- Created on 16 February 2012
Meena put two grapes in her mouth and carried one in each cheek to pre-school this morning. If there wasn't a bandage on her face you'd never know that she was bit by a dog just ten days ago.
"Mom, come look at Meena's face," Pavana yelled from the bathroom last night.
"There's new skin growth!" I said.
Nag came in to look, too. "Wow."
Last Monday I took Meena to the cosmetic surgeon. After a traumatic ten minutes (which felt like half an hour) removing the stitches, the surgeon explained that the little chunk out of her cheek will leave a significant scar because so much flesh was removed.
He explained that in cases like Meena's they would do cosmetic surgery. But it's advisable (adults willing) to wait as long as you can. Children's skin is so elastic that the incision from cosmetic work would stretch and become wide as they grow. I had no problem waiting; I had dreaded this news: she would do well with cosmetic surgery. Now we know it's best that Meena decide for herself, if and when, she wants cosmetic surgery.
I had mixed feelings. We don't have to do more surgery now, but the scar is quite a mark. Luckily, there's a reason to leave aside any worry at this stage about the healing of the wound.
A friend gave me Montmorillonite clay, minerals (often from volcanic ash) that form in microscopic crystals, forming a clay. It is used in internal and external healing.
In December, my friend's three-year-old son lost the top part of his middle finger halfway at the nail bed. She rushed him to the ER, with the tip of his finger, but the doctors said there was no reason to stitched it back on. They put a stitch in the finger, and told her his finger wouldn't grow back.
Of course not. When do we see fingers growing back?
Determined to heal her son as best as possible, my friend began packing his finger with Montmorillonite clay. In just a month and a half after the accident, 95% of his finger has grown back!
Okay, this is pretty amazing and has given me hope that Meena's wound can heal more than doctors believe. But I've been skeptical and reserved about what benefits she'll receive.
Nonetheless, I've been packing Meena's wound with the clay every day. Last night's viewing of her wound was astounding. It appears the clay is encouraging new skin growth, which is filling in the hole in her cheek.
Yes, I'll wait to make any claims until this is healed. The hole is still quite prominent. The cosmetic surgeon says we'll have a clearer idea in about a month. But I'm packing the wound every day as we let her body heal itself.
Now my hope is excited, though still reserved: I don't want to be disappointed when all is said and done if her cheek heals with a little crater. I have to wait a month or so before I really know the outcome.
Time is interesting. It is the force in this world that draws us toward our spiritual or material nature in a way nothing else can.
We have to wait to see the final healing outcome on her skin. We have to wait to see the impressions the trauma may leave in her psyche.
In waiting I can be angry and anxious, or patient and trusting. We get to choose how to respond to Time.
But right now, there's good news on the psychological front, too--though it felt slow in being realized.
Every day for the past ten days, every change of her wound was quite a traumatic scene. Meena's fear was so overwhelming, and her sensitivity about the open wound on her face so great, she just couldn't allow anyone coming near the left-side of her face. She was just so terrified and she screamed hysterically.
Being with a child in their physical or psychological pain is more than a challenge. It's raw pain. Pain that makes all the cells in my body contort and I have to clamp down on my own emotions and thoughts and vigorously do what is required without care for her immediate pain.
The person who is the grandmother who nurtures has to be the doctor who coldly proceeds with the job. The two natures don't mix very well. They fight with each other.
Luckily, we're at the healing stage that now Meena is pulling off bandages herself. Last night she didn't scream when we applied the antibiotic cream and the clay. I'm incredibly grateful we're moving into a more manageable handling of her injury.
On the psychological side it appears she's recovering, too. She's stopped carrying around the piece of paper with the drawings of her story her daddy made her. While we were in the ER waiting for medication after her face was stitched, Pavana had the brilliant idea to draw her the narrative of her traumatic day.
The first drawing is of Meena with a dog biting her face. The next is Meena with tears and a wound. The next is Meena with a sad face and stitches. The next is her with her face healed and she's smiling. The next is her happily petting a dog—only after she's asks an adult permission!
The page of drawings has given Meena a method to communicate and assimilate her experience. The event was real, she has everyone's sympathies, and Time will heal her. What a lesson for a three-year-old to take into herself.
Time is a powerful healer of emotions and psychological wounds. For now Time and the butter-soft gray Montmorillonite clay are working their wonders on Meena. As they do, the constant anxiousness in my stomach is gradually subsiding.
I can still think of many aspects of this experience to worry about—including how to make sure her wound doesn't get infected.
We're only half-way through the 30-day-bathe-with-clorox prescription to control staph so Meena's health can improve. Everyone in the house is sick. I suspect that pouring clorox all over our bodies, and lining our noses with an antibiotic cream is making us more susceptible to regular bacteria. I have mucus in the lungs that is moving into the head. Nag has had a soar throat for more than a week, a strange rash on his arm and face. Pavana went to the ER on Friday for serious streph throat. Cassandra had a gaping wound on her knee. But clay turned it around. Meena has started a cough. But that wound . . . I just don't want that open wound infected.
So I could take this situation and really start fretting. But I'm not and won't. I can't change what we're going through or control it. So I'm stepping through the experience with as much grace as I can muster. And the good wishes and prayers from friends embrace us. We all thank you deeply.
All the best to you and your family. May we all be given the ability to face difficulties with openness, love, fortitude, and grace.
From my heart to yours,