Accidentally Exactly Right — Why I Drove a Stranger Home from the ER

by Kristen King


Emmett and his $150 popsicle — which was 20% off because we paid for it tonight, so it was only $120. What a deal, amirite?

Last week Emmett busted his head open in some mysterious incident that occurred in the dark in the boys’ room after bedtime while he was inexplicably on Miles’ bed but they “weren’t playing,” “weren’t fighting,” and “weren’t messing around.” They were able to glue it successfully at the pediatric ER at Oak Hill Hospital, and it was healing fine — though with the lingering swelling, it continued to look like he was growing a horn.

And then tonight while brushing his hair, Emmett nailed himself right in the forehead with the brush and tore the glue, causing a syrupy flow of sticky, goopy blood to emerge and freaking me the eff out. I called the pediatrician because I really did NOT want to pay another ER copay for the same injury. But they insisted we needed to go back to the ER, so off we went.

To our delight, the original doctor was there again tonight and remembered Emmett vividly. Doc checked him out and said removing the glue and “re-fixing” where he’s popped it open it would cause more damage so taping it shut over the glue for extra protection was our best bet. The ladies will love this scar when he’s older, right?

So it was basically a pointless trip. Medically, anyway. But while we were waiting for Emmett to be seen, I overheard a young mom there with her two little girls who was starting to panic while talking to a staff member because she hadn’t been released yet and if she didn’t leave by a certain time she’d have no way to get herself and her kids home. I thought of her as we were taken back to see the doctor and then released, and was relieved to see she was no longer in the waiting room after we checked out. But then when we walked outside I saw her sitting on the sidewalk with two crutches and two kids looking completely lost. I couldn’t leave her there.

“I have to talk to that mommy,” I told Emmett, making a sharp turn back to the sidewalk. “She needs our help.”

“Okay,” he said. “We can help her.”

And I walked up to her and asked if she was stuck, and offered to drive her home. “I know I’m a random stranger, but I have a three-year-old so I’m hoping I’m not too threatening. I’m going to take him to the car and get him buckled and I’ll come back for you. I’ll understand if you’re not comfortable.”

When I pulled up to the curb, she and her daughters were standing there waiting for me. For whatever reason, I hadn’t taken the extra car seat out of the car for Jesse in case of an emergency, so Miles’ seat was there and empty and I was able to safely transport her four-year-old. Her older daughter squeezed between the two littler kids in their carseats. It was perfect. I put mom’s crutches in the trunk, and off we went.

We dropped her prescription off at the pharmacy and I ran Emmett home to go to bed since we’d have to wait for the meds. He was reluctant to have to leave his new friends — they’d quickly bonded over a shared fascination with animals and Wild Kratts — but finally went in to Daddy. We went back to the pharmacy and got everything the mom needed, and I took her and her daughters home. The look of gratitude on her face and the relief in the eyes of her little girls will never leave me.

If I’d realized we couldn’t re-glue or stitch Emmett’s head, I would have just taped it myself. Good thing I’m not a doctor. Because as it turns out, Emmett didn’t need to be at the ER tonight; I did.

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Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated twin mom who lives at 10,200 feet in Leadville Colorado, and founder of She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and two cats. They are both endurance athletes. She works full-time from home in virtual training, and he drives the local school bus. Learn more and meet the rest of the team on our About page.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Mo March 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm

How very considerate of you. We need more people like this in the world. I too would’ve been so relieved especially having young children with me :-) Love this story


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