Really. I'm just bursting into tears at the drop of a hat but seriously, I'm okay.
It's Jane, my little Janie (9), who appears to have a fractured elbow.
She was rough-housing with her sister and fell off of the couch onto her arm. So, naturally, now the official story will be that her sister broke her arm--and it's not such an undeserved accusation. Ana is two-and-a-half years older and weighs a good 40 pounds more than Jane and she's been warned about getting too physical. Maybe this event will get the message through. If not, I am worried in advance for the day that Jane is NOT so little and decides she has had enough--because Jane is super strong and coordinated and, as we all know, payback is a beast.
(As an aside (I know, I know, but y'all are just going to have to indulge me on this one because I spent 3.5 hours at the emergency room with Jane listening to a little boy scream that he was DYING and by gosh, if I want to digress, I WILL.) I was talking to my friend Tiffany about this and expressing my concern about the physical fighting between my girls. Tiff and I are both separated by a wide age gap from our nearest siblings and so this sort of fighting is foreign to us. But we've both had experiences with the exact same thing--the bullying of a younger sibling by an older one--and we were wondering if it's sort of a normal developmental thing. Don't get me wrong, I am not excusing Ana's roughness with Jane as "normal" (and, obviously, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that Ana is a gentle soul and (mostly) a very good big sister) but we were just kind of wondering if all siblings close in age go through a phase like this. What do y'all think?)
Anyway, as I alluded to earlier, I ended up taking Jane to the Emergency Room because we received some blatantly false information from the radiology office that our pediatrician uses on holidays. Namely, we were told we needed a referral to come in for an x-ray and we assumed that the pediatrician's office was faxing that over. Unfortunately, after several follow-up calls on my part, it turns out that the pediatrician's office had never been required to fax over a referral before and that the woman I talked to initially just kind of made that rule up. By the time I had everyone talking to each other and the whole thing straightened out, there was not enough time to get the x-ray and then get it read by the pediatrician's office before the office closed early for the holiday so they sent us to the ER.
I was so angry that I could seriously feel my pulse IN MY HAIR. It's not that this was such an emergency --it happened on Saturday night and we only decided to go to the doctor when it was still bothering Jane on Monday --but I was just furious at the general incompetence of the radiology staff and the complete freaking attitude delivered by the ...(CENSORED) woman who told me completely false information that she MADE UP JUST TO MESS WITH ME.
So, then we went to the ER and settled in for a looong visit. We were actually treated in the hallway across from a row of those curtained off beds. For the entire three-and-a-half hours that we were there, we listened to a very sick little boy who was just certain he was dying. He did have some sort of really bad stomach complaint--beyond just a virus-- and the doctor's didn't seem to know what was wrong but they kept trying to do various diagnostic tests on him and he kept screaming and screaming and screaming. And vomiting.
His parents were Spanish-speaking only and their fear for their child was almost palpable. The hospital had an interpretor who came down periodically to try to let them know what was going on but as I sat there, my anger at that snippy little b-word who handed out misinformation with such an attitude dissipated and I began to feel a sense of enormous gratitude.
Not just grateful because I got to walk out of there with my baby while those poor parents were still trying to get some kind of diagnosis for their son. But also because, while it was irritating as all get-out trying to straighten out the deal with the doctor and the radiologist's office, the fact is that I COULD. And then when we were dealing with the several sets of x-rays and the ER doctor and then the orthopedic resident (Jane's fracture is on a growth plate that hasn't entirely calcified yet so it didn't show up completely on the x-rays so there was a lot of conversation about the whole thing), I could understand what the doctors were saying and ask questions directly when there was something I didn't understand. I don't know, sometimes I am so privileged in ways I never think about.
I kept thinking about those parents, sitting there listening to their son scream (and scream and scream) and to the bevy of medical personnel making decisions about his treatment -- and not being able to understand a single word. How immeasurably frightening it must have been.
And, since we were sitting there for so long, I started to feel very grateful that at least those parents could come to a place and have their son treated. I keep thinking about those poor Haitian people--who already had so little and now have nothing.
Hug your babies if you've got them. And maybe your doctors, too.