Dealing with a sick child is something every parent has to deal with at some point in time and and we all hate doing it, it’s the worst feeling of uselessness. I don’t know about anyone else but I always wish it was me and that I could take it away. I’m going to talk about the day one of them broke …. again. It should have been a fantastic day, we were going on holiday; a holiday that had been a nightmare to plan and was long awaited. So why was there weird grumpy feeling going on? We received a bonus bit of cash and it was just enough to pay for a week’s holiday. But because of a house move their Dad’s holiday was limited to just a few days, so we had to work it all around a friend’s wedding, as well as packing for a holiday birthday for our youngest. It had been so stressful getting all the finer details sorted that by the time the day to travel arrived, I was feeling pretty flat about it all. This is so not like me as I love to get on a plane; I would be happy to just fly somewhere and straight back; flying is a hobby of mine (or was before I became a cash strapped parent, actually it was a job of mine too, once long ago). I love the sun too; it was going to be a sunny holiday, so why was I not bouncing off the wall with excitement – could it have been the parenting six sense?
I had arranged a catch up with a friend and her two boys for the morning, we weren’t leaving until the evening, so there was plenty of time. I can’t imagine I was much company as I felt quite detached; probably just tired. The children were playing on some wooden play equipment; regular kids stuff, a bit of sibling squabbling, but nothing too major. I barely glanced up from my phone as the bickering was fairly standard. I looked up just in time to see my oldest girl trip over the weird rope and wood thing, it kind of resembled floppy low level parallel bars; to this day, I have no idea what the designer expected kids to do with the thing. I won’t name and shame or show pictures as it really was just an accident. It turns out that as biggest DD jumped over the ropes, the slightly p**d off littlest one pulled the rope tight and tripped her over. It should not have been an issue, but as she fell forwards, she must have landed awkwardly and out came the scream. Now those of you who have been through this, would recognise the sound and remember the feeling of adrenaline kicking in and the rising nausea that follows.
Suddenly, well and truly with it, I jumped up and trying to appear calm walked over and took her arm, slid up the sleeve to see a really dodgy looking elbow joint. My friend was there and 2 very kind onlookers offered us some paracetamol, so it was nice not to be alone. I had this brilliant (not actually that brilliant really) idea to carry my, luckily very skinny, 6-year-old probably about a mile back to the car, rather than try to get an ambulance out to the middle of a country park. That was the longest walk of my life and she felt incredibly heavy by the end of it. She was moaning, I mean actually moaning, not complaining about stuff, I was shaking, the other kids were just confused. My friend led the way to A&E in her car, while I followed, trying desperately to keep her awake as she just kept drifting in an out of consciousness. We managed to find a parking space near to the door; total result. Paid parking – got to love the hospital parking system! Carried my, by this time, limp child through the doors and was told, by the woman behind the desk, to take a number and a seat – was she actually having a laugh? Luckily, I was called back to the desk pretty quickly and was able to explain that though I didn’t think she hit her head, that I could not keep her awake. She nodded and took details, showing little or no emotion and I was told to sit down again. It was only a matter of minutes before I was asked to carry her through some doors into another waiting area, to sit again, but then taken through to the cubicles pretty swiftly. It all seemed very surreal and as I was so high on adrenaline that I don’t remember feeling much until they told me she had broken what I had hoped was a dislocated elbow. She slept through pretty much the whole event, except for one brief moment where she woke up, projectile vomited over the floor and then went off again. I have since been told that this reaction is shock, but it is really scary to see, as it just seems so strange that she does not stay awake during trauma.
The day after – waiting to go home
What followed was a long wait for surgery in a well organised set up. The staff were incredibly friendly and supportive, despite being obviously cash strapped and short staffed. The ward could have done with a refurb, but it had everything we needed. There was this weird drop down wardrobe bed that actually turned out to be pretty comfy. Not that I got much sleep as I waited for her to come back from theatre. Because she was an urgent case they operated on her arm in the middle of the night.
There is this complete feeling of being a useless, spare part; it feels like there is nothing that you can do. I had an overwhelming need to take over and take away the pain, but it’s just a matter of stepping back and letting them do their jobs. I was grateful for a well-known coffee shop in the main reception area that kept me fuelled through the waiting. Of course, I am beyond grateful for the amazing team that supported us during and after it all. In the follow up appointments, every time they looked at an x-ray of the damage, there was much sucking of air through teeth, along with the comment, ‘I’m glad I wasn’t the one that had to operate on that!’
Little sis having slightly more fun at the hospital
Things went well and though it was a slightly longer road to recovery than we would have hoped, she is now back to full fitness with nothing but a memory and a scar to show for it.
Now the bad parenting truth comes out; this was not her first broken incident, or trip to theatre to be fixed! I know many of you will have been there and support me in the fact that children, with their soft bones, can break quite easily, but don’t worry they fix quickly and are really resilient little things.
I had always felt really guilty about the first break, I have since worked out that I was deeply into post-natal depression. I was barely present; I could see the world happening around me but just wasn’t part of it. She was playing with a friend’s son and though they were getting more and more manic, I just sat there and let it all unfold. They were running a circuit around the room, culminating in a leap from the arm of the sofa. Both were 3 years old, so it was always going to end badly, and so it did. I should have stopped her, looked out for her, but I sat there and didn’t move. Until the scream, (maybe that was me that screamed though, as it was my friend who initially jumped to action) then the adrenalin kicked in and I was back in the room. I still don’t feel OK with the fact that I didn’t stop them, but what’s done is done and all that. So, when it happened again with this weird feeling of lethargy all over me prior to the accident, imagine the guilt! I should add that it really was an unavoidable accident and even if I had been a little more present, I would not have foreseen what happened. Didn’t stop me buying her a rabbit out of guilt though; still paying for that 2 years later!
They break, they get sick and then they grow up; apparently it gets no easier when they grow up though. I wouldn’t swap them for the world, stress and all, but I would love a magic wand to invisibly fix them.
“Look, I’m a Tellytubby!”