You never want to get that kind of call at work. Bryan called (which was my first red flag since he usually texts) "Graeson's been bit by a dog and I think you need to come home." He described that it wasn't gruesome, in fact fairly small and on the back of his thigh, but was still bleeding an hour later....and Graeson was still crying an hour later. So I grabbed one of my co-worker nurses because the mom-nurse doesn't always think clearly when her babies are hurt, and we headed home.
Graeson was cuddling with Daddy on the couch and softly whimpering. The mom-nurse exam revealed a dime-size puncture, somewhat deep, that looked like stitches would be needed. Co-worker nurse agreed, and doctor's office advised us over the phone to bring him in to clean the likely germ-infested area. Graeson and I headed to the clinic, and he did pretty well throughout the cleaning procedure and even the skin glue. They gave him a prescription for antibiotic and instructions for mom-nurse to change the bandage once or twice over the next few days.
So the story...as told by a traumatized 5 year old, an 8 year old big sister witness, and a 2 year old sympathizer....went something like this. Our backyard has a gate to our neighbor's back yard (McKenna--age 7), who has a gate to their neighbor's back yard (Emma--age 5). So between the three yards are a total of 5 kids. All five were playing in McKenna's yard, and Emma was showing them her new puppy. Apparently, Emma and Graeson went to her gate to put the puppy back in Emma's yard, when Emma's black lab escaped into McKenna's yard. Graeson panicked....and ran. So the dog chased him, until he dived into McKenna's outdoor princess castle to hide. No one is really sure exactly when/where the dog bite occurred, except somewhere during the chase. His injury was on the back of his left inner thigh, near his bottom. Bryan had briefly talked to Emma's dad over the backyard fence at the time, and it seemed it was just an overly fun-loving dog who probably thought Graeson was a grand toy.
The doctor's office is required to file a mandatory animal control report, and since I didn't know Emma's address, phone number, nor her last name, that meant we'd have to go talk to them. So in order to get the required information, I did what every confident parent would do: called McKenna's parents for Emma's phone number, then got their house number by driving by! Unfortunately, I was still missing their last name, so I had no choice but to go meet them. Bryan tried to act gallant that HE would stay home with the kids and gave me this big line that I was the BEST person to go talk to them!
So....how do you start a conversation with someone you've never met and who's dog just injured your child??? I got up the nerve, knocked on the door, and was greeted by....the black lab. And I quickly found out that Emma's dad is from Russia and has an extremely thick accent. He seemed nice, but was very hard to understand. Oh and their last name has about 20 consonants and about one vowel. So after asking him to repeat his last name three times (oh and could you spell that for the animal control report for me?) I was ready to bolt!
In a day or two, I got another call at work, this time from animal control. He was a very nice man, asked for the story again, and said he would need to talk to Emma's parents and they'd have to quarantine the dog for a specified amount of time. For some reason, this now made me feel like "I" was the one who was a terrible neighbor for all of this. Don't ask me why!
Graeson did very well throughout the next few days, and it sure didn't affect his energy one bit! The dressing changes went well, and let's just say he has "buns of steel" and would clench his little cheeks so tight when I'd take the tape off! After seven days of antibiotics, on day eight he woke up with a head-to-toe rash. It appears he's allergic to penicillin. Great. Two days of benadryl (which didn't slow down his boy-energy either!) and he was doing better. Graeson continued to play with the backyard girls, and Emma's parents made a new rule that she couldn't take the puppy out anymore and both dogs would stay in their kennels. Emma even made Graeson a homemade get well card (with a drawing of a dog)!
Fast-forward several weeks....doctor bill arrives for $260. Insurance didn't cover one bit because we have to reach deductible first. Lovely. Now this may not seem like a whole lot, but we do not have $260 extra dollars hanging around. So through the lovely use of Facebook, several friends (one of whom works in an insurance office) said Emma's parents' homeowners insurance should cover it, even though it actually happened in McKenna's yard. So this means I have to go talk to them....again. It took me almost another month and a second doctor bill to get up the nerve. Once again, I'm wondering what to say. "Hi, your dog bit my kid and here's the bill. Have a nice day!" So one day when the kids were all playing together, I asked Emma to get her mom and I gently asked her if she would contact her homeowners insurance, and she said she would.
Another month goes by....and a third doctor's bill. No word from Emma's parents. We were at the doctor's office for something else, when I was told "you have to go talk to the billing department before the doctor can see you." Yikes. So I explained the story, they were very understanding and told me exactly how to approach it with the homeowners insurance, and gave me a copy of the chart notes to submit. Looks like I get to go talk to the neighbors....again. As I'm chastising myself for WHY is this such an awkward thing to go talk to them, the $260 finally motivated me to go over there again. Armed with a copy of the bill, a copy of the chart notes, and a nice little card with our own contact information, I went over and this time talked to Emma's grandpa. So I'm now feeling even more awkward that I haven't talked to the same person twice, and maybe they're avoiding me! I gave him the info, and asked him to please pass it on.
Another month goes by....but eventually.....I get a call from the homeowners insurance! And they're going to pay for the entire doctor's bill! And they'll pay for the antibiotic too! And was there any other cost that I incurred? YIPPEE!