We had a busy day today, but I was looking forward to ending it by hanging out with friends at a pizza buffet and then at the park. I loaded up the kids at 6 to go to the restaurant.
When we were about five minutes away, Chickie started crying. "My nose is bleeding again!" she wailed.
I looked back, and sure enough, blood was running all the way down her chin, and she was getting more hysterical by the minute. She had her first nosebleed yesterday, and this is new territory for both of us--I didn't deal much with nosebleeds when I was a kid.
I grabbed the Kleenex and kept grabbing handfuls to hand to her, but it was so messy--blood on her face, in her mouth, on her hands, on the seat belt, on her dress. To make it worse, her screaming was completely freaking out Zoodle, and he joined in with his own panicked screams.
"Please, calm down!" I said. "Please!"
Completely distracted, I somehow made it to the restaurant. I did a little bit of hasty clean-up, but Chickie nose was still bleeding, and both kids were still emotional wrecks.
We got inside the restaurant, where I led them directly past the cash registers where I was supposed to pay for our buffets. No one attempted to stop me. I doubt anyone wanted to mess with two crying children, one of whom had blood all over her; plus a mom with that taking-care-of-business fire in her eyes.
We hurried to the bathroom. As I worked on getting Chickie cleaned up, both kids were still hysterical, and Zoodle kept choking out between sobs, "I want somebody to hold me! I want Daddy!" (Daddy was in a meeting.)
A woman came into the bathroom. "I'm sorry," I told her, knowing my kids' panic was taking over the small area.
"That's okay!" she assured me with a smile, and she headed into a stall. When she exited a couple of minutes later, she asked, "Is everything all right?"
"She just has a bloody nose," I explained.
And then things began to turn around.
"I'm a registered nurse," she said. "Do you know how to make a nose tampon?" (Yes, I just wrote "nose tampon." As if the description of blood everywhere wasn't enough gross-out for the night.)
I explained my inexperience with nosebleeds, and she began showing me how to tightly roll a tissue to put in the nostril and stanch the bleeding. We discovered that Chickie's nose was no longer bleeding, but the wonderful nurse not only continued to educate me (so I'd know what to do the next time,) but she also gave lots of direct attention to Chickie.
"It's okay!" she said in a high-pitched, syrupy-sweet voice that somehow broke through Chickie's cries and distracted her from her panic. "This is just a little fluffy pillow!" (She held out the "nose tampon.") "And I know that blood can be scary, but it's okay! Red is a pretty color!"
She continued to talk, and Chickie quickly calmed down. I was free to comfort Zoodle, who began to settle down too. Soon our angel...I mean nurse...left, and we pulled ourselves together so we could go pay and eat.
I'm so thankful that the nurse "just happened" to be there. She took control of the situation in such a gentle and respectful way, and she was exactly the person we needed.
But if Chickie can avoid further nosebleeds...or at least have them at home...on the tile...naked...I'll really appreciate that.