What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Relaxing Holiday part one

Well, we are back home from our holiday, a long weekend away in the Blue Mountains. And what a weekend away it was….

We’d been to the place before, a wonderful eco-resort in the upper Blue Mountains. There were 16 of us, spread over 5 cabins. For the kids, running between the cabins was the fun bit, endlessly going to “visit” each other. And every evening we all went to the restaurant at the reception building to eat together – walking there and back in the dark with torches, sooo exiting when you’re six years and under. We were all looking forward to a few days of holidaying, especially after my mother left us to go back to Belgium, and we’d worked so hard settling into the new house. On Friday morning, we left at nine in the morning - the kids were just too exited to stay at home any longer. We arrived at three and were settled in no time. Wonderful. Then, around six o’clock, it was time to get ready for dinner. I was on my way to our cabin to collect some torches, Boo Boo on one hip, brushing past the lovely Grass Trees, a Currawong warbling in front of me.

From one of the cabins, I heard someone say “ok, let’s close this door”

Some seconds of silence

And then an almighty scream.

Before my brain had registered it was one of my kids, I was already running. Mister Determined was howling. I had no idea yet what had happened, but I knew it was bad. When I got to him, I hoisted him on my left leg, swapping Boo Boo onto my right. Oma Ine had run off to get some band aids, Aunty Nic to get a towel with ice and some panadol. By the time the screaming had settled down a little bit, it was clear that Mister D. had his left little pinkie caught in the door. I looked at his finger, and new instantly that a band aid would not do the trick. We wrapped his finger in the towel with ice cubes and drove off to the Blue Mountains Hospital. He was shaking in the car, crying and screaming, his teeth clattering in pain – and the drive seemed to take for ever. How often can you say to a screaming 6 year old that it will be all right, and that we’re nearly there.

At the Emergency Department of the hospital we were seen by the triage nurse straight away. She gave him some more pain killers, put a rudimentary bandage over the finger (more so we didn’t have to look at the mangled thing too much) and send us off for an X-ray. Meanwhile, Hubby took Boo Boo back and put her and Possum to bed.

That’s where the waiting started. There was only one man in front of us, but it took a while until we were on. And then we had to wait to see if the pictures were ok. Thankfully, Ian the radiology guy had done a smashing job, and all pictures were ok. So off we went, back to Emergency. Where we sat and waited. And waited.

There was plenty of entertainment. There was a woman with a vomiting baby, who looked as if she’d been there for some hours already. A cheerful young girl, equally resigned to being there for many more hours. A man with a swollen ankle and his wife, who had installed themselves on the one and only sofa, he with his foot up, she with her book. Later in the night, two blokes came rushing in, one with a face full of blood. His half-drunk mate told the whole room that “some geezer smashed a beer bottle into his face, ha ha”. And a sad looking couple – mum carrying a young boy in his pyjamas and dad rolling a suitcase with him, giving me the feeling they had that case ready packed, and this was not a first.

Partially due to the drunken guy with his cut face, who got to go first, we sat in the Emergency room for over three hours. Mister Determined was not allowed to eat anything (although I gave him a chocolate bar and some water when no one was watching, he hadn’t eaten since lunch, and then only a little bit). He perked up when Opa Keith came and joined us in our wait on the uncomfortable plastic chairs. I eyed the sofa, keen to have my boy lying down to recover from the shock, but the old couple were studiously ignoring my glances. There were all these people with young kids half asleep – why could they not lie on the sofa? Sometimes old people can be incredibly selfish, as if old age in itself entitles them to what they want. I had no energy to take them on directly, so we stuck it out in the chairs.

Eventually, we were seen by Doctor Jeff, an older man with a hoarse voice and a gentle manner with kids. He looked at the X-ray, washed the finger, and then looked at us with some pity in his face. Mister Determined had broken the top off his finger bone, and cut through the finger nail, damaging the nail bed. He was going to need plastic surgery to fix this up properly – and straight away, before it started healing all crooked.

- Plastic surgery!? You mean…?

- Yes, ‘fraid so. You will need to go to tomorrow morning for surgery under a general anaesthetic.

I knew then that the holiday was pretty much over

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