Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Give_Blood_transparent

We’ve had an eventful couple of days. Fluff had fallen asleep with her main light on on Saturday night. Frank and I had gone to bed. She got up to turn the switch off and tripped on her way back to bed, falling face-first into the side rail. This caused an immediate massive nosebleed so she took herself to the bathroom, which is thankfully next to her bedroom, and promptly passed out. When she came to – which may have been as much as 30 minutes later – she called her sister and Chip ran downstairs to get me.

I dashed upstairs into a scene from a horror movie. There was blood everywhere. Fluff had begun to go into shock and was standing in the middle of the bedroom looking dazed and shivering, so I grabbed a blanket and wrapped her up in it, then made her climb into bed with her duvet tucked around her. Seeing a protuberation on the side of her nose I checked to see if it was in fact bone sticking out of her face – it wasn’t (at least, it had not broken the skin), but that and the bloody gash made me concerned. I told Chip to stay with her, warning her to call for me immediately if Fluff changed in any way, and made my way downstairs to the telephone. I dialled 999 and requested an ambulance.

Meanwhile, I used another phone to call my dear sister, the consultant paediatrician. I would advise anyone with children to have a consultant paediatrician for a sister. Very handy. She instructed me to give Fluff a cup of tea with sugar in it, so I sent Chip – suddenly turned remarkably helpful – off to put the kettle on. It’s true – the English response to any emergency is a cup of tea and I can confirm that this is endorsed by the medical community* (or at least, my sister). While we were waiting for Chip to return I prayed with Fluff.

By the time the ambulance arrived, poor Fluff was still shivering and looking dazed. On seeing the trail of blood, and the blood all down her legs, the paramedic – in his dry, Northern manner – commented that it was just in time for Hallowe’en.

Fluff managed to walk to the waiting ambulance and Frank went with her. I drove behind with Prince and Chip. It was a long night. A&E on Saturday night was busier than usual, including several individuals who were rather the worse for wear, but we all sat patiently in the waiting room, as we English do, the rough and the not-so-rough together. The police brought someone in and they too behaved as calmly as if they were just off to walk the dog. Gotta love the police.

Two young women – we’ll call them May and June – around the age of 20 brought their friend in – we’ll call her Sally – who had drunk too much, fallen and hit her face. May called Sally’s parents and calmly explained what had happened while Sally loudly informed the receptionist of her name, date of birth and address, so that everyone in the waiting room overheard. June held Sally’s head and her sick bowl and gave continual reassurance. That right there, I thought, is what it means to be a friend. I whispered this to a wide-eyed Chip, who was watching them with fascination adding, “Note how the other two are completely sober… You can have fun without getting drunk – and it’s safer.”

At just after 4am, as we were leaving the hospital, Sally was still there, and with a sheepish expression explaining herself to her bemused-looking father. She was much more alert. I reckon the only lasting damage was a bruised ego, poor girl. Sally’s situation was, I feel, quite an important thing for an impressionable 13-year-old to witness. Funny how things happen.

Fluff was admitted at 3am and subjected to a series of tests. It’s a forty minute drive to and from the hospital but I was back with her by 11am. She apparently had no memory of the night before, and had woken up in the hospital bed wondering what had happened to her bedroom, though she did remember falling. She kept asking to go home, insisting she was completely fine (she has an extremely stubborn tendency to stoicism). And eventually, after having seen the maxillofacial surgeon and having an ECG, deemed fit to leave, only now she was disappointed because she wouldn’t be getting the meal she had ordered for tea!

Throughout everything that happened, I remained calm. I was, however, concerned that the staff took Fluff’s symptoms seriously. This is the same hospital that missed symptoms of an aneurysm in my very dear friend last year which led to her death hours later, at the age of 38, after they sent her home. That was, as you can imagine, utterly devastating not least because she was such a vibrant person, so I kept reiterating the pertinent points about Fluff and her fall, probably tiresomely, to all the doctors and nurses.

Fluff is fine. She has a black eye and looks like she did a round in a tent with a feral cat but she and her brother are now happily playing with their guinea pigs and eating ice cream. I am cream crackered and resting, but fine. What I want to know is this: how come attending a theatre group prompted the PTSD blitz, yet going to the hospital with my bloodied daughter, in the same place my dear friend’s fatal illness was missed, prompted a self-assured, calm competence? What theĀ flip is wrong with my head? How come the EMDR and BWRT have worked in some areas but not completely?

Meh. It’s all a journey. I’m just glad Fluff is ok.

*Please note that any reference to the consumption of tea as the true English cure-all is not intended to act as a substitute for proper medical advice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Non-scare

“Fluff, what does ‘gullible’ mean?” Chip asks her big sister.

“It’s a swear word!” Fluff sounds shocked. “You mustn’t say it!”

Chip looks at her sister. “It isn’t.”

“It is!” Fluff is insistent, although she is smiling. Chip is unconvinced.

“Muuuum?”

“Hmm?” I look up.

“What does ‘gullible’ mean? Fluff says it’s a swear word.”

“It’s not swearing.” I pause. “There’s no such word, Chip.”

“Really? Fluff said it was a swear word!”

“No, it’s not a swear word.”

********

Two weeks later we are waiting in the hospital for me to see the breast specialist about a lump in my *breast. It is the same hospital in which we visited my dear mother-in-law before she died three weeks prior. Emotions hang raw in the air.

I am sitting with my new crochet project and Chip is quietly reading. She is, like her mother, addicted to stories.Suddenly she jumps up and runs over to me, her index finger against a word on the page.

“See, Mummy!” She cries, “It is a word!”

I look at the page to see what she is pointing at. I smile up at her and all of a sudden she gets it and looks at me with dismay, then disapproval and then amusement. There is a gleam in her eyes that I know means she is thinking of a way to get me back (the girls and I love jokes, but Daddy and Prince not so much, so we don’t play jokes on them). Prince wants to know what was funny and so I explain to him, several times, until he understands and grins. A difficult day becomes a little lighter.

*******

*It was just a large cyst, which was drained with an enormous needle. I am prone to them, apparently.

My word I was grateful that it was only a cyst! Not because we wouldn’t have somehow dealt with/struggled through any eventuality (because who has a choice in these things?), but because the last few months have been really hard. This non-cancer-scare actually felt like a bit of a turning point for me. It’s not just the grief of losing someone you love that can cause distress after the event, but the weeks leading up to death during which a loved one is suffering. I had become consumed by my mother-in-law’s suffering. I couldn’t bear to see her like that. I researched strokes and vascular dementia and end of life care, etc., etc., just to try to find some answers that would limit her intense distress. I came up with very little, to be honest. I just wanted to make her feel better. She was clearly distraught and in pain. I eventually realised that ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away’ and there was not one thing I could do about it either way, except be there for my husband, and pray. I don’t think I did a very good job of either.

Sometimes a non-scare can give you a bit of perspective.