Friday, August 10, 2012

#RealFatherhoodStories: Stitches? Nah.

Stitches? Nah.

By Matt Peregoy,

I had put it off until the last minute.  I was twelve years old, and I had volunteered to help construct a banner for our next meeting.  My fellow Royal Rangers (a Christian alternative to Boy Scouts) were counting on me to have the frame of this banner finished so that they could attach the leather work that someone else was completing.  I was hacking away at some wooden sticks, attempting to shape them into some sort of frame complete with lashing and all of the spectacular knots I could tie.  About an hour before we were going to leave for our meeting, the bow saw I was using jumped the groove and bounced across the fatty part of my hand between my left thumb and index finger ripping it to shreds.

I didn't cry.  I just stared in disbelief until the pain finally set in.  Then I ran into the house where my dad was getting ready to leave. "What happened?" he asked.  "I cut it with the bow saw... do I have to go to the hospital?"  I had never had stitches before.  That's not exactly true.  I did get stitches when I was three years old, after I fell off of a rock while on my first fishing trip with my dad and grandpa.  But I didn't remember that happening, so it was all folklore to me.  This was real.  This was an emergency room-quality cut of the hand.  For being such a nasty cut, it didn't bleed very much.  But I could see a bit of fatty tissue sticking out of my hand, and that seemed like something that would require medical attention.  My father did not share the same concern.

"I'm not going to the hospital to wait three hours just to get you stitches.  Let's clean it up." my dad said confidently.  He then proceeded to clean my wound, fashion two butterfly stitches out of medical tape, and wrap up my hand with enough gauze that I felt like an offensive lineman.  Then he helped me finish cutting the piece of wood that caused this mess, and we were off to church.

I didn't realize how important that moment was to me at the time.  It seemed like it was just my dad being himself.  When I found out that I was going to be a father, I tried to think of some of the things that I really appreciate about my dad, and that story came back to me.  My dad could always figure things out.  He never graduated high school, but he's the smartest person I know - not because he can quote facts and figures, but because he just knows stuff that dads are supposed to know.

That moment taught me a lot about self-sufficiency.  My dad never expected anyone to give him anything.  He figured things out on his own.  My dad works smarter and harder than anyone I know, and I appreciate that so much about him.  I want to teach my daughter how to be self-sufficient and think through her problems, not just run to me for answers before trying to figure things out.  When my dad stitched up my hand with nothing but medical tape, he thought he was just fixing a wound.  What he didn't know is that he was teaching his son how to take care of himself and face this world with confidence.

Do you have a story about your father or about being a father that you would like to share?  If so, submit your "Real Fatherhood Story" to by first reading the requirements, and then emailing us your submission. Thank you.


  1. Dad's can be like that sometimes! They seem to have all the right answers at just the right moment. If he had time he probably would have made a ten course meal out of two berries and a fish using a swiss army knife. :)


  2. Well, other than the actual sawing of my hand, yes, it is a great memory. Thanks!

  3. Absolutely. At least ten courses.

  4. Linked over from Good Men Project.

    I fail to see the connection between denying your kid medical attention when he can see fucking "fatty tissue" sticking out of his hand because pops didn't want to "wait in the ER for three hours".

    Yes, if you _don't have options_, go ahead and bandage that sucker up and make due, but jesus, if you have access to proper medical care and don't take it - you're not self sufficient, you're a fucking idiot.

    For any young dads reading this and thinking to take a lesson - don't. If you or your kid filet your hand open w/ a goddamn saw, yes, you should probably see a doctor. You know in the ER, hand injuries can be so complicated, we sometimes debate between calling orthopaedics or the plastics guys in.

    Yes "I'm fine now and it worked for me" is great, good for you - but if you've studied the nerves and tendons of the hand and understand how complicated and prone to infection they are, you would never do this to a kid.

  5. I fail to see the necessity of using such language on a website about kids and fatherhood, but I'm going to let your comment stay, and here's why - YOU MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE STORY - and if you have kids, that's a real shame. I really hope that your outburst here is not reflective of your typical bedside manner. People aren't coming to my blog for medical advice, and I didn't give any medical advice. So, instead of trolling blogs for opportunities to show off your obvious superior intelligence, maybe you should just read more carefully or go spend more time with your kids (if you have any).

    I simply said that my dad taught me about self-sufficiency. What you DON'T know is that my dad was a firefighter and avid outdoorsman, my mom was a paramedic, all of us (including all three kids) had first aid AND CPR training before age twelve. I could have bandaged the wound myself if necessary. The point of the story is that my father had acquired the skills necessary to take care of such a wound, and he was able to use them. Did you not read that he cleaned and dressed the wound? I'm sure if there were any signs of infection, I would have been taken to the ER. And he didn't tell me (nor did I tell my readers) that we never need to go to the ER. My father was perfectly capable of taking me there when it was necessary. In fact, if you read the story, you see that I mention the first time I got stitches (this would have been difficult to write about since I was only three years old and have no memory of the event). But he took me to the ER then. When I was five, I was having unexplained pain in my legs on a Friday evening. I had a doctors appointment on Monday. But when I suddenly got headaches and went blind over the weekend, he took me to the ER. It ended up being Guillian-Barre Syndrome, and I was the youngest person to have it at the time, and he was by my side in the hospital. When I was fourteen, I wrapped my arm around a chain on a swing set while diving to catch a football, and he took me to the ER for stitches.

    So, the point I am making here is that before you call someone a "fucking idiot," you should know the whole story. This was a surface wound to the skin between my thumb and index finger. Yes, I could look into the wound and see undamaged fatty tissue, but I still had full range of motion and it was bleeding very little. Yes, we could have gone to the ER and had a nurse or PA do some sutures, but it was properly cleaned and dressed by someone with the training to be capable of completing such a procedure. I don't see the need to insult someone's family and use inappropriate language on a family-friendly website other than to make yourself feel more important. So, while I welcome you as a reader, I hope that you can refrain from such low-brow speech the next time you decide to comment on this blog.

    Lastly, I hope that if you have kids, you will re-read the story and see what can be learned. You have acquired the skills to treat medical conditions of all sorts. I would expect that if you are a good father, you will teach your children various skills from your base of knowledge, and help them be self-sufficient with basic first aid and CPR. I would also expect that if you are a good father, you would teach them what the limits of their self-sufficiency should be and when to seek expert help. If you are a good father, I would expect that you would require your children to use language that is appropriate for the context of the situation it is being spoken in. And finally, if you are a good father, I would expect that you would teach your children to respect all people and treat them in the way that they would want to be treated.

  6. It's amazing how much of our parenting is a direct reflection on the parenting of our parents, for better or for worse. I have lots of moments that cause me to think back to how my dad acted and influence my reactions. Great story. Your dad sounds like a pretty awesome guy.

  7. Hey! How have you been? I totally agree with you about having those "moments" that make you think about your own parents. That moment is a decision making opportunity - Am I going to repeat the mistakes of my parents? Or will I break the cycle and try something differently? If you don't find yourself repeating the mistakes, you're probably doing okay as a parent.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...