One of the joys of motherhood is having one’s children gather in the bedroom and lounge around on the bed. My tots and teens have often engaged me in conversation this way and I’ve always felt it created a special bond between us. While the girls and I were tucked under the covers last night as my husband washed up, I began to tell the following bedtime story.
Once upon a time there was a pioneer family with two girls that had traveled by wagon train out west to settle in a land near Canada. They lived near the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front with sweeping plains and mountains on part of the Lewis and Clark trail. A stone fireplace kept their log cabin warm on cold winter nights. The girls and their mother lie cozily picturing Father, who was out this frigid night.
A trapper, he had gone out for beaver, ermine, and mink to sell to people back east. Mother had killed a bear with her shotgun last fall as it foraged in their apple barrel. She had skinned the bear and made a warm winter coat for Father. This comforted them as they pictured Father sitting in the moonlight near a crackling fire at his camp. Suddenly they heard the spooky howl of wolves.
Mother didn’t want to mention it as not to worry the children. The ominous sounds grew closer as Mother contemplated what she would do if the wolves got vicious. Sometimes in winter when food is scarce, they resort to humans to sustain them. Mother told the girls to get up and sit near the fireplace, while she looked outside. They were to stay there for two days until Father’s return in the event anything happened to her. She picked up her rifle and stepped out into the crisp night.
She watched from the porch as the pack of wolves encircled the house. Inside, the girls huddled near the fire and prayed. Suddenly, they heard a shot and then the cries of their mother. A fight was going on but they were not to move. Silence and then their mother’s moans.
“We should look out of the window, before opening the door”, said the younger girl.
“Yes”, said the older one. “You look out while I throw a piece of meat to the wolves”.
The younger one peered out into the darkness as the older one slowly opened the door. She saw her mother lying bloody and unconscious on the porch. She stepped out and tossed the meat to the wolves, still lurking in the yard.
“Watch out”, the younger girl screamed, as the older girl grabbed her mother by her underarms. Right before she pulled her to safety inside the house, the girl saw a wolf. The wolf could smell the meat. Fortunately, he went to the meat, and the older girl pulled Mother to safety.
Next to the fire, the sisters examined Mother’s injuries. The older girl knew Mother was in shock. She covered her with blankets and elevated her legs. A big gash was bleeding on Mother’s arm. It needed stitches.
At this point in the story, E asked how stitches were made, etc. I told her a special curved needle is used and that the next morning we would look it up. Now back to the story.
The older girl said that she could do it. She had watched Father sew up his own hand in the past. They cleaned the wound and stitched Mother’s arm. A restless night was spent worrying about Mother, but they now understood the wakeful hours she had spent nursing them in times of illness. A day and a half passed with Mother in a coma. Finally, they heard Father whistling, as he was strolling up with animal pelts tied to his hips. They were so happy to see him. He praised the girls for their bravery as they explained the terrible events of a couple of nights ago.
Mother was nursed back to health and they lived happily ever after. End of bedtime story.
The next morning after breakfast, we looked up surgical needles for sutures. There are straight needles for sutures (stitches) as well as curved types in various sizes.
- half curved or ski
- 1/4 circle
- 3/8 circle
- 1/2 circle
- 5/8 circle
- compound curve
Traumatic needles are surgical needles with eyes that need to be threaded. The thread comes out of the needle on both sides and tears the tissue, hence the name traumatic. Atraumatic needles come already threaded from the manufacturer in which the thread was attached to the needle by a forging process called swaging. Atraumatic needles have a smaller eye opening, therefore creating fewer traumas to the skin. Some atraumatic needles are “pop-off” types which come off with a tug and are used in interrupted stitches.
There are absorbable stitches made out of collagen taken from bovine intestines, and other synthetic materials that are absorbed by the body. In cases where non-absorbable sutures are required, where the stitches will be removed, silk is the common fiber for suturing.
We watched a demonstration of suturing and also of stitching an eyeball. Someone asked a question about cataracts, so we picked a cataract surgery video to watch.