Wednesday, January 16, 2013

what 5 stitches taught me

Monday was quite a Monday.

(Before all the chaos)

Around 12:30, just as I was in the kitchen making lunch, Duke had a little accident.  He was standing by our brick fireplace, quickly bent his head down, and there it was - a huge gash in his eyebrow and lots (and lots) of blood.  Thankfully, I didn't actually see it happen.   My mom and brother happened to be here and saw the whole thing.

My mom calmly asked for a rag, and I calmly walked over to get her one.  Then I saw what we were dealing with.  My heart exploded inside.  Yes, it was just a cut on his eyebrow, but it was a cut on my baby's precious eyebrow.  I wanted to cry but I couldn't let myself.  I needed to be tough so my boy could calm down.

We were discussing if we should go to a clinic or to the ER.  The ER.  Immediately, I felt the battle inside myself begin.

The answer was clear - we needed to go to the ER and we were pretty sure he needed stitches.  We needed to go to the exact same ER I was in just about 6 months ago when I truly thought my life was ending.

Now, I know some of you just said this in your head:  "There she goes again, talking about her anxiety.  She can't even focus on her little boy's injury."  Until you have truly experienced the physical and mental pains of anxiety, you just have no idea what it's like.  If you've ever been through any kind of traumatic experience, you can relate to this.  I associated this place with feeling absolutely terrified.  Having to deal with my fear along with my son's bloody eyebrow made everything worse.  I felt like I was fighting to focus on what mattered and not listen to all the extra darkness that wanted to creep in.

We loaded up in the car and headed there.  The entire way there, I was praying - praying that I could stay calm, I could feel God's presence all around me and in my body, I could breathe deeply and slowly.

(Munching on crackers and waiting for our name to be called)

It was eery walking into that room, filling out that form, and sitting in that same chair in the waiting room.  I was still fighting in my mind.  Remember when you were here last?  This is a place for panic.  You should be panicking.  Your baby boy is not okay and this experience is going to be terrible.

Satan at his finest, folks.  He's mean.  He's so, so mean.  I continued praying and praying.  Truly, I didn't stop.

(Trying to take Duke's mind off of the topical numbing stuff by counting dad's shirt buttons)

(Graham crackers and dad make things all better)

The worst part of the whole thing was having to hold Duke down for all the shots and all the stitches.  He was wrapped up like a little burrito, crying, sweating, and trying to get loose.  I couldn't think about all of it though.  Duke needed the wound cleaned.  He needed to be numbed.  He needed stitches.  This was what was best for him even though it killed me to watch.  The nurse, Colt, and I held him down through moments of screaming and moments of quiet.  There were times when it was almost like he understood what was happening.  It was almost like he thought, I know this isn't fun, but my mom and dad are here so it must be okay.  But just like that, the pain was back and so were the tears.  We sang many rounds of Snuggle Puppy and 3-part Itsy Bitsy Spider.

When it was all over and they sat him up, he said, "Mama, mama."  I swooped that boy tightly up into my arms and told him how brave he was.  Finally, all of it was done and we could go home.

On our way home, I thought about how I hadn't cried once.  How had I done that?  There were a few reasons.  I couldn't cry because when I start crying, everything becomes worse than it actually is.  I couldn't cry because I needed to be calm and normal for my son.  I couldn't cry because I knew deep down it wasn't going to change anything.  Whether or not I would've cried that afternoon wouldn't have changed the fact that I'd be driving home with a Sonic drink and a little boy with 5 stitches in my backseat.  Just like all of you other moms that have done this before, I had to be strong.  I dug into the core of my being and prayed my way through it.

(So glad Jmama was there to help)

Monday was quite a Monday not only because of the stitches, but because GCD posted an article I wrote about my journey with anxiety.  And how fitting that the day my story was told, I was put right back in the place where it began.  Things like that don't just happen.  It was significant.  It was as if God was saying, "You know the truth.  You wrote it down and you have now shared it with others.  Act and walk in the truth."  I had to keep telling myself, I can do this.  I can face my fear of physically walking into that ER lobby.  I can move beyond it.

Not all pain in life has to draw you nearer to God, but all pain can.  Like we held Duke as he endured those stitches that he needed so badly, God is holding us.  Like Duke, sometimes we take a second and come to grips with the fact that God is here and it's okay.  But so quickly, we feel the pain and we're back in touch with our humanity.  It's not easy.  Life is not easy.  But God is the one holding us.  I am so, so thankful.

It wasn't until Monday night after Duke was in bed that I really started to let myself replay the events of the day.  I was so heartbroken for Duke.  My poor baby.  Seeing your child in pain is truly one of the worst things on this earth.  But I am glad that the cut was where it was, I'm glad we live in a place where we can get things like this fixed, and I'm glad we have insurance.  There are definitely things to be grateful for.

I'm also glad that I passed a test I would've never voluntarily given myself.  Hey, Claire, let's walk back into one of those dark places that reminds you of the peak of your fear.  I would've done anything to not go back to that place, but I had to. 

Between my broken heart for Duke and my mental/spiritual victory, that day pretty much wiped me out.  There was no way I could chill out enough to take a nap, but I did relax on the couch in the dark with my eyes closed.  I just rested in the fact that God was there again.  He just keeps showing up and keeps coming through.

(Me and my brave boy)

It's amazing what 5 stitches can teach you.


  1. You are not alone with the anxiety you face. I have had panic attacks since a very young age and find myself having anxiety about nothing at all from time to time. It does get better and you find ways to deal with it, but I know at that moment NOTHING seems to help and we just turn to prayer. That is what has helped me the most to overcome mine. Praying for you and your family.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Emily. I definitely feel like I have some successful coping mechanisms I can run to, but prayer, of course, is by far the best. I appreciate your prayers. :)

  2. Oh man, I hate looking at sweet Duke in these pictures. I am SO glad he is ok!

    I am also SO glad that you were able to find truth in Christ's love and presence. I HATE how mean the devil is. He always seems to know how to say the right things to bring you down and make you fear. I always wonder how people who don't have faith in Christ's love can be ok in those situations. My faith is the ONLY thing that brings me strength in times of anxiety.


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