So today I felt that parental pain like no other – pain worse than my own, the pain of watching your child suffer. It’s pretty depressing when your child ends up being more heroic than you…
There we were, monkeying around at the zoo, having a whale of a time, when Bang! A wobble, a topple and a thud, and our day tumbled upside down. I knew the minute she hit the floor that Poppy was hurt. Badly hurt. The cry was pitched just that octave above normal, her eyes wide with shock rather than that wide-through-the-crying-look while trying to assess if I was watching enough and needed to upscale the wailing. There was no faking this time.
As I ran with her to the First Aid booth, I knew her arm was broken and the first thing I screamed at the nurse (I’ve given up trying to pretend I’m calm in a crisis) was, “Painkillers! Give her some pain killers!” Naturally enough she did no such thing. But all that time… all those ticking moments that she examined, assessed, asked questions, wrote down details, my child screamed. And while I answered and nodded and gave out my telephone number, I screamed too, inside. “Just take the pain away! TAKE IT AWAY!”
But all I could do was hold her, knowing there would be no pain relief while we waited for the ambulance, no pain relief as we rode to the hospital and no pain relief until she had been poked and prodded by a doctor. A whole horrible, hideous half hour of pain. And it made me want to actually vomit, knowing I couldn’t take it away. But worse was still to come. The X-ray showed it wasn’t broken. Instead, her elbow had popped out of its socket. Turn away now if you are squeamish. I had too. Yes, the doctor took my little 2 year old baby’s twisted arm, pulled it out and wrenched it around until he got it back into position. Poppy hit the roof, and I hit the floor. Hubby had to carry both of us out of the hospital.
Poppy and I spent the afternoon under a blanket on the sofa, recovering. She’s finally asleep now, plied with as much medicine as I can legally give her. I’m not sure I’ll sleep though, no amount of medicine can take away the sickness in my stomach. One painful afternoon and I’m drained. So this is a tribute, a hug, a tip of my cap, a salute to the brave, incredible strong parents who have to do this on a daily basis. To parents whose children are ill and have long term pain. I do not know how you do it.