center position to hold Reed’s hands and gaze during the procedure.  Our curious Tessa was eager to watch. That left me in the background, avoiding eye contact with all things crimson.

#2: The Girl

The next step in anesthesia involved a long needle, presumably to be administered directly into the wound (I wouldn’t know). Tessa, who likes to observe as people get shots and IVs, fixed her eyes.

And then got light-headed. I was standing next to her and was able to stop her from falling by pressing her toward a wall, guiding her gently to the floor. A nurse helped me get Tessa into what had been, an hour before, Reed’s wheelchair.

The nurse got the two of us situated in the next room. Tessa was given crackers and juice and a wet cloth for her sweaty forehead. We began to breathe together to calm her body down.

And then…from the next room, we heard, “I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE!!”


In a flash and of my own making, I became part of an ER episode, certain that Reed had gone into cardiac arrest just a wall away. I was convinced the doc was calling for a crash cart.

Tessa leapt out of bed and we both bolted into the hallway where several nurses were hustling. I peeked into Reed’s room with a vise around my throat.

I didn’t expect to see what I saw.

#3: The Surprise

In a heap on the floor at the head of my son’s bed were my husband’s legs. He had crumbled to the floor, hitting his head on the same wall that my daughter had slid down 5 minutes previously.

Roger had been holding the hands of Loopy Reed, who kept wanting to “help” the doc with the stitches. Why are my legs allllll the way down theeeeere? — he’d ask and point with his whole arm. Roger was charged with keeping Reed’s hands out of the doctor’s way. Having never been squeamish, Roger watched as the doctor probed her finger deep into the wound — into his son’s muscle — to  fish out any debris.

Loopy Reed helping with his stitches
Loopy Reed reaching for his stitches

That scene, along with the fact that Roger had come down with a cold the day before, was enough to vasovagal  him. Moments later — you guessed it — Roger was occupying the family wheelchair.

With ice on his head and an oxygen mask on his face.

I started to laugh at how comical our calm date night had become. I didn’t know where to focus, how to be present for each of my downed comrades. I checked in first with Reed (still loopy, almost all stitched and bandaged), then with Tessa (over her own spell and now concerned about her dad), then with Roger (my dear sweet man, coming back to us and a bit mystified that this had happened).

I remained upright and eventually was able to drive us all home, starting with Reed’s wheelchair ride to the elevator.

boy in wheelchair

And yes, it has occurred to us that our date nights may be cursed.

21 thoughts on “How My Family Survived a 3 Wheelchair Night”

  1. This is awesome, Lori! I have been laughing out loud and shared your family’s story with my husband. He can relate. The last time he took our son to the ER for stitches, he had to (in his words) ask to sit down and also request a Ginger-Ale. [Your date nights sound like our birthday celebrations.]

  2. If it makes Roger feel better, my infamous moment of faint was during a lecture on the molecular mechanisms of wound healing. I was good with all the proteins and signaling, but then they started showing photo after photo of large wounds. The one that resulted in me waking up on the floor was of a man who had just had a melanoma removed from the top of his head. Photos of them peeling back the skin on his skull and all.

    Glad everyone is okay. Hoping your future date nights are not quite as memorible.

  3. Oh my God that is the funniest story I have ever heard! My husband passed out on my in the delivery room but 3 at one time beats that story for sure! Loved it and shared it!

  4. Glad you all are okay. I, too, cannot deal with anything crimson exiting a living, breathing body… Hugs to all of you, especially the Boy. XO

  5. My husband is a physician. He even used to moonlight in ERs during his pulmonary fellowship, but if a family member has to go to an ER, he’s the one sliding down the wall.

  6. I would have passed out so incredibly fast. I cannot abide blood or stitches or any of. I get light headed and start swaying before I even know it’s happening. I remember once my mom took my sister and I to get our blood drawn (I don’t remember when) and I was supposed to be the brave big sister who showed my younger sister (she was seven years younger) that it didn’t hurt. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but in my attempt to show my sister that it was no big thang, I actually looked at the needle and the blood, instead of looking away as I usually did, and as soon as I saw the blood in the tube, I got white faced and fell forward. Needless to say my sister was NOT convinced that all would be well once it was her turn. She totally freaked out and it was even harder for them to do the blood draw on her. What a mess!

    I’m glad everyone is doing better now. That story will definitely go down in the family history books!

  7. Oh my G-d — what an ordeal. And you’re the only one who stayed upright despite calling yourself wimpy 🙂

    Everyone is okay now?

  8. This is an awesome story. I giggled out loud at my desk – sorry!

    Hey I think that sounds like an action packed date night to me, one with a great story to tell later that you wouldn’t have otherwise!

  9. I am SO sorry to admit that I laughed out loud at the gallows humor of this post (I did note that it was posted 16 days ago and that all were OK) but OMG, what a comedy of errors. That’s why they don’t like family in when kids are being stitch up. Case in point.

    You did a GREAT job keeping it all together!

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