There are few memories from parenting that trump ER visits. We had the pleasure of another one yesterday. I say the pleasure because our “baby” is almost 23 and she is really spectacular when it comes to not complaining about the big things…the little things get to her…but the big ones, she is magic. Long story short, new bike, first time back on the trail after a long winter, freedom, speed, a moment of sheer bliss then…BOOM. Who knows what it was, a crack in the path, a stick, or a rock. What ever it was took her down and took her down hard. Weird thing is I was home working and watching Molly’s Game at the exact moment this happened. Molly was taken down by a frozen pine twig, ruining her skiing career. Weird connection. Anywho, Dad to the rescue retrieving her, getting her to the ER, and then calling me once things were a bit settled.
You know things are not fine when a phone call starts with Hi, it’s me, Olivia is fine.
I have had a lot of those calls. My favorite was from the principal of the elementary school, Hi Mrs Nemec, the kids are fine. Then she starts giggling, a nervous infectious giggling. Like I said, everything is really fine, but we have a little situation with Jacob...laughter in the background…he was on the playground and another child put a…pause to contain herself…another child put a…I am thinking what could another child have put on him? A tattoo? Ok, Jacob has a wiffle ball stuck on his index finger. We can not get it off, we all tried, the nurse had the custodian come up with industrial clippers but that did not work either, it is too thick. He needs to go to the ER. Now you might think a parent receiving this call would be shocked, but not I. Jacob had already been to the ER for (at different times) swallowing a penny, swallowing a magnet, and having emergency surgery to clear his lungs after aspirating chicken (tip, don’t let your child watch America’s Funniest Home Videos while eating chicken fingers). To the ER we went, and after hours waiting a cranky old doctor told us he was going to yank the ball off…then set the finger if he broke it. Jacob looked at me like is the man INSANE and decided to remove it himself, after numbing his finger by putting ice chips in the ball…he powered through it. Needless to say I did not pay that ER bill. Knowing when to retire from a good turn of service is a skill this doctor did not possess.
Olivia ended up in the ER as a baby, two trips to the pediatrician with repeated assurance of her being fine lead to a near disaster. Parents should trust their instincts. Thankfully grandma was watching her on day three of the illness…and doctors are no match for super grandma instincts. The pediatric ER in Greenwich Village was packed. She was so dehydrated, so tiny, they could not find her vein for an IV. They put her in a crib that looked like a cage. My baby in a cage. The nurse jumped to the sky when she came in for vitals and found me in the crib cage with my little peanut. Olivia needed cuddles…and if she had to be in there, I would be in there with her. Being 5 feet has its perks.
Being thrown from a horse, acute appendicitis, drilling into one’s leg on building crew… such such fun. The stories that get told and retold. I have my stories…climbing the tree to my bedroom window and the branch breaking two stories up. Walking around “the point” barefoot and having a huge chunk of glass removed by a woman so nasty she could have been wiffle ball doctor’s sister. Falling off the roof at Fire Island, then my mom doing the same 5 minutes later, a boat ride back to the mainland and a joint ER visit that left the triage crew calling their friends over to hear the story (the ladder leading to the roof was upside down…twice…my poor dad). Memories that get passed on because we were lucky…and the stories ended well.
Sigh. My Olivia is banged up, she will be hurting for days, there will be therapy and it will be tedious, but broken bones heal. The little baby across the hall from us last night has a much tougher battle. He had surgery last week on his feet and was in two hard casts, he was admitted with a high fever. The doctor explained the casts need to come off, there might be an infection in the wound. The mom alone and scared agreed to call the surgeon to get their opinion. The on call service answered and tried to put her off, she was so calm and polite explaining “I understand what time it is, but my baby is in the ER, we need to speak with him right away, my baby is very sick, I need your help. I need you to wake him…now please, he is only a month old, my baby is only a month old.” The surgeon called back and spoke with the doctor, and they were going to move forward…I could hear the mom crying in relief.
When Olivia and I left at 4:30am I looked to put faces to the voices of the mom and baby. Mom was in the bed cuddling him, he would not be alone…and he had the first of his many ER stories under his belt, one month into his beautiful life.