When my youngest son, who will turn 42 on Saturday, was just 6 months old, I took him to the doctor. He had a cold and I expected the doctor to look him over, see if he had a fever, and prescribe some of that pink stuff that all kids hate.
When he finished the examination, the doctor asked me if I was aware the baby’s soft spot, (fontanelle), had closed up. I said I had noticed, and I’d always been told that was a good thing because you had to be so careful while the soft spot was still soft. The doctor told me that was not the case and referred me to a neurosurgeon in Rapid City, which is about 150 miles from where we lived in Wyoming.
That doctor told us it was important that the fontanelle remain open until the baby was 2 yrs old or his head would not grow correctly. His exact words were, “It will not affect his brain, but he will have an unusually high, dome-shaped, forehead and a flat face, like someone hit him in the face with a board.”
Time was of the essence and surgery was to be in a couple of weeks.
A friend of mine from high school lived in Rapid City. She was kind enough to let me stay at her house and volunteered to watch my 5 yr old, Mason, while Craig was in the hospital.
My mother and mother-in-law drove, together, from Murdo to be there for the surgery which was scheduled for 7 a.m. Craig, of course, could not have any milk or water after midnight. He started crying around 6.
We were told that due to an emergency surgery, Craig’s surgery would be delayed. I walked the halls with my red-faced baby for hours and became concerned he would become so weak, he might not withstand the surgery. They were going to open his skull and line one side with plastic to keep it open. The bone would eventually grow over the plastic and the fontanelle would close up again.
My mother and mother-in-law were near hysteria. My mother, shall we say, “loudly confronted,” the doctor and my mother-in-law cried, when he came to tell us Craig’s surgery would be around noon. He asked them if they wished for him to throw the person currently having emergency surgery out of the operating room? My mother who was never one to hide her concerns said something that offended him.
The good doctor took me aside and said Craig would be just fine, but he was going to refuse to operate if the “moms” didn’t knock it off. He felt they were upsetting me and maybe I should send them home.
I knew I couldn’t do that, but I did get them to calm down and Craig did great. When the doctor came to tell us the surgery was over, he said that Craig was awake and sitting up. Mom said, “That’s funny, he couldn’t sit up before the surgery.”
I got to take my baby home in a few days. He looked so pathetic with his head bandages the size of a football helmet and both eyes were black and blue.
We had just bought a house and hadn’t had time to get the furniture we needed and get the washer and dryer hooked up. We had barely moved in.
A couple of days after getting home, I had the kids at the laundromat and I was mortified when I heard Mason tell a lady who was looking at us funny, that we we had to use lawn chairs for furniture and he needed a bed. She asked him what happened to the baby and he said he didn’t know.
I tried to explain.
Craig’s head grew just fine. He has a scar from ear to ear that he has always worn like a badge of courage. We taught him and his brother how to explain to people how he got it.