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Letters From The Editor:

Concern lingers for my girl

May 07, 2010|By John Canalis

Sometimes I can feel bad news waiting for me on the other end of a ringing phone.

It was Friday night a week ago. I was in the newsroom. My wife’s number appeared on the caller ID.

There was commotion on the other end. All I heard my wife say was that our daughter was hurt and bleeding, that the situation wasn’t dire. But then there was something about the kid needing stiches.

My gut turned.

My 4-year-old had been on the playground at her preschool center in Huntington Beach, my wife explained.

Another child threw an empty coffee can — they were using it to scoop dirt and plant a garden — at my daughter. It was a playful throw, not an angry one.

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But the edge of the can caught the bridge of my girl’s nose. There was enough blood to scare her and everyone else at school.

I could hear my daughter crying on the other end of the line as my wife drove her to urgent care in Seal Beach.

We had just finished putting the paper together. I left Costa Mesa and drove up North Coast Highway to the doctor’s office. The kind nurses, relaxed and at ease, were cleaning my daughter’s wounds, telling her how good she was being.

My daughter was not herself. Though she looks like my wife, she inherited one key trait from me: the absence of a poker face.

She was scared. Nervous. Shocked. There was no hiding it.

It pained me. But since I am a dad now, I tried to appear inscrutable, hoping that my kid wouldn’t read fear in her dad’s eyes.

Luckily, my wife knew what to do.

Our daughter calms down when she’s told a story. She loves being read to, but if you make a yarn up from scratch, she goes into a near-meditative state.

So my wife told a story about a family of cats — one of my daughter’s favorite themes — to distract her from the stinging astringent.

The crying stopped. So did the bleeding.

When the blood cleared, I could see a pretty deep cut right across my daughter’s nose.

The doctor came in. She had a confident, been-down- this-road-before manner.

This case could be handled without stiches, and scarring was unlikely, she said.

She suggested a liquid adhesive to close the wound.

So the doctor pushed my daughter’s separated skin back together and sealed it with the medical glue while my wife calmly told stories about cats that do human-like things.

The wound was closed. The kid looked a bit like that poster of Robert DeNiro in “Raging Bull.” But she was OK.

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