new sisters

new sisters
Penelope holding 10 day old Violet

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Trip To The E.R. = A Lucky Day

24 hours after the stitches. Children heal so fast!

Dancing with Charles.

Grooving to the 80's music.
I was on my way home with my brother Charles to celebrate his birthday when the phone rang. All Steve said was "Pen hurt herself. Come straight home." That horrible feeling you get when someone you love is hurt is somehow magnified in a particularly sickening way when it is your baby that is hurt. And when you are not with her it verges on panic. " If it was an emergency he would have called an ambulance, not me" I kept telling myself as I raced home.

When I got in the house there was quite a lot of blood. Penelope was crying and shaking, whether it was because she was in pain, scared, or cold ( Steve had taken off her princess dress because it was saturated in blood and she was only wearing underwear) I didn't know. I held her and tried to get a good look at her face. She'd fallen on a toy. One of Violet's toys, not even a sharp toy. It had gone nearly through her face, just above her lip. And on the inside of her mouth her tooth had done a nasty job so it was hard to tell with all the blood if the wound went all the way through or not. We decided to go to the hospital. She cried even harder at the thought of no party and the terror of the hospital and the possibility of stitches. We dropped Charles off at his house on our way, he was a good sport about it, and headed to Hasbro.

We were amazed at how quickly they brought us in, even before we were registered she'd been looked at by several people. We were brought into our own room and then the waiting began. We were all so hungry, having not eaten since lunch, and Pen wasn't allowed to eat before she got her stitches so we waited and waited. We'd brought Charlotte's Web, which we are reading, and the staff provided Pen with lots of new crayons and pictures to color, but it was hours and hours of waiting until the Dr. came in. It was noisy in there. There were so many crying babies and children and they cried the whole time. And in the room next to us was a young girl, maybe 14 or 15 years old. She was very distressed. She'd hurt herself somehow, there was a guard at her door and she kept saying nobody loved her, nobody cared about her. It broke my heart. I have no idea where her mother was, or what her story was at all, but it was clear that she needed a mother there, holding her and loving her and telling her it was all going to be fine and she didn't have that and it was heartbreaking to listen to.

When the Dr. finally came in we'd been there for 5 hours. Penelope was wrapped in a sheet, like how one wraps a cat before administering it a pill or clipping it's toe nails. This terrified her, but she was so very brave. I held her down on one side while somebody else held her head and the Dr. stood on her other side and sewed her back together. We were really only there just in case because Penelope held herself very still. She began to cry a little as he stitched her up, but she didn't move. The Dr. told her she wasn't a baby and not to cry and it took all of myself control not to punch him in the face and scream at him "it's four hours past her bedtime, she's been in a lot of pain for a long time now, and your effing sewing up her face right before her very eyes asshole! Why shouldn't she cry!!!" But instead I kept telling Pen what a good job she was doing, how we were almost done and then we'd go get something to eat and go home. To make matters worse, for Pen anyway, is that Hasbro is a teaching hospital and he had 3 students from Brown observing, so each stitch was done slowly so the students could see what he was doing. The good news is that if  I'm ever stuck on an island and someone needs stitches, I now believe I would feel confident doing the procedure if necessary. Not that I ever want to.

So finally, we left the hospital with our newly stitched up little girl. We headed to Whole Foods for something quick to eat as we were all starving, exhausted and emotionally drained. As we passed the floral dept. Penelope found a broken rose on the ground. It was pretty, and smelled divine, but only had 2 inches of stem. "Oh, this must be my lucky day" she said, beaming. Well, beaming with the side of her face that wasn't a puffy, swollen, bloody mess. I laughed, at the time thinking how sweet she was to think that after all of the horribleness it was her lucky day, but upon further consideration I realized she was completely right. Of course it was her lucky day. She could have fallen on something worse than a baby toy. She could have gotten her eye instead of above her lip.She was in the hospital for a while, got sewn back together and went home with her family. She wasn't in there crying nonstop like so many other children were. She wasn't lying in her room alone feeling that nobody loved or cared about her like the teenage girl next to us, I don't think she's thought for a second of her life that she was unloved or unwanted. Yes, she was right. Of course she was, it was her lucky day indeed.

And today Charles came over for his party, and seeing as today is his actual birthday it was better anyway. And I really amazed myself by managing to get every single blood stain out of her princess dress so she could wear it while she danced with her uncle to his "new" vintage 80's records that she and I had picked out for him together.

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautifully written, my darling girl. Although I had heard the story on the phone, it was horrifying all over again - but your ending made me cry tears of love and wonder that both you and Pen could feel that this was a lucky day. I love you all so much - please give that plucky little wild thing big hugs from both Maisie and Gailsie.