It used to be my mantra: at least I’m not waiting in the Emergency Department… of course that’s how I spent last night. This time with Lucas, my eldest, after he did a spectacular trip while running across our local oval.
It was one of those horrible parenting moments (and there have been many) when he appeared to somersault in the air before landing heavily on his shoulder.
Then came the tears, the cries and the “if onlys,” followed hastily by that sinking moment when you realise a trip to hospital to “check it out” will have to be made.
And last night was no different, after the obligatory ice followed by my botch job of a bandage and sling, I put him in the car, despatched Dad to look after the other two and headed to Casualty.
Unfortunately so did almost every other parent on the Northern Beaches… luckily (or unluckily for Lucas), I’d brought a dictionary of mathematical terms, so our waiting turned into a rather painful home school session.
To help fill in the boredom, I chatted and eavesdropped on the other patients… there was a toddler with a cut to his forehead, a woman who’d had her hand lacerated (desperate to know how), and a teenager who had developed the shakes… fascinating stuff.
To be honest, I always find Emergency Departments an interesting window on the world – all kinds of people walk, limp or run in with all manner of injuries and illnesses.
After one toddler vomited several times beside us, I not-so-subtley moved us both to a couple of seats in the corridor. And even managed to use the hand sanitiser a few times to help avoid my other fear in hospitals – of catching something far worse than your original condition.
Of course this fear was exacerbated after I chatted with one man in the x-ray department who said he his phone wasn’t charged and he hadn’t been able to contact his son. I offered my phone and after our chat I asked him why he was there.
‘I coughed up some really odd looking phlegm, that worried me,’ he said.
‘Oh,’ I said, trying to sidle away.
Eventually we left after three hours, two x-rays and a fascinating insight into the workings of the hospital and with the knowledge that Lucas had a bruised and inflamed shoulder, but no fracture.
So all’s well that ends well and funnily enough I actually quite enjoyed my night – now what a reflection that is on parenting – a night in casualty is more fun that a night trying to wrestle three children to bed….
I’ll just have to come up with another mantra now, any ideas?!