I think it took five or six sticks to place his IV. I lost count after the second try, as I watched tears well in my 17-year-old son’s eyes. He has what medical folks call “valvey veins.” Of my three oldest kids, Owen looks the most like his dad — same long face, same curls of hair at his temples. But the valvey veins? He got those from me.
It was the anesthesiologist that was finally able to place the IV. For some reason, seeing your teenage son in tears feels so much worse than it did when he skinned his knee at age five or sprained his wrist at nine. Seeing your teenage son in tears hurts even worse when it could have been prevented — and even worse still when it’s your fault.
Owen was in the hospital getting jabbed in his valvey veins six times because he was about to be circumcised. Sort of. He was circumcised as a baby, same as his older brother. But he had a complication I didn’t know was a complication. The skin on the underside of his penis grew back together.
Bodies have a really incredible drive to heal themselves. And Owen’s did. I tried to stop it from healing itself. The pediatrician told me to pull the freshly healed skin apart and keep it lubricated.
Have you ever tried to pull healed skin apart on an infant or toddler?
Despite my efforts, his foreskin won the battle. The pediatrician said it was “no big deal.” He said that when Owen grew up and began to have regular erections or became sexually active, the skin would pull itself apart. But it didn’t.
So there we were, in the hospital. Him crying as they poked him over and over. Me crying because, at the root of it, it was my fault.
Owen came out of surgery groggy and holding the newly cut, very sore part of himself.
This is a photo my daughter snapped of me holding him while he tried to stand up and use the bathroom.