I have been feeling pretty meepy this week. Read: mopey, weepy. Things are getting me down. I am finding a broken sewing machine no help.
Then I remember last year at this time. Yesterday Dave reminded me that this was what we asked for. What we had asked for at this time last year was ‘anything but this’. This being an ill child. Our eldest daughter, Sira who was three at the time had appendicitis. Unknown to us of course. She had had a rough winter including pneumonia and seeming to catch everything that was going around even things that were not. The ‘not’ being needing minor surgery for her thumbs that were trapped by their ligaments and unable to be used.
One morning it appeared that she had a stomach bug but early the next morning it presented very differently. She was screaming, a keening sound that was un-nerving, obviously painful and alarming. She was unable to walk and was not able to tell us what hurt, not that three year olds are especially good at that. I have been sent in to a minor and temporary tailspin before when three year old complained of neck pain which turned out to be a sore throat.
After dragging everyone to the car we headed to the nearest emergency room. In hindsight that was a mistake. If you live close enough to a world-class children’s hospital always go there first. I naively thought she had a u.t.i.
We were in the first e.r. quickly and there for several hours before we realized that this was not good and there was no way we were going to be out of there quickly or even that day.
I will spare you the details of misdiagnosis, two sad brothers waiting, waiting, waiting, the crying in the waiting room with a room full of people watching you because no one will pick up the phone and having an overwhelming feeling of being alone, an ambulance ride for Sira and Dave, me chugging electrolyte solution at the nurses station and the Monty Python-like scene of running down a hallway, signing papers, pressing my face to my daughters cheek before a nurse carried her away to surgery and somehow us (being Dave and I with Rika in a sling) being guided backward through locking doors and being left alone looking through small glass windows.
The details I will relate are: two friends bailing us out when we had no-where else to turn, the correct diagnosis which turned out to be a perforated appendix, relief at knowing what was actually happening, one of the surgical team doing a fist pump in the hallway when they came out to talk to us when Sira was in recovery, no-one ever saying a peep about me bringing Rika then nine months everywhere for nearly 72 straight hours in fact in the aftermath she was held, cuddled and coddled by nurses and volunteers when I must have looked like I was going to tip over with fatigue. And how about when Sira woke up she said, Daddy, Mama and we were there. There is also the sobering reality that what Sira had was easily treated when there were children on that surgical ward who had been there weeks and months. There were those three nights in the hospital where Sira was treated like a queen and was pumped full of two and a half gallons of antibiotics. The expected pain of recovering from abdominal surgery, expected but not kind. Me at three a.m. while nursing Rika trying to hold a writhing three year old thinking maybe, just maybe I couldn’t muddle through. After some tears from us all we settled in and Sira asked for her sister to sleep next to her. Rika, the child of her siblings. Dave and I in turn sleeping, holding smalls, eating and leaving the room for a little air.
When Sira left that hospital three days later, earlier than expected because she has catitude and her Daddy would not take no for an answer when she needed to walk, I left a little less rigid. Some of those parenting scales had fallen from my eyes as well as some of my hair color. If I had to mark when I first started noticing grey hairs, it would be that week. I realized and said to Dave late one of those nights that I love our life. Deeply love our life. All of these sacrifices, personal and financial, we have made and are continuing to make that have made things more difficult for Dave and I but bringing to our children what we believe is a better life. Those small sacrifices have been worth it. Exponentially more love and joy.
So I sit back today, have another cup of tea and try to enjoy the perspective. And of course I am contemplating a little hand sewing I never can seem to fit it. I’m as good as any old machine, right?