Childhood Family

Keeping him in stitches

My son was staying with a friend a couple of hours away recently. After his first night there, I received a call from, around 10 in the morning. Just checking in, I figured.

“How’s it going?” I said.

“Well, I’ve been better. Took a spill on my bike. Cut my knee. But I think it’s OK,” he said.

Well, who better to diagnose the severity of a cut than a 13-year-old. On with my day!

A short while later, my wife and I both received the same text, with a picture attached. It was from his friend’s mom. “Does this look like it needs stitches?” Attached was a picture of his knee.


My wife was in Atlanta at the same time, so she was about seven hours away. I was two hours away. My wife said, “I’ll go.” Maternal nature is sweet. But that just wasn’t practical.

I hopped in my car and headed that way. His friend’s mom offered to meet me halfway, but I told her I’d just come on that way. For one thing, they have a friend who is a doctor and would be able to stitch him up. Our pediatrician doesn’t do stitches, so we would have to go to a clinic to get it done here. I’m sure that would have been fine, but a doctor they know and trust made me feel a little better.

I arrived at the clinic about the same time they did. My son was doing his best to be brave. When we went to see the doctor, it was not what you typically expect. The dude was huge, and very fit. He was exceptionally tan, with a shaved head and a sharp, short-trimmed white beard. He wore jeans and sandals and a henley shirt. He strode over to Parker exuding cool. He offered him a fist bump and told him he’d fix him up. My wife texted me to ask how it was going. I texted back, “This doctor is cool. I could start a bar fight, and I think he could finish it by himself.”

I don’t think that’s what my wife meant with her question.

Parker hopped up on the table, and the doctor told him he was going to give him a shot, and that it would hurt for about 10 seconds, and then it would be over. He was true to his word. Maybe 10 seconds of “YOWCH!!!!” from Parker, and then nothing. The doctor told him he could watch him stitch it up if he wanted to. With the leg numbed, Parker found the procedure to be fascinating.

Five quick stitches later, the cut was sealed up. The doctor fist bumped Parker and gave us a few quick and easy instructions for keeping it clean for the next 10 days.

Once done with the stitches, we set out to plan the rest of the week. Parker had planned to stay with his friend for a few more days. In the end, we decided the best move would be for him to come back with me and we’d let the boys pick up their adventure once his knee was healed.

The wound is healing nicely, and my normally grubby, nasty son (as pretty much all 13-year-old boys are) has been very diligent about tending to it, putting Neosporin on it and replacing his bandage as needed.

I hate that he got hurt and that his time with his friend got cut short. But I am glad he was in caring hands and that I was able to get there and be with him.

Plus, he’s going to have a dandy little scar, which will go nice with the umpty-six other scars he has on elbows, forehead, etc. As the old saying goes, “Scars are tattoos with better stories.”

But the biggest takeaway from the whole event? If I ever feel the need to start a bar fight, I know who I’m calling.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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