Friday, April 20, 2012

All's well that ends well.

I was sitting under the Live Oak, knitting the third pocket, listening to the boys playing in the dust, enjoying the perfect temperature and the light breeze.

I stood up from the chair and went in to put barley on the stove, to have with the roast that I put in the oven an hour earlier.  I felt chuffed.  Look at me, meal planning, knitting for strangers, children playing outside...

Jean met me in the den, ashen. "I tried to crash the fire ants but Christian put his hand..." Next thing I see is Christian, tears streaming, and the red on his shirt.  I picked him up, rushed to the bathroom, rinsed his hand, and turned it over... I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror; ashen.

I never miss home as much as when there is a crisis like this.  I miss the neighbours, and knowing that when I come back from where I have to go with this child, the others will have been fed, bathed, and in bed.  I miss knowing the road to the ER at Pretoria East Hospital, knowing that it will take me exactly 7 minutes.  If I speed. I miss my grumpy pediatrician who told a nurse after the first one was born "just leave her with the baby, she will do fine, she's a mother."  I even miss the little signs on the wall in the waiting room, warning about the most dangerous traffic intersections, two of them between our house and the hospital.

Mercifully, Jacques was home and I could just wrap gauze around his finger, load him in the car, and head for the urgent care center.  (In the car, the CD player continues where we left off, and we listen to songs of the Westminster Catechism.  I do not pay attention, but after a little while, between his whimpers and tears, Christian asks: God makes people Mamma?  He has meat? I explain as well as I can, he loses interest and starts shivering.)

I went to the same medical center where we did our medical examinations for our Green Cards.  On that day we spent a stressful 6 hours in a small room, filling in forms and receiving vaccinations.  The physician on the day was so amazing that I bought her a gift that I delivered the day I went to pick up our documents - a Debbie Bliss knitting pattern book, I cannot remember which one.  See, she was a knitter. She started talking about socks and I could see her checking herself, and refocusing.   And tonight, when we walked in, she was there, again!

We spent 3 hours, did x-rays (no fractures), tried butterfly strips and glue, and ended up with 5 stitches, on the pad of his right middle finger.

The strangest thing is - he insisted on watching.  He leaned in, made suggestions, warned her about coming too close with the scissors.  Of course he cried when she gave him the shots to numb his finger, but after that he was like a medical student.  At the end of it all, she turned to me and said "Now this was one of the most interesting nights I have spent in a long time.  Not even grown-ups watch with so much interest."  The nurse was amazed, too.  They greeted him "Good night, Dr Loock."

Back home, at 9:30pm, everyone eating ice cream around the kitchen table, he explains to Martinus that he is going to be a Doctor some day.  Martinus exclaims: But you're going to be a man, Christian!  Doctors are "tannies" (ladies)"  Oh boy, do not get me started.

He will be fine, the stitches has to come out in a week, and while I guess tomorrow will still be rough, it could have been so much worse.  I remember my dad often saying "Thank God for small mercies".  I always thought that he said it only half-serious, but he was serious. I was just not old enough to understand.


  1. aw but you should still feel chuffed, you handled everything so well. i can't imagine what it would be like to move to s.a. and feel so unfamiliar, especially in times of crisis. i wish we were neighbors, i could help with you and the children :)
    hope the finger is all better soon. xox lori

  2. Now that would be so nice - then you could also probably have told me that I am not doing that yo, K1, yo, K5, sequence right when I did the picot edging :) He is much better now, thanks.