Cheryl Haver’s evening started out like any other: “Get off work, pick up the kids, go home and start dinner.” But the evening of July 20 turned out differently. Her youngest daughter, Mickenleigh, 4, (“Mickey” or my little monkey”) ended up with a gash in her eyebrow that needed stitches. Even though they were in Grand Prairie at the time, Ms. Haver immediately drove Mickey and her other daughter, Crimson Rose, to Children’s Medical Center at Legacy in Plano. She felt confident in the care Mickey would receive because Legacy is where she takes Crimson Rose, age 9, for severe asthma attacks. Here are excerpts from Ms. Haver’s description of that night:
“As I was in the kitchen, I heard my daughters running around and jumping on the bed. Then I heard a crash and a scream. Mickenleigh had fallen off the bed and hit her head on the night stand drawer that was not closed fully. She came out of the bedroom with her hand over her eye. I had never been so scared. She took her hand off and my heart fell when all I saw was blood. It was all over her face. I finally got her calm enough to get it cleaned off. She had hit her eyebrow and cut it open.”
Sensory integration disorder complicates care
Mickenleigh has a sensory integration disorder and she doesn’t like anyone to touch her face. But she let the doctors and nurses at Children’s at Legacy help her. Ms. Haver says:
“Since Mickey has sensory integration disorder I knew that a regular Emergency Room would probably send her over the edge. We got in the room [at Children's at Legacy] and did not even get to sit down before the nurse came in. She was really great about talking to Mickenleigh and not just to me. The doctor then came in and looked and determined she would need stitches.
Me, being mom, was only thinking my little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby would be walking around with these black strings over her eyes, and then I would have to go through all this again to get them removed. One of her sensory dislikes is people touching her face. Also when she gets scared or nervous, I have to hold her super tight to calm her down but no one else can restrain her. I voiced all these concerns to the doctor trying to figure out how we are going to keep her still enough to get stitches in her eyebrows. He reassured me that they were going to use dissolvable stitches and they would only do the procedures when Mickenleigh was comfortable. That put me a little more at ease.”
Ms. Haver says her family received great care from every level of professionals at the Emergency Room.
“A woman from the Child Life department came in and explained that she was there just for Mickenleigh and would sit with Mickenleigh and me through the whole procedure. She would also answer any questions that Mickenleigh might have. She brought in coloring books, crayons, and a doctor kit for the girls to play with. She just sat and talked to Mickenleigh and answered all her questions no matter how silly they were. She walked Mickenleigh through step by step what was going to happen. She really helped put Mickenleigh at ease.
The nurse came back in to put a numbing gel on Mickenleigh’s eyebrow and was just very patient and understanding and did everything on Mickenleigh’s own time. Since this was night time, I knew we would be there during shift change. Usually in regular ER’s, people come and go and never tell you who they are. But at Children’s that was different. The first doctor came back in with another doctor and explained to Mickenleigh that he was getting off work and was wondering if it was OK that he left and his friend take over. He was willing to stay if that is what Mickenleigh wanted. They talked to Mickenleigh and discussed everything with her just like she was an adult and not a 4-year-old scared little girl. She told the doctor it was OK for him to go home.
When it was finally time to put the stitches in, my stomach was turning. Even though it made it harder on himself, the doctor let me hold her in my lap instead of trying to hold her lying down in the bed. He kept reassuring Mickenleigh and made sure it was OK for him to start stitching. Everyone explained to Mickenleigh step by step how they were going to put in the stitches.
The “toy lady” brought in movies and a few toys to try to distract Mickenleigh from what was happening. Of course that was hard since they were working on her eye. Of course she started screaming as soon as the doctor started, but he was very calming and just kept talking to her. I did not realize that in order to use the stitches that dissolved it would be harder on him since those are colored blonde and she has blonde eyebrows. I don’t know how he did it but he managed to get the stitches in and Mickenleigh was OK. She wiped the tears away and the doctor explained to her how to take care of her wound. The girls then got Popsicles and juice.”
Ms. Haver likes the fact that her family got follow-up care from Children’s.
“Children’s even called the next day just to check on Mickenleigh and make sure everything was still OK. They are so loving and caring and truly do their jobs because they love children. You can see it in their eyes and feel it when they talk to you. I will drive out of my way just to take my babies to Children’s. I am so glad that Children’s Legacy is there. They are the best.”