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One Wheelchair, Three Butts: Date Night Gone Wrong

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#1: Stitches

The phone rang in the middle of Date Night during an episode of  Homeland, showing in our TV room. Kids Night Out was reporting that our son had crashed into metal bleachers while playing indoor tag. He had a gash on his leg that should be looked at.

We shut down Carrie and the CIA to retrieve our kids and head to urgent care. We had to wheel him in — and later out — in a wheelchair.

Though in pain, Reed 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 his sister

First came the numbing gel, followed a half-hour later by nasal versed, which made Reed amusingly loopy. After giving that time to kick in, Reed was finally ready for the main medical act.

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

#2: The Needle

The last step in anesthetizing Reed involved a long needle, presumably to be administered directly into the wound (how would I know?). Tessa, who likes to observe as people get shots and IVs, fixed her eyes on the action.

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. I spoke soothingly to her as she moved back into her body.

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 just knew that the doc was calling for a crash cart.

Tessa leapt out of her stretcher-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 Finger

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.

That scene, combined with the cold that had invaded Roger’s upper respiratory tract earlier that day, was enough to vasovagal him. Moments later — you guessed it — Roger occupied the family wheelchair.

We are looking into ordering a memorial plaque.

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 from behind his oxygen mask, 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.

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

Wheelchair image courtesy anankkml at

This vignette originally was told on


Lori Holden's book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open AdoptionLori Holden blogs from metro-Denver at and can also be found on Twitter @LavLuz. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful gift for the adoptive families in your life. Lori is also available to deliver her open adoption workshop to adoption agencies and support groups.

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson February 3, 2015

    Toooooo funny! At least you weren’t far from him. And yes, I think you might be cursed. I feel the same way whenever we travel–Murphy’s Law always prevails. 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz February 3, 2015

    Who is this “Murphy” dude and why is he always tagging along with us?